Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Philadelphia Legal Scene
The American legal profession grew up in this town, creating institutions and traditions that set the style for everyone else. Boston, New York and Washington have lots of influential lawyers, but Philadelphia shapes the legal profession.

The Judiciary and Politics by the End of the Civil War

Sydney George Fisher

"An opinion has been given in the Dist. Court for the city on the question of the constitutionality of the legal tender notes. Hare & Stroud, Union men, in favor of it, and Sharswood, Democrat, against it. Hare's opinion was published in the North American yesterday and today; Sharswood's in The Age, a Democratic paper, this morning. It seems now established in practice that the judges construe the Constitution according to their political feelings, that the Constitution, therefore, varies with the political majorities on the bench, and that consequently, such supreme law wants the essential attribute of stability."

-Sydney George Fisher, Diary, February 23, 1864

Originally published: Tuesday, June 20, 2006; most-recently modified: Friday, May 31, 2019