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Topic
The Constitution: Supremacy


Quotes

“All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.” (Marbury vs.Madison, 1803.)


“Every law consistent with the Constitution will have been made in pursuance of the powers granted by it. Every usurpation or law repugnant to it cannot have been made in pursuance of its powers. The latter will be nugatory and void.” (Thomas Jefferson, Elliot, p. 4:187-88.)


“…the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding. In the same manner the states have certain independent power, in which their laws are supreme.” (Alexander Hamilton, Elliot, 2:362.)


“This Constitution, as to the powers therein granted, is constantly to be the supreme law of the land.… It is not the supreme law in the exercise of a power not granted.” (William Davie, Pennsylvania, p. 277.)


“It will not, I presume, have escaped observation that it expressly confines the supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution” (Alexander Hamilton, concerning the supremacy clause The Federalist Papers, #33.)


“There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.” (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, #78.)


“Clearly, a federal law which is contrary to the Constitution is no law at all; it is null, void, invalid. And a Supreme Court decision, which is not a ‘law,’ has no ‘supremacy’—even if it is faithfully interpreting the Constitution. So it is the height of absurdity to claim that a Supreme Court decision that manifestly violates the Constitution is the ‘supreme law of the land.’” (William Jasper)


“Shall we be such fools as to be governed by its laws, which are unconstitutional? No!…The Constitution acknowledges that the people have all power not reserved to itself. I am a lawyer; I am a big lawyer and comprehend heaven, earth and hell, to bring forth knowledge that shall cover up all lawyers, doctors and other big bodies.” (Joseph Smith, Latter-day Prophets and the United States Constitution)


“Then do you profess to ignore the laws of the land? No; not unless they are unconstitutional, then I would do it all the time. Whenever the Congress of the United States, for instance, pass a law interfering with my religion, or with my religious rights, I will read a small portion of that instrument called the Constitution of the United States, now almost obsolete, which says — ‘Congress shall pass no law interfering with religion or the free exercise thereof;’ and I would say, gentlemen, you may go to Gibraltar with your law, and I will live my religion. When you become violators of the Constitution you have sworn before high heaven to uphold, and perjure yourselves before God, then I will maintain the right, and leave you to take the wrong just as you please.” (John Taylor, The Complete Difference Between the Saints and the World, Journal of Discourses, 11: 344 - 345. March 31, 1867.)


“The Lord Almighty requires this people to observe the laws of the land, to be subject to ‘the powers that be,’ so far as they abide by the fundamental principles of good government, but he will hold them responsible if they will pass unconstitutional measures and frame unjust and proscriptive laws, as did Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, in relation to the three Hebrew children and Daniel. If lawmakers have a mind to violate their oath, break their covenants and their faith with the people, and depart from the provisions of the constitution, where is the law, human or divine, which binds me, as an individual, to outwardly and openly proclaim my acceptance of their acts?(Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1939.)


“All laws that are proper and correct, and all obligations entered into which are not violative of the constitution should be kept inviolate. But if they are violative of the constitution, then the compact between the rulers and the ruled is broken and the obligation ceases to be binding.” (John Taylor, explaining our obligation to law while presiding over the Church at a turbulent time when relations with the federal government were particularly rocky. Journal of Discourses, 26: 350-351. February 20, 1884.)




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