8. Thomas Jefferson 1st Inaugural Address 1801
“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”
Jefferson, during his first presidency, understood that the purpose of law was to protect the individual, as it was the smallest of minorities. While admitting that majority rule may take place, he also knew any new legislation must be reasonable; otherwise law would simply become oppression.
During the 2016 election cycle, we have seen instances where both presidential candidates have offered legislative suggestions which would may not be deemed as reasonable, and could even be view as unconstitutionally oppressive. For instance, Trump has come out in favor of a national “Stop and Frisk” policy. This policy on its face appears to violate the 4th amendment of the Constitution nearly verbatim. It could also be argued that both Trump and Clinton’s support for a federal minimum wage would meet the same standard of oppression, as it would adversely affect the fringe workers, those on the low end of education or pay rates, while only benefiting those towards the middle of the employment “food chain.”