The constitution is either a superior paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it. It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. This is the very essence of judicial duty.
During intervals of humanity, some disposition has been manifested to permit the return of those who have never offended, who have been banished by a terror which the government itself has reprobated, & to permit in case of arrestation, an investigation of the fact of emigration as well as of the identity of the person accus'd.
I was born on the 24th of September 1755 in the county of Fauquier, at that time one of the frontier counties of Virginia. My father possessed scarcely any fortune and had received a very limited education - but was a man to whom nature had been bountiful, and who had assiduously improved her gifts.