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CONSTITUTION
[ Also see Law ]

The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. . . . They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone--the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.
      - Louis D. Brandeis,
        part of his dissent in the case of Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478 (1928)

Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws, not of men.
      - Gerald Rudolph Ford

The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.
      - Edward Gibbon

Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.
      - Alexander Hamilton

A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal but a real existence, and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of a people constituting a government. It is the body of elements to which you refer, and quote article by article, and contains the principles on which the government shall be established--the form in which it shall be organized--the powers it shall have--the mode of elections--the duration of Congress--and, in fine, everything that relates to the complete organization of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution is to a government, therefore, what the laws made by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make laws, neither can it alter them; it only acts in conformity to the laws made; and the government is in like manner governed by the constitution.
      - Thomas Paine

But the Constitution of the United States is not a mere lawyers' document: it is a vehicle of life, and its spirit is always the spirit of the age.
      - Thomas Woodrow Wilson,
        Constitutional Government in the United States
         (p. 69)


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