"Publius" (Alexander Hamilton)

The Federalist No. 78, pp. 290-291

New York: Printed and sold by J. and A. M'Lean, 1788
New-York Historical Society Library

This essay was written by Alexander Hamilton, as were all of the last eight essays. The Federalist No. 78 is the first of several essays devoted to defending and explaining the federal judiciary created by the Constitution. This essay is one of the greatest commentaries on the role of the courts in the federal system, and it explains why it was important for the federal judiciary to be truly independent, with life terms and salaries that could not be lowered. Hamilton writes that the federal courts have "neither force nor will, but only judgment." Part of their responsibility is to strike down laws passed by Congress and signed by the president if they violate the Constitution. To do this, the judges must be independent from the pressure of the other branches of government and from the people.