February 6, 2017

In Support of our Judiciary




February 6, 2017


Dear CBA Members,

In times such as these, when various branches of our government seem at odds with one another, and in some cases work to polarize and potentially delegitimize one another, it is all the more important that we, as lawyers, whether we like a particular decision or not, uphold the role of the judiciary in accordance with our nation's Constitution.

The judiciary's role has served us well for over 200 years and continues to do so today. Therefore, I implore you to support and speak out in defense of the critical role of the judicial branch of our government, as its members interpret the law.

Alexander Hamilton eloquently stated in Federalist No. 78 that "[T]he courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges as, a fundamental law. It, therefore, belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents."

This poignant and accurate nod to the importance of the Constitution, led directly to the U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 2 as well as the Judiciary Act of 1789. From these laws, we have the famous and succinct statement by Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison: "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is."

As a representative Bar Association, and especially as lawyers, it is our responsibility to uphold and accurately educate upon the role of the judiciary in accordance with our nation's Constitution.


Doug Dennis

President, Cincinnati Bar Association

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