The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The Judiciary

August 27, 1787 (Click to read Madison’s notes)


The delegates voted to make the president commander chief of the militia when called to defend the nation. The delegates fine-tuned the judiciary today.

Influences on the Delegates

Britain again was the model for the question of removing judges for an offense.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought it a contradiction in terms, to say, that the Judges should hold their offices during good behaviour, and yet be removeable without a trial. Besides, it was fundamentally wrong to subject judges to so arbitrary an authority.
Mr. SHERMAN saw no contradiction or impropriety, if this were made a part of the constitutional regulation of the Judiciary establishment. He observed, that a like provision was contained in the British statutes.
Mr. RUTLEDGE. If the Supreme Court is to judge between the United States and particular States, this alone is an insuperable objection to the motion.
Mr. WILSON considered such a provision in the British Government as less dangerous than here; the House of Lords and House of Commons being less likely to concur on the same occasions. Chief Justice Holt, he remarked, had successively offended, by his independent conduct, both Houses of Parliament. Had this happened at the same time, he would have been ousted. The Judges would be in a bad situation, if made to depend on any gust of faction which might prevail in the two branches of our Government.


1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
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