ments co-ordinate and coequal and yet reciprocally subordinate to each other? That cannot be. The several departments, though far from sovereign are free and independent in the exercise of the limited powers granted to them respectively by the Constitution. Our Government indeed as a whole is not vested with the sovereignty and does not possess all the powers of the nation. It has no powers but such as are granted by the Constitution; and many powers are expressly withheld. The nation certainly is coequal with all other nations and has equal powers but it has not chosen to delgate all its powers to this Government in any or all of its departments.
The Government as a whole is limited, and limited in all its departments. It is the especial function of the judiciary to hear and determine cases, not to "establish principles" nor 'settle questions," so as to conclude any person but the parties and privies to the cases adjudged. Its powers are specially granted and defined by the Constitution, article 3, section 2:
The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States and treaties made and which shall be made under their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other ministers and consuls; to all caes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more States; between States and citizens of other States; between citizens of different States; between citizens of the same State claiming lands under grants of different States and between a State or the citizens thereof and foreign States, citizens or subjects.
And that is the sum of its powers, ample and efficient for all the purposes of distributive justive among individual parties but powerless to impose rules of action and of judgment upon the other departments. Indeed it is not itself bound by its own decisions for it can and often does overrule and disregard them, as in common honesty is over it finds by its after and better lights that its former judgments were wrong.
Of all the departments of the Government the President is the most active and the most constant in action. He is called "the Executive," and so in fact he is, and much more also for the Constitution has imposed upon him many important duties and granted to him great powers which are in their nature not executive - such as the veto power; the power to send and receive ambassadors; the pwoer to make treaties and the power to appoint officers. This last is not more an executive power when used by the President than it is when exercised by either House of Congress, by the courts of justive or by the people at large.
The President is a department of the Government; and although the only department which consists of a single man he is charged with a greater range and variety of powers and duties than any other department. He is a civil magistrate, not a military chief; and in this regard we see a striking proof of the generality of the sentiment prevailing in this country at the time of the formation of our Government to the effect that the military ought to be held in strict subordination to the civil power. For the Constitution while it grants of congress the unrestricted power to declare war, to raise and support armies and to provide and maintain a navy at the same time guards carefully against the abuse of that power by withholding from Congress and from the Army itself the authority to appoint the chief commander of a force so potent for good or for evil to the State. The Constitution provides that "the President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and of the militia of the several States