By NAN Contributor
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Sept. 5, 2018: Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, appeared on Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the first day of his confirmation hearings, quoting a Caribbean son in his remarks.
Kavanaugh, 53, who is expected to begin taking questions today from senators on both sides, included a quote from America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Statesman and US Founding Father, Nevis-born, Alexander Hamilton, in his remarks.
“In deciding cases, a judge must always keep in mind what Alexander Hamilton said in Federalist 83: ‘the rules of legal interpretation are rules of common sense,’” said Kavanaugh, who was hammered by Democratic senators in their opening remarks to release all of the documents from his three-year tenure as staff secretary for former President George W. Bush.
The full quote from Hamilton in the Federalist Papers – #83 ‘To the People of the State of New York’ was actually: “The rules of legal interpretation are rules of COMMONSENSE, adopted by the courts in the construction of the laws. The true test, therefore, of a just application of them is its conformity to the source from which they are derived.
“This being the case, let me ask if it is consistent with common-sense to suppose that a provision obliging the legislative power to commit the trial of criminal causes to juries, is a privation of its right to authorize or permit that mode of trial in other cases?
“Is it natural to suppose, that a command to do one thing is a prohibition to the doing of another, which there was a previous power to do, and which is not incompatible with the thing commanded to be done? If such a supposition would be unnatural and unreasonable, it cannot be rational to maintain that an injunction of the trial by jury in certain cases is an interdiction of it in others.”
Hamilton, an interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, went on to note that: “A power to constitute courts is a power to prescribe the mode of trial; and consequently, if nothing was said in the Constitution on the subject of juries, the legislature would be at liberty either to adopt that institution or to let it alone.
“This discretion, in regard to criminal causes, is abridged by the express injunction of trial by jury in all such cases; but it is, of course, left at large in relation to civil causes, there being a total silence on this head. The specification of an obligation to try all criminal causes in a particular mode, excludes indeed the obligation or necessity of employing the same mode in civil causes, but does not abridge THE POWER of the legislature to exercise that mode if it should be thought proper.
“The pretense, therefore, that the national legislature would not be at full liberty to submit all the civil causes of federal cognizance to the determination of juries, is a pretense destitute of all just foundation.”
Read more from Hamilton here.