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title:“Jasper Yeates Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention”
date written:1787-12-7

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:00 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 11, 2023, 10:06 a.m. UTC

"Jasper Yeates Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 2. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1976. 512-514, 521-523. Print.

Jasper Yeates Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention (December 7, 1787)

Whitehill: Vice President will be a dangerous officer. He has the casting vote in the Senate. It blends the legislative and executive departments.
JOHN SMILIE: It was said by Mr. Wilson that this government could not be executed.
Findley: President in appointing officers will generally nominate such persons as will be agreeable to the Senate. The legislative and executive departments are mixed in this Constitution
Whitehill: The judicial powers will swallow up all the state courts' jurisdictions. The people will be dragged a great distance to attend the inferior federal courts. There must be a federal court in every county which, with the expense of officers attending it, will be a great burthen. The appeals will be very dangerous to the people. The wealthy must also succeed. Bonds will be sued for. Titles to lands will be tried in the federal courts. The direction of trials of crimes by a jury excludes trials in civil cases by a jury. The enumeration of the former excludes the latter.
The liberties of the people may be absorbed by a treaty.
Smilie: In the case of the sloop Active, the law passed in Pennsylvania was founded on the immediate recommendation of Congress, to try prize cases by jury. Jury trials may be superseded in civil cases. Appellate jurisdiction is a civil law term. There can be no appeal after jury trials. I fear there is an intention to substitute the civil law in the room of the common law. Think of the expense of the different courts and of the federal system at large.
Wilson: Care has been taken to prevent the government from doing acts of oppression in government matters. Trials by jury are secured in criminal cases. It is not to be supposed that individuals or a government will do oppressive things, unless from principles of interest, ambition, or emolument. There have been more violations of the rights of trial by jury in Pennsylvania since the Revolution than in England in the course of a century, notwithstanding boasted bill of rights.
There are no instances of exclusive jurisdiction in the federal courts. There are but few cases of their having original jurisdiction.
Findley: The powers vested by the new Constitution are not accurately and precisely defined. The liberties of the people are always safest where juries (who never go wrong by system) are called in and control the conduct of the judges.
Tho the individual states are restricted from making ex post facto laws, yet the general legislative authority is not prevented by the Constitution from making such laws.

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