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LAW, RETROSPECTIVE. A retrospective law is one that is to take effect, in point of time, before it was passed.
     2. Whenever a law of this kind impairs the obligation of contracts, it is void. 3 Dall. 391. But laws which only vary the remedies, divest no right, but merely cure a defect in proceedings otherwise fair, are valid. 10 Serg. & Rawle, 102, 3; 15 Serg. & Rawle, 72. See Ex post facto.

RETROSPECTIVE. Looking backwards.
     2. This word is usually applied to those acts of the legislature, which are made to operate upon some subject, contract or crime which existed before the passage of the acts, and they are therefore called retrospective laws. These laws are generally unjust and are, to a certain extent, forbidden by that article in the constitution of the United States, which prohibits the passage of ex post facto laws or laws impairing contracts.
     3. The right to pass retrospective laws, with the exceptions above mentioned, exists in the several states, according to their own constitutions, and become obligatory if not prohibited by the latter. 4 S. & R. 364; 3 Dall. R. 396; 1 Bay, R. 179; 7 John. R. 477; vide 4 S. & R. 403; 1 Binn. R. 601; 3 S. & R. 169; 2 Cranch. R. 272 2 Pet. 414; 8 Pet. 110; 11 Pet. 420; 1 Bald. R. 74; 5 Penn. St. R. 149.
     4. An instance may be found in the laws of Connecticut. In 1795, the legislature passed a resolve, setting aside a decree of a court of probate disapproving of a will and granted a new hearing; it was held that the resolve not being against any constitutional principle in that state, was valid. 3 Dall. 386. And in Pennsylvania a judgment was opened by the act of April 1, 1837, which was holden by the supreme court to be constitutional. 2 Watts & Serg. 271.
     5. Laws should never be considered as applying to cases which arose previously to their passage, unless the legislature have clearly declared such to be their intention. 12 L. R. 352 Vide Barringt. on the Stat. 466, n. 7 John. R. 477; 1 Kent, Com. 455; Tayl. Civil Law, 168; Code, 1, 14, 7; Bracton, lib. 4, fo. 228; Story, Cons. Sec. 1393; 1 McLean, Rep. 40; 1 Meigs, Rep. 437; 3 Dall. 391; 1 Blackf.R.193; 2 Gallis. R. 139; 1 Yerg. R. 360; 5 Yerg. R. 320; 12 S. & R. 330; and see Ex post facto.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, Hopps is at work on his first exhibition in his new post, a James Rosenquist retrospective scheduled to open in the fall of 2002 and to travel to the Menil as well as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
This month, Weinstein discusses the Alice Neel retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
More precisely, they are rooted in the fact that I honestly just don't like the hundreds of "recent" (post-MOMA retrospective) Quattrocentesque fresco-looking wall "drawings." I find them silly and pretentious.
TIFF Cinematheque, a program run by organisers of the Toronto International Film Festival, kicked off a major retrospective of Ray's films, running from July 3 to August 17, a decade since the last one.
Satisfying because this retrospective confirms that, whatever else may be said of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, its words are still taken seriously by serious people.
Tseng Kwong Chi, born in Hong Kong as Joseph Tseng, succumbed to complications from AIDS in 1990 at age 39, but the first career-spanning exhibit of his work, "Tseng Kwong Chi: A Retrospective," opened in Philadelphia on March 19, the third annual exhibition in PrideFest America's "Artistic Alternatives" series.
On 16 February, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York opened their retrospective exhibition, entitled Alvar Aalto: Between Humanism and Materialism.
New York's influential Signature Theatre Company, which every year devotes its entire season to a single playwright, has chosen to greet Y2K with a Fornes retrospective.
Together these three retrospectives remind us of the vigor with which young artists in the '60s empowered themselves as filmmakers.
But Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has planned the most sweeping Bernstein retrospective of all, the Leonard Bernstein Celebration (part of the Lincoln Center Festival), with events scheduled between July 7 and 26.
With a stunning mid-career retrospective, artist Lari Pittman brings a bold gay sensibility into the picture