Skip to comments.Are the courts the final arbiter of the Constitution? RE: CFR, more
Posted on 03/20/2002 10:01:16 PM PST by GeronL
My question is...
Are the courts the final arbiter of the Constitution? Does this mean they are the Imperial Courts? What happened to co-equal branches of government and the balance of powers?
The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States;--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
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 Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Hell NO! American gun owners are!!!!!!!!!!
More to the point, the Constitution was written to be a guide by which ordinary educated citizens could judge whether the actions of government officials were legitimate. The citizens could thus either help the officials act against lawbreakers, or help protect the so-called lawbreakers against lawless officials.
Too bad so many people have worked for so long to obscure the straightforward meaning of much of the document.
Some seem to think that if the Court throws out the First Amendment