In that case we see the playing out of the longstanding tension between the Whigs and the Tories, then represented by Republicans and Federalists. The case had originally been brought by Republicans, partisans of Jefferson, making Tory arguments against those who had been taking Tory positions, and ultimately decided by a Jefferson appointee, supporting the Whig position. This tension continues to play out into our own time.
The point here is that there is missing authority in the Constitution to hold officials accountable. My proposed amendments address this by:
1. Making crimes of violations of the Constitution by officials.
2. Removing obstacles to criminal prosecution by private parties.
3. Authorizing grand juries to remove official immunity from officials, and to decide which court, state or federal, has jurisdiction (thus largely eliminating removal jurisdiction by federal courts of state criminal cases).
Taken together, my amendments carefully re-weave the web of government activities to make it much more difficult to commit the abuses we now suffer. But you have to analyze them carefully to see how the pieces work in combination.
- Excerpt from The Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of ..., Bruce Ackerman
- Thomas Jefferson v. The Courant
- Common Law Crimes Are Unconstitutional as Ex Post Facto Laws, Anthony Fejfar, 2009.