My apologies for OT post, but I really couldn't resist this one. Here is a link to and actual bill proposed in the House of Rep.
And here is a link with the sponsors including the party they belong to:
For anyone who doesn't want to take the time to follow the links. The bill would give congress the ability to overturn Supreme Court decisions with a
2/3 majority vote. In other words, congress would have the full capability to write and sustain unconstitutional laws, like...for example, disbanding the supreme court...or perhaps eliminating elections or the presidency.
Sounds nice eh? Well...I seriously doubt this could ever become law....kinda just want to see what everyone thinks about this brilliant idea.
That has been circulating for a couple of years and just shows how little respect those right wing Republicans whose fathers put up all those "Help empeach Earl Warren" signs back in the '60s have for the constitution.
It would lead to an intresting situation though. Congerss passes the law. The Supreme court declares it unconstitutional. Congress overrides the court which declares THAT unconstitutional. etc. etc.
The same stuff as the President, who wants to be able to appoint a new house if anyone should manage to kill off enough of them simultaneously. The risks should be obvious, in both cases. Time to throw the bums out.
From Article III, Section 2 (of the Constitution):
"In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make."
The first sentence seems pretty clear. The second sentence doesn't seem quite so clear to me, but it sounds like Congress already holds quite a bit of power over SCOTUS.
How, specifically, would HR 3920 expand that power?
Those aren't the important points in Article III, Section 2, Tom. It's in the following paragraph, IIRC. Interpreted the way that Congress wants to interpret it, and without consideration of Madison v. Marberry, Congress supposedly retains power to tell the S.C. what it's jurisdiction is, and what it's not.
...But certainly this article of the constitution does not give congress the power to usurp decisions made by any part of the judicial system, including the SCOTUS. Congress does seem to get the power here to determine which part of the judicial system has jurisdiction in all cases, but I don't think this implies that congress ever has jurisdiction itself.
HR 3920 would actually give judicial power to congress. This seems like it would have disasterous consequences.
I agree - the bill doesn't like a very good idea to me, either.
I was hoping to get someone else (Ed, Jim's wife, ???) to do the hard part of thinking about the specific implications of the bill.
It appears to me that Congress already has the power to restrict SCOTUS' jurisdiction in many areas, but this bill would allow them to act on a case by case basis (in many, but not all, areas). I think SCOTUS could strike it down, but I'm not sure about that.
I spent about 30 minutes searching the web, but found very little hard information about this bill (lots of blog hits, though). I found a few quotes from a Prof. Chemerinsky, a couple of references to Bork's proposed Constitutional Amendment, and several references to Marbury v. Madison.
I'm also wondering about Lewis' motivation for introducing the bill.
Me too. On one hand, I doubt he could be very serious about it actually passing/holding up to court scrutiny. On the other, this is one possible way to do an end-around the court system on several contentious social issues that republicans are pushing....(gay marrige ban?)
You know...its stuff like this that makes me really respect the Constitution even more. If one actually pays attention to the safeguards...it's pretty hard to thwart....
According to the filing, the bill was presented as
"an effort to redress recent cases of activist judicial rulings. This bill, designed to preserve equal dignity among branches of government, would only be applicable to rulings concerning the constitutionality of an Act of Congress following passage.."
Certainly, this country has it's fair share of judges who appear to be 'legislating from the bench' at times, but this seems like a very short-sighted solution to that problem, particularly when you consider that there are 2 already existing processes to handle those cases - judicial impeachment and amending the Constitution.
Here's the first hit I got while searching on that quote:
Lewis is referring to the recent MA ruling on gay marriage. It seems to me that he could have found a better example to support his bill than a State court ruling. Maybe he couldn't, but that would be very sad.