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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

3.22                                POLITICAL SCIENCE.
frpnv/experience. There is no absolute separation of func-
tions. 7 Laws are so important in their bearings on the inter-
ests of a country, so apt to be drawn up hastily or in the
spirit of party, or to contravene the provisions of the consti-
tution, that there is need of some person outside of the legis-
lative circle, to examine them and in an extreme case to
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prevent their..passage. Take the instance of a law which
opposes, the true meaning of the constitution. The chief
magistrate is advised by his legal counsellors that this is un-
constitutional', and obstructs its passage. How much incon-
venience and possibly oppression of the individual, how much
expense in arguing the constitutional question is prevented
by a declaration of. the chief magistrate that he cannot con-
sent to the law. It would be unbecoming and might lead to
bargaining between the departments if he expressed his opin
ion beforehand or during a debate ; he has no right to a fully
formed opinion until all the light thrown on the proposition
by the two houses is within, his reach. But as he is bound to
administer the laws under the constitution, he must form for
himself, with the proper assistance, an interpretation of the
constitution by which he mugfcabide. This seems to require
him to interpose his veto in all; cases where he has a serious
doubt, and to do this beforehand is better than to accept a
law and have its constitutionality tried afterwards. Is then
a chief magistrate armed with this power one of the sources
of legislation on a par with legislative chambers ? Certainly
not to the full extent of such a power, otherwise he should
have the right of proposing laws or measures through his cabi-
net or personally, instead merely of giving advice to the legis-
lature on public affairs. He is rather a check on legislation,
where the opinion in that department does not approach to
unanimity. Thus the veto of our president is a part of that
system of checks of which there are so many in the Anglican
political system—a system which reminds one of an old .house
with buttresses here and extensions there, that has served the
.inhabitants well for centuries, but which needs repairs
time to time in order to last through coming centuries,.