A Commentary on Essay XI by Brutus: The Constitution Reader Challenge

In his Essay XI, Brutus wished to focus on the part of the Judiciary within the proposed Constitution.

the scales of justice

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Of the three branches of government, the one that had received the least of attention was the Judiciary arm. There was plenty to say about the executive branch, and the legislative branch, but the judiciary was hardly touched. That being, Brutus of the Anti-Federalist party wished to address in his Essay XI.

The same sentiments can be proclaimed today as they were at the time of this essay. The power that was to be granted by the proposed Constitution to the Judiciary branch was feared by many. Echoed today, it is easy to see why concern was raised as to the lengths of their power.

One concern was that there was none above them. These are appointed positions by the president, but answered really to no one. There was nobody to put them in check. There was none that would be their balance. At least that was the concern, and rightly so. These men, and women of today, really have free reign. The only check and balance to their nature, is in the election of the president.

Another plight was that eventually politics would get in the way and they would be able to legislate from the bench. Today, that issue is always of great debate.

Thirdly, Brutus wanted their powers to be strictly laid before them. It was in his argument that they were to clearly focus on the interpretation of the Constitution, and that it would favor neither party or the government over the people. It was in his opinion that they would lean in favor of the government, and that they would be able to mold the shape of government for years to come.

These same concerns are as relevant today as they were when he wrote this essay. With certainty, the judiciary branch has no real oversight. Who is to question the ruling of the Supreme Court? That was the fear then, and is certainly an issue today.


With special thanks to Constituting America and Heritage College, we will be taking part in their project: The U.S. Constitution: A Reader. It is a 90 day challenge to learn and dive deeper into understanding the Constitution.

In case you missed it, catch up with previous commentaries HERE. We hope you are enjoying this journey to dig deeper into what inspired those who wrote the Constitution. If you are, TWEET IT!

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