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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Secularist reasoning and Judge William Blackstone

This blog, along with its author, take the typical secularist view of James Wilson and the Founding Fathers with respect to Judge William Blackstone. Rowe writes:

However, Blackstone was an Tory who argued for the doctrine of absolute supremacy of the law of England. Of Parliament's power, he famously noted:
It can, in short, do every thing that is not naturally impossible; and therefore some have not scrupled to call it's power, by a figure rather too bold, the omnipotence of parliament. True it is, that what they do, no authority upon earth can undo.
However, James Wilson never believed what Rowe and Van Dyke--later down the thread--claim about Blackstone. The quote Rowe uses is Blackstone's summation of its practical application, and perhaps only in the context of their nation, "But if the parliament will positively enact a thing to be done, which is unreasonable; I know of no power that can control it" not what Blackstone believed was superior--parliament or Scripture. In fact, there are many earthly authorities that can undo what parliament has ordained. Wilson understood that Blackstone believed Scripture was theoretically supreme to parliament--which was subservient to Divine Law:
Accordingly, Sir William Blackstone, on the principles of his system, expresses himself in the following manner, remarkably guarded and circumspect, as to the extent of the parliamentary power. "If there arise out of acts of parliament, collaterally, any absurd consequences, manifestly contradictory to common reason; they are, with regard to those collateral consequences, void. I lay down the rule with these restrictions; though I know it is generally laid down more largely ― that acts of parliament contrary to reason are void. But if the parliament will positively enact a thing to be done, which is unreasonable; I know of no power that can control it: and the examples usually alleged in support of this sense of the rule do none of them prove, that, where the main object of a statute is unreasonable, the judges are at liberty to reject it: for that were to set the judicial power above that of the legislature, which would be subversive of all government." "No court has power to defeat the intent of the legislature, when couched in such evident and express words, as to leave no doubt concerning its intention."
--Wilson, Works.

1 comment:

Our Founding Truth said...

Wilson says the judiciary doesn't have the POWER to overrule the legislative and his understanding of Blackstone is correct