Within two centuries after its adoption MAGNA CARTA was reconfirmed forty-four times. The reconfirmation of 1297 is significant because it was the first made after representatives of the commons were admitted to Parliament; because it embodied the inchoate principle that TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION is unlawful; and because it regarded Magna Carta as FUNDAMENTAL LAW. By one section the king agreed to exact certain taxes only "by the common assent of the realm.?" Another section declared that any act by the king's judges or ministers contrary to the great charter "shall be undone, and holden for nought." WILLIAM PENN ordered the charter and its reconfirmation of 1297 reprinted in the colonies for the first time in 1687. JOHN ADAMS, THOMAS JEFFERSON, and other lawyers of the era of the American Revolution were familiar with the principles of the statute of 1297, and in MARBURY V. MADISON (1803) the Supreme Court declared that any act contrary to the fundamental law of the written constitution is void.
LEONARD W. LEVY
PERRY, RICHARD L., ed....