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   Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations.  1989.
 
 
NUMBER:940
AUTHOR:Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
QUOTATION:At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account.
ATTRIBUTION:THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to Monsieur A. Coray, October 31, 1823.—The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Andrew A. Lipscomb, vol. 15, pp. 486–87 (1904).
SUBJECTS:Judiciary
 
 
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