Constitutions are checks upon the hasty action of the majority. They are the self-imposed restraints of a whole people upon a majority of them to secure sober action and a respect for the rights of the minority.
The media’s daily outbursts about the danger to democracy posed by the current administration, while highly amusing, omit a key piece of information. The United States is not a democracy; the United States is a republic.
Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch.
No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words ‘no’ and ‘not’ employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.
The merit of our Constitution was, not that it promotes democracy, but checks it.
The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.
[W]hen Congress has passed a statute and a President has signed it, it poses grave challenges to the separation of powers for the Executive at a particular moment to be able to nullify Congress’ enactment solely on its own initiative and without any determination from the Court.
A constitution defines and limits the powers of the government it creates. It therefore follows, as a natural and also a logical result, that the governmental exercise of any power not authorized by the constitution is an assumed power, and therefore illegal.
A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.
Outside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects.