Portraits in Massachusetts Law is intended to be a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates. These pages will provide links to biographical information about people who have been particularly important in legal history in Massachusetts, as our government took shape in the cauldron of the American Revolution and grew and changed throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
John Adams drafted the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1780. It is the oldest written constitution serving as the foundation of a functioning government. The Massachusetts Constitution supplied a template for the U.S. Constitution drafted seven years later.
“You and I, my dear Friend, have been sent into life at a time when the greatest lawgivers of antiquity would have wished to live. How few of the human race have ever enjoyed an opportunity of making an election of government, more than of air, soil, or climate, for themselves or their children. When! Before the present epocha, had three millions of people full power and a fair opportunity to form and establish the wisest and happiest government that human wisdom can contrive?”
– John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
“Adams believed that a stable and democratic government required the consent of the governed and the separation of powers among the executive, legislature, and judiciary, and a bicameral (two-body) legislature.” His role in seizing the “opportunity of making an election of government” for himself and his children is outlined in the Massachusetts Court System’s “John Adams & the Massachusetts Constitution.”
An exhibit, John Adams: Architect of American Government, on view online and at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, rounds out the picture of this steadfast, dedicated citizen destined to have a pivotal role in the creation of our government.
Hate Crime Law in Massachusetts posted on Apr 20
“Hate crimes” and “hate speech” are hot topics in the realms of education, the courts, the media, and in our daily lives. These are two separate but related issues. “Hate speech” will be a subsequent post. According to Black’s Law Dictionary (10th edition), a “hate …Continue Reading Hate Crime Law in Massachusetts
Remembering Charles Kindregan posted on Apr 19
We are all familiar with his name, but few of us know some of the quirky, amusing details of his personality. Elissa Ely and the Remembrance Project on WBUR.org has a wonderful tribute to a man that was so influential for fifty years. Listen to the …Continue Reading Remembering Charles Kindregan
Executive Order 13769: Issuing, Modifying and Revoking posted on Mar 15
On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13769, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” . It provides an example of an order that was issued, modified and revoked. On February 3, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Ninth …Continue Reading Executive Order 13769: Issuing, Modifying and Revoking