73 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1959-1960)
Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law; Wechsler, Herbert

handle is hein.journals/hlr73 and id is 31 raw text is: NOVEMBER 1959

HARVARD LAW REVIEW
TOWARD NEUTRAL PRINCIPLES OF
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW t
Herbert Wechsler *
Professor Wechsler, disagreeing with Judge Learned Hand as to the
justification for judicial review of legislative action, argues that
courts have the power, and duty, to decide all constitutional cases in
which the jurisdictional and procedural requirements are met. The
author concludes that in these cases decisions must rest on reason-
ing and analysis which transcend the immediate result, and discusses
instances in which he believes the Supreme Court has not been faith-
ful to this principle.
0 N three occasions in the last few years Harvard has been
hospitable to the discussion of that most abiding problem of
our public law: the role of courts in general and the Supreme
Court in particular in our constitutional tradition; their special
function in the maintenance, interpretation and development of
the organic charter that provides the framework of our govern-
ment, the charter that declares itself the supreme law.
I have in mind, of course, Mr. Justice Jackson's undelivered
Godkin lectures,' the papers and comments at the Marshall con-
ference,2 and Judge Learned Hand's addresses from           this very
rostrum but a year ago.3 It does not depreciate these major con-
tributions if I add that they comprise only a fragment of the
t This paper was delivered on April 7, 1959, as the Oliver Wendell Holmes Lec-
ture at the Harvard Law School. It is reproduced without substantial change, ex-
cept for the addition of the footnotes. The reader is asked to bear in mind that it
was written for the ear and not the eye.
* Harlan Fiske Stone Professor of Constitutional Law, Columbia University
School of Law. A.B., College of the City of New York, 1928; LL.B., Columbia,
1931.
' JACKSON, THE SUPREmE COURT IN THE AmERICAx SYSTEM OF GoVENmIrENT
(1955).
SGowERNMT UNDER LAw (Sutherland ed. 1956).
IHAND, TE BILL or RIGHTS (1958).

VOLUME 73

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