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332                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
to pass, is given in many or most constitutional governments
to the chief executive. But he with his constitutional advis-
ers may be under the same misimpressions which governed
the legislature, and there is moreover a presumption, when a
law made by a legislature is brought before the chief magis-
trate that it is in accordance with the constitution, This, then,
is not enough, not to speak of the evils which might arise
from frequent vetoes, that is from frequent conflicts of inde-
pendent functions of the government. There is need that
some other power, not strictly political, removed from the
struggles of the present, having no ends of its own to answer
in the future, scarcely capable of being jealous of other au-
thorities, should have the function of deciding what is the
meaning and application of laws, and whether there is any
positive conflict between a new ,one and a received one, or
between a new one and a constitution. Thus, suppose a law
passed which virtually sets aside the habeas corpus act in
certain particular cases. The law may well be dictated by
temporary political feelings. Shall the act be understood to
be modified, or even suspended, though no mention has been
made of such suspension, and no intention to do this is ap-
parent? This, in the United States, might conflict with the
constitution which includes this act; in England, where there
is no formal constitution, and where a parliament could over-
throw the act, as it could abrogate any other law, the ques-
tion would arise whether the parliament intended that the
new or the old law was to be binding. In either country no
body of men is fitted to decide such questions except the
judges. A private person is obnoxious to the new law, and
pleads the old one in his defense. If the old one was of
prime authority, a bulwark of individual protection against
an executive and subservient courts, and was not formally
suspended or abrogated, the presumption is that the new law,
less general and applicable to particular cases, was not in-
tended to be an exception, but was ignorantl)*- and carelessly
passed. Hence the decision of the court against the
law, while it would not imply that sovereign, lords and