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Thomas McIntyre Cooley

Cooley, Thomas McIntyre, 1824–98, American jurist, b. near Attica, N.Y. He was a judge (1864–85) of the supreme court of Michigan and was the first chairman (1887–91) of the Interstate Commerce Commission. His best-known work is A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations Which Rest upon the Legislative Power of the States (1868, 8th ed. 1927). Cooley argued that the U.S. Constitution contained not only direct limitations on the power of the states (e.g., the prohibition in Article I, Section 10, against a state's impairing the obligations of contract) but also implied limitations that could be deduced from the political theory underlying the Constitution. For example, from the division of American governments into executive, legislative, and judicial branches he inferred the freedom of the judiciary from legislative interference. Cooley's study was highly influential in the early interpretation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. He also wrote extensively on the law of torts and taxation.

See C. E. Jacobs, Law Writers and the Courts (1954, repr. 1973); A. R. Jones, The Constitutional Conservatism of Thomas McIntyre Cooley (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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