Justice John MarshallJustice John Marshall, (1755-1835) US Supreme Court Chief Justice

Justice John Marshall Quote

“A legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law.”

Justice John MarshallJustice John Marshall
~ Justice John Marshall

Ratings and Comments

Joel, Rochester, MI

Yet our legislators continue to enact "not law".

S. Engel, Fredericksburg

These criminal legislative acts contrary to the Constitution are not objected to by the people. The acts were enacted by persons elected by the people. The people get the government they deserve.

Mike, Mount Holly, NC

This negates about 90% of the laws we have on the books and pretty much all of the gun control laws.

hittingrabbit, Myrtle beach

When appointed judges analyze the constitution, they can manipulate it to be interpreted as they will, and its true meaning, those protections, will be lost in time.

Crystal, Millersport,Oh

I think you should add his quote that staes "[The Constitution] is intended to endure for ages to come and consequently, to be adapted to the various crisis of human affairs" But I agree with this quote.

Warren Giese, Olathe

This concept is still valid to most Americans but we have lost that philosophy in our courts. Justices like Ginsburg and Breyer have stated that the constitution is inadequate and irrelevant when it comes to determining the constitutionality of some cases. In other words Ginsburg thinks she is the constitution.

Dave Wilber, St. Louis

To keep us believing that we still have a constitution, they keep mouthing the nonsense about the separation of church and state though the state would collapse without hoards of prechers mouthing "render unto Caesar", words that Jesus never said to us. Also we hear "priveledge against self incrimination" which is not in the Constitution. The most vital section, Art.1, Section 10 is totally ignored and this section determines who is master and who is servant.

Mike, Norwalk

Dave, in the bible I read, Jesus says render unto Caesar. Are you misinterpreting who Caesar is? Caesar is the political sovereign. In the de jure US, the individual is Caesar to each and every, any and all of government. Read the verse before, Caesar is not a reference to government in general, no matter what any preacher says. Do you as an individual and independent Caesar have a right to the fruits of my labors, I also being an equal status Caesar? Do the fruits of my labors belong to you? NO! Then I can not render to you that which is not yours. As to self incrimination, I think you're playing with word salad, natural law would have it that I need not incriminate myself.

Robert, Sarasato

Everything is manipulated nothing is sacred, so don't beat a dea horse. Have a great weekend, Robert

E Archer, NYC

It means what it says. The problem is that once a legislative act has become law even though it is contrary to the Constitution, the only way to challenge it is to break the law and defend oneself all the way to the Supreme Court -- a very long and expensive process -- that's why we have so many bad laws we cannot get rid of. I believe there ought to be a process after Congress signs a law to have it reviewed for constitutionality immediately (right now the President is supposed to do that -- good luck!). In the meantime, it is up to the jury to proclaim innocent those that break unconstitutional laws.

Warren, Olathe

Well said about Caesar Mike.

Ken, Allyn, WA

This is a thought I read some time ago. Consider, you work for a day and receive a coin in payment that has Caesar's image stamped on it. Who's coin is it? It is your's, of course, because you earned it. If someone paints their name on your car, is it not still your car, vandalized though it may be? The pharisees were trying to trick Jesus into saying that people should break the law and not pay taxes to Caesar, but he gave an answer that seemed not to advocate breaking the law, and thus kept himself and his disciples out of prison.

