Jefferson wrote, January 19, 1821:
"I am sensible of the inroads daily making by the Federal into the jurisdiction of its co-ordinate associates, the State governments. Its legislative and executive branches may sometimes err, but elections and dependence will bring them to rights. The judiciary branch is the instrument which, working like gravity, without intermission, is to press us at last into one consolidated mass."
On September 2, 1821, he wrote:
"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions, is very dangerous doctrine indeed and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.
Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is 'boni judices est amplificare jurisdictionem,' and their power the more dangerous, as they are in office for life and not responsible as the other functionaries are to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots."
And again, on March 4, 1823, he wrote:
"There is no danger I apprehend so much as the consolidation of our government, by the noiseless and therefore unalarming instrumentality of the Supreme Court."
Already in 1807-1808, soon after the Burr trial, attempts had been made in each branch of Congress to amend the Constitution so that all judges should hold office for a term of years and be removable by the President on address by two-thirds of both Houses. This proposition was supported by resolves of the Legislatures of Pennsylvania C
(1) On December 25, 1820, Jefferson had written to Thomas Ritchie: "The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working underground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric.
They are construing our Constitution from a coordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone .... Having found from experience that impeachment is an impracticable thing, a mere scare-crow, they consider themselves secure for life; they skulk from responsibility to public opinion, the only remaining hold on them, under a practice first introduced into England by Lord Mansfield. An opinion is huddled up in conclave, perhaps by a majority of one, delivered as if unanimous,
and with the silent acquiescence of lazy or timid associates, by a crafty chief judge who sophisticates the law to his mind by the turn of his own reasoning.