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Series

Columbia Law School

Columbia Law Review

1994

Legal History

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Revolution And Judicial Review: Chief Justice Holt's Opinion In City Of London V. Wood, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 1994

Revolution And Judicial Review: Chief Justice Holt's Opinion In City Of London V. Wood, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

In 1702, in an opinion touching upon parliamentary power, Chief Justice Sir John Holt discussed limitations on government in language that has long seemed more intriguing than clear. Undoubtedly, the Chief Justice was suggesting limitations on government – limitations that subsequently have become quite prominent, particularly in America. Yet even the best report of his opinion concerning these constraints has left historians in some doubt as to just what he was saying and why it was significant.

The case in which Chief Justice Holt was so obscure about matters of such importance, City of London v. Wood, revived the old maxim ...