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.
Massachusetts Parole Board updates regulations posted on Feb 27
In 2016 the Massachusetts Parole Board proposed several revisions to their regulations. (120 Code of Mass. Regulations 100-900) The public was invited to submit written comments and/or attend a hearing on August 18, 2016. The final version of the regulations were published in Massachusetts Register #1330 dated January 13, …Continue Reading Massachusetts Parole Board updates regulations
Finding Presidential Executive Orders posted on Feb 21
“Executive orders are official documents, numbered consecutively, through which the President of the United States manages the operations of the Federal Government.” The President signs an Executive order, and it is published in the Federal Register, published daily under the auspices of the Office of …Continue Reading Finding Presidential Executive Orders
Word(s) of the Month – Common Law posted on Feb 15
Words of Law is a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates, highlighting a particular word or phrase and its meaning in law. Today’s phrase is common law. common law, n. [fr. Law French commen ley “common law”] (14c) 1.The body of law derived from judicial …Continue Reading Word(s) of the Month – Common Law