The High Court of Parliament and Its Supremacy: An Historical Essay on the Boundaries between Legislation and Adjudication in England

By Charles Howard McLlwain | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
Introduction

O NE of the most remarkable generalizations in Professor Dicey brilliant book, The Law of the Constitution, is the statement that "federalism substitutes litigation for legislation."1 This statement has a peculiar importance in countries -- of which there are so many on the continent of Europe -- whose central institutions have in large part been consciously modelled in recent times upon those of England. Its importance is greater still in a country like our own, where not only central but local institutions as well stand to the English Constitution in the infinitely closer and more intimate relationship of parent and child.

That there is an extraordinary amount of litigation here -- that we are a "litigious people" -- may be admitted at once. It is true that constitutional matters of the highest concern to the people are commonly settled in the United States by private actions between individuals, -matters often that would never in the ordinary course come before an English court of law.

This is so well understood that illustration is unnecessary, and so noticeable a part of our system that it has probably attracted more attention among foreign observers than any other of our institutions. De Tocqueville was struck with awe at the power of a

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1
Page 175 ( 7th ed.).

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The High Court of Parliament and Its Supremacy: An Historical Essay on the Boundaries between Legislation and Adjudication in England
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Table of Contents xxi
  • Chapter I - Introduction 3
  • Chapter II - The Fundamental Law 42
  • Chapter III - Parliament as a Court 109
  • Chapter IV - The Relations Of "Judiciary" and "Legislature" 257
  • Chapter V - The Political History Of Parliamentary Supremacy 336
  • Index 395
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