Federalist No. 80

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Alexander Hamilton, author of Federalist No. 80

Federalist No. 80 (Federalist Number 80) is an essay by Alexander Hamilton and the eightieth of the Federalist Papers.[1] It was published on June 21, 1788 under the pseudonym Publius, the name under which all the Federalist Papers were published.[2] It is titled "The Powers of the Judiciary," and it is the third in a series of six essays discussing the powers and limitations of the judicial branch.[2]

Summary[edit]

Publius begins this essay by describing five areas that the federal Judiciary ought to have jurisdiction over: First, cases which arise out of the laws of the United States; Second, cases which arise out of provisions of the proposed United States Constitution; Third, cases in which the United States is a party; Fourth, all cases that involve "the peace of the confederacy;" and Fifth, all cases that originate on the high seas.[3] He then addresses each of these points in turn.[4]

As to the first set of cases, Publius explains that in a Union, there will necessarily be certain things that the States are prohibited from doing, such as the prohibition on coining money.[3] Given this, he states that there must be some way for the federal government to enforce these prohibitions, and so it must be the authority of federal courts to overrule improper action by the States.[5]

As to the second set of cases, Publius posits that there can be no argument against this power of the federal judiciary.[6] The necessity of uniform laws, and the status of the judiciary as equal to the Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch, requires that the judiciary hear cases involving the text of the Constitution.[6]

Publius says very little about the third set of cases.[6] He mentions only that a national forum is the only one proper to hear cases between a citizen and the United States.[6]

As to the fourth set of cases, Publius explains that this relies on the proposition that "the peace of the whole ought not to be left at the disposal of the part."[6] He further explains that undoubtedly there will be cases involving citizens of foreign countries, and only the federal judiciary can adjudicate those cases to reflect the national perspective, unlike the States that would decide such cases in their own best interest rather than that of the Union.[6] Within this same jurisdictional power is that to hear cases involving citizens of different states, as well as territorial disputes.[7] Along the same reasoning, the federal judiciary is the only forum that can be expected to decide such cases with neutrality and uniformity, since the State courts would likely decide in favor of their own citizens and their own interests.[8]

As to the fifth set of cases, Publius explains that maritime disputes are also relevant to the "public peace" and must be decided by the federal judiciary.[9]

Having concluded this summary, Publius begins explaining the neutrality and impartiality that will be afforded by a federal judiciary.[9] He explains that the States cannot be expected to be unbiased, but that the proposed Constitution must take this into account to ensure fairness and equality among the States.[9]

Publius then moves to explain the differences between "Law" and "Equity," and how those concepts have been reflected in the language of the proposed Constitution with the word "cases" to mean arising from law and the word "controversies" to mean arising from equity.[10] He then quotes the proposed Constitution to explain which areas are to be cases and which are to be controversies, such as cases involving treaties and maritime disputes, but controversies involving disputes between two States.[11]

Publius concludes the essay with the affirmation that the drafters of the proposed United States Constitution have attempted to safeguard against all "mischiefs," but if those do arise in the Judicial Branch, there are checks in place to maintain order and to insure against impropriety.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hamilton, Alexander. "Federalist No. 80". The Avalon Project. Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale University. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Hamilton, Alexander. "Federalist No. 80". The Federalist Papers. Library of Congress. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. p. 474. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  4. ^ The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. pp. 474–477. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  5. ^ The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. pp. 474–475. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. p. 475. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  7. ^ The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. pp. 475–476. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  8. ^ The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. pp. 476–477. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  9. ^ a b c The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. p. 477. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  10. ^ The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. pp. 478–479. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  11. ^ The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. pp. 479–480. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 
  12. ^ The Federalist Papers. New York: New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. 1999. p. 480. ISBN 0-451-52881-6. 

External links[edit]