The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 1 by Abraham Lincoln
Extract From a Protest in the Illinois Legislature Against the Reorganization of the Judiciary.
Committee on behalf of the Whig members of the Legislature.
February 26, 1841
For the reasons thus presented, and for others no less apparent, the undersigned cannot assent to the passage of the bill, or permit it to become a law, without this evidence of their disapprobation; and they now protest against the reorganization of the judiciary, because--(1) It violates the great principles of free government by subjecting the judiciary to the Legislature. (2) It is a fatal blow at the independence of the judges and the constitutional term of their office. (3) It is a measure not asked for, or wished for, by the people. (4) It will greatly increase the expense of our courts, or else greatly diminish their utility. (5) It will give our courts a political and partisan character, thereby impairing public confidence in their decisions. (6) It will impair our standing with other States and the world. (7)It is a party measure for party purposes, from which no practical good to the people can possibly arise, but which may be the source of immeasurable evils.
The undersigned are well aware that this protest will be altogether unavailing with the majority of this body. The blow has already fallen, and we are compelled to stand by, the mournful spectators of the ruin it will cause.
[Signed by 35 members, among whom was Abraham Lincoln.]