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It willnotbeconvenient byseverestudy,orattheexpenseofthebestofyourtime,topryintonicepointsoflaw;suchmattersmaybelefttoyour judgesandcounsel...;furthermore,youwillbetterpronouncejudgmentsinthecourtsbyothers thaninperson,itbeing not customaryfor KingsofEnglandto sit incourt or pro-nouncejudgmentthemselves.Iknowverywellthequicknessofyourapprehensionandtheforewardnessofyourfacts;butfortheexpertnessinthelawsthewhichisrequisiteforjudgesthestudiesoftwentyyearsbarelysuffice"2Here SirJohnplacestheKinginthelistoflaymenandexcludeshimfromthejudicialfunction.Inotherwords,the interpretationof thelawistheexclusivefunctionof the judges.They,therefore,candetermine thescopeofthe au-thorityofthe King underlaw.(3)SirEdwardCoke (1552-1634),agreatEnglishWhigjurist,onehundredandthirtyyearslateronSundaymorningNovember10,1608asChiefjusticeoftheKing'sBenchengagedinaterrific battlewiththeKingoverthissameissue.He,allthejudgesofEngland, andtheBaronsoftheExchequer,metJamesIatHamptonCourtandrefutedtheideathatArchbishopBancrofthadinstilled.inhimthatinasmuchasthejudgeswereonlyhisdelegateshecoulddecidecasesinperson."Thejudges,"saysCoke,"informedtheKingthatnoKingaftertheconquestassumedtohimselftogiveanyjudgmentinanycausewhatsoever,which concernedtheadministrationofjusticewithinthisrealm,buttheseweresolelydeterminedinthecourts ofjustice...."The Kingrepliedthat"hethought thelawwas foundedonreason andthatheandothershadreasonaswellasthejudges."Cokepractically repeatedwhatFortescuehadsaidthat"HisMajestywasnotlearnedinthelawsofhisrealmofEngland,...andthatitrequireslongstudyandexperiencebeforethatamancanattaintothecognizanceofit."The Kingwas offendedandsaid"thenheshouldbeunderthelaw,whichwas treasontoaffirm."Cokereplied,in Bracton'swords,"QuodRexnondebetessesubhomine,sedsub Deoetlege."23InsubstanceCoke's contention22.Ibid.,c.8.23.ProhibitionsdelRoy,7Co.63-65 (1609)."ThattheKingoughtnottobemadeunderman,butunderGodandthe Law."[Vol.32:427
EVOLUTIONOFCONSTITUTIONALISMwas"thatthe Kinghathno prerogative,butthatwhichthelawofthelandallows,"2'andthatthejudgesweretheinterpretersofthis.IntheDr.Bonham'scase,decidedintheCommonPleasin1610,Cokesaid:"Anditappearsinourbooks,thatinmanycases,thecommonlawwillcontrol actsofParliament,andsometimesadjudgethemtobeutterlyvoid;forwhenanact ofParliamentisagainstcommonrightandreason,orrepugnant,orimpossibletobeperformed,thecommon law willcontrolitandadjudgesuchanacttobevoid." "Commonrightandreason"issomethingper-manent andfundamental,and,therefore,higherlaw.

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Term
Fall
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
Law, Common Law, Minnesota Law Review

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