Bob, Cave City

Jesus was dealing with a "catch" question. So He refused to answer the question, instead responding with a poser for them. Jesus did not in this passage teach us to render anything to "Caesar" (civil government). He posed the LAWYERS a choice: Render to Caesar, or render to God. Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's, and UNTO GOD that which is His. The earth is the LORD's (the Eternal's) and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. That is, EVERYTHING belongs to its Creator! "Caesar" belongs to God! Everything "Caesar" has is God's. Jesus knew what was in their wicked hearts: "We have no king but Caesar!" they shouted to Pilate, chief revenue officer of Rome for Judea. So, if Caesar is your king, render to him what is his (in your view). And, if GOD is your King, render to Him what is His! Apostle Paul taught that for expediency's sake Christians should pay tribute that is levied upon them. After all, the civil authorities do punish the doers of evil and praise the doers of righteousness...a lot of the time. They protect society in general from utter lawlessness and disorder. They even occasionally give a little praise to the righteous. Yet by rights Christians, the people of the LORD, owe "Caesar" NOTHING...but the respect due all men as fellows created in the image of the living God. Jesus taught that the "children of the king" do not pay tribute. Only "foreigners" are put to the yoke and compelled to pay tribute to their master. When Jesus and His company were entering Capernaum, Peter, as usual, was out in front. The revenue assessors asked him, "Does your Master pay the tribute?" Peter, as usual, spoke before thinking, and "self-assessed" both himself and his Master, Jesus, for the tax. When they entered the house [where Jesus was staying] Jesus took him aside and asked him, "From whom do the kings of the earth exact tribute? From their own sons, or from strangers?" Peter answered, "From strangers." Jesus replied, "Then are the children FREE. Nevertheless [Peter had already VOLUNTEERED himself and Jesus to pay the tax], that we not offend them, go to the sea and catch a fish. In its belly you will find a coin sufficient to pay the tax for Me and thee." Notice that Jesus did not pay any tribute for the rest of His company, but only for Himself and loudmouth Peter. The other 11 (or perhaps more, as Jesus commonly had a considerable retinue of floowers, both men and women) paid no tax. Christians today pay taxes out of expediency. As ALL we "own" is supposed to be (dedicated to) Jesus, it is Jesus' money the revenuers confiscate. If they rob us, they rob our Master. Let them answer to Him. We have more important things to be about than wrangling with the civil rulers and their gunmen over petty lucre. If we can AVOID (not EVADE) a tax peaceably, do so, as that is that much less for wicked men to do evil with. But we are not responsible to fight with robbers over money. They rob God, after all, just as they rob Him of their due service to Him. That the robber uses the money he steals to buy dope, pay prostitutes, buy lottery tickets, etc., is not our responsibility as we do not volunteer the loot to him. He takes it by threat of violence, duress and coercion. Next time, avoid that alley!

Bob, Cave City

It is the job of the supreme court to adjudicate the case before them. The supreme court is not supreme over the government or the constitution. It is supreme, within its constitutional limitations, over the lower courts established by congress, the states or their assemblies. Marshall usurped power not granted when he promulgated the doctrine that if the supreme court found a law unconstitutional it erased that law from the book. In constitutional reality it erases the law as pertains to the case immediately before them. This false doctrine has caused much harm. It has elevated the supreme court from the least of the 3 branches of the federal government to the superior. Ruling a law unconstitutional as pertains to a particular case MAY send a message to congress that if any more cases come under the same law and similar facts before the court the court will rule likewise. But maybe not. The naturally superior branch of the federal government is the president (executive). It is he who commands the guys with the guns, chains and prisons. That is why each officer who exercises enFORCEment power is required to be SWORN (or affirmed) to support the consitution. Each one is personally responsible for abiding by the constitution from which they obtain all legitimate power. The constitution, not the supreme court, is the king of America.

J Carlton, Calgary

recognition of this very simple fact is why the Sovereign States need to Nullify everyting coming from DC that does not adhere to the strictest form of our sacred Constitution. And such nullification should be enforced by State Militia's as well as local Police Departments. NO infringements on the right to keep and bear arms. No registration of firearms and let us all recognize the dire need to Restore the Republic.

J. Allen, Arlington, Va

We need to fight for our liberty, to regain this very basic principle that our government is bound by the restraints of the constitiution.

Tom, St. Augusitne FL

It's a shame they still think they can do anything they want


Amen to that, if we can't do whatever they want, they can't either.

Mike, Norwalk

Bob, Cave City, said well. Much more could be said (for a very small example: exchanging labor for an equal, more easily used specie of monetary exchange). I would vary only slightly some of your interpretation or conclusions. Your back ground gives a more complete understanding to my comments. Though the scenario differed of who the Caesar was/is between Rome and the representative republic (that was the U.S.) the falsehood that another man can, in fact, own another man or his labors is shown to be contrary to law and justice. Slavery is a most heinous usurpation and crime against the laws of nature of of nature's God, justice and the inalienable rights of the heirs / creation of the Divine King.


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