judiciary to declare void legislation repugnant to the supreme law
But despite the difficulties that confessedly attend the proper solution of such questions, the court cannot shrink from the duty to determine whether it be true, as alleged, that the Nebraska statute invades or destroys rights secured by the supreme law of the land. No one, we take it, will contend that a state enactment is in harmony with that law simply because the legislature of the State has declared such to be the case; for that would make the state legislature the final judge of the validity of its enactment, although the Constitution of the United States and the laws made in pursuance thereof are the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. Art. VI. The idea that any legislature, state or Federal, can conclusively determine for the people and for the courts that what it enacts in the form of law, or what it authorizes its agents to do, is consistent with the fundamental law, is in opposition to the theory of our institutions. The duty rests upon all courts, Federal and state, when their 528*528 jurisdiction is properly invoked, to see to it that no right secured by the supreme law of the land is impaired or destroyed by legislation. This function and duty of the judiciary distinguishes the American system from all other systems of government. The perpetuity of our institutions and the liberty which is enjoyed under them depend, in no small degree, upon the power given the judiciary to declare null and void all legislation that is clearly repugnant to the supreme law of the land. Smyth v. Ames, 169 US 466, 527-528 (1898).
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