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11/23/83 STATE NEW HAMPSHIRE v. ARNOLD LAFRANCE

November 23, 1983

THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
v.
ARNOLD LAFRANCE



Batchelder, J., did not sit; Flynn, J., sat by special assignment pursuant to Rsa 490:3.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Constitutional Law--Legislative Power

American history and the logic of American constitutional federalism have made certain that the rule of law does not mean the supremacy of the laws enacted by the legislature, but the supremacy of the Federal and State Constitutions.

2. Constitutional Law--New Hampshire Constitution--Generally

The New Hampshire Constitution was created by the people, who are sovereign, and it, being an expression of their will, is the fundamental and supreme law of the State.

3. Constitutional Law--New Hampshire Constitution--Generally

No branch of State government can lawfully perform any act which violates the State Constitution.

4. Constitutional Law--New Hampshire Constitution--Separation of Powers

The separation of powers article of the New Hampshire Constitution was adopted to protect the executive and judicial branches of the State government from legislative encroachment. N.H. CONST. pt. 1 , art. 37.

5. Constitutional Law--New Hampshire Constitution--Separation of Powers

Separation of powers prevents usurpation of controlling authority by one branch of government, since each branch acts as a check on the other, protecting the sovereignty and freedom of those governed by preventing the tyranny of any one branch of the government being supreme. N.H. CONST. pt. 1 , art. 37.

6. Constitutional Law--New Hampshire Constitution--Separation of Powers

If the people are to remain free and retain their sovereignty, then government must be limited; the separation of powers is essential to this end. N.H. CONST. pt. 1 , art. 37.

7. Constitutional Law--New Hampshire Constitution--Separation of Powers

The separation of powers requirement of the constitution is violated by an improper imposition upon one branch of constitutional duties belonging to another or an encroachment by one branch upon a constitutional function of another. N.H. CONST. pt. 1 , art. 37. -(A310)

8. Constitutional Law--Judicial Power and Duties--Generally

A function of the judicial branch is to adjudicate the rights of citizens who may assert that a legislative action is constitutionally void either on its face or as applied to a particular set of facts.

9. Constitutional Law--Legislative Power--Limitations

Any legislative act violating the constitution or infringing on its provisions must be void because the legislature, when it steps beyond its bounds, acts without authority.

10. Constitutional Law--Judicial Power and Duties--Interpretation of Constitution

The courts have the duty to interpret constitutional provisions, and this duty may result in decisions that run counter to the present desires of the voters their elected representatives, since the constitutions of the States and the nation are intended to be restraining documents so that exercise of power by the majority does not go unchecked.

11. Constitutional Law--New Hampshire Constitution--Separation of Powers

The Bill of Rights of the New Hampshire Constitution specifically recognizes the need for an independent judiciary. N.H. CONST. pt.1, art. 35.

12. Constitutional Law-- Judicial Power and Duties--Generally

Judicial review is the exercise by courts of their responsibility to determine whether acts of the other two branches of government are illegal and void because those acts violate the constitution.

13. Constitutional Law--Judicial Power and Duties--Generally

The doctrine of judicial review authorizes courts to determine whether a law is constitutional, not ...


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