On this day of constitutional pomp and dubious circumstance, it is worth remembering that the benighted document the Republicans in the House of Representatives took the time to read Thursday was neither the beginning nor the end of the discussion in the 1780s (let alone today) about the separation of powers or the role of government in American life.
In a perfect world, following the recitation of the Constitution, House Republicans would have taken another hour or so to read, for example, The Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton's trenchant 1788 exposition about the role of the judiciary in its interactions with the other branches. Written after the drafting of the Constitution n 1787, and before the introduction of the Bill of Rights in 1789, it seems eerily relevant today.
Hamilton, his day's most vocal tribune of federal power, made the case for judicial independence and for limitations on the power of the legislature and the executive. Of the judiciary we recognize today, he wrote: "In a monarchy it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a republic it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body. And it is the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws." (Emphasis added.