Count Palatinate as Judge Over the Kings.
Decree of the Nuremberg Diet, November 19, 1274.
[Altmann u. Bernheim, p. 23.]

In public consistory, at the time of the solemn and royal court held at Nuremberg, the princes and a brilliant assembly of counts and barons being in session, and a very great multitude of nobles and commoners standing before the most serene lord Rudolph king of the Romans for the purpose of exhibiting the fulness of justice to each person, the king first asked that it be defined by a decree who ought to be judge if the king of the Romans should have to bring any charge against any prince of the empire in the matter of imperial possessions and those belonging to the fist, and concerning other injuries inflicted on the realm or on the king. And it was defined by all the princes and barons who were present, that the count Palatine of the Rhine has held of old, and does hold, the right of judging in processes which the emperor or king wishes to bring against a prince of the empire.

The said count Palatine, therefore, presiding over the tribunal, the king asked that it be first established by a decree what he, the king, might and should, according to law, do with the possessions which the former emperor Frederick had and held, peacefully and quietly, before the sentence of deposition was passed upon him by the princes; and also concerning possessions otherwise falling to the empire, which possessions others hold, occupying them through violence. And it was decreed that the king him self, in the matter of all such possessions, ought to assert his own claim, and bring back those same possessions into his power; and if any one should presume to oppose himself to the king in the recovering of such possessions, the king should repel with the royal power such hurtful violence, and to preserve the rights of the empire.....

Henderson's Note

An interesting decision of a Nuremburg diet rendered in the year 1274. The election of Rudolf of Hapsburg after the long interregnum signified a renewal of the empire even though Rudolf never bore any title but king of the Romans. But how curtailed were his prerogatives compared to those of his predecessors! Future candidates were to be bound more and more by engagements and promises, to submit more and more to the arrogant assumptions of the electoral college. And in certain questions the Count Palatine of the Rhine, and not the King of the Romans was to speak the decisive word.

Henderson, Ernest F.
Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages
London : George Bell and Sons, 1896.

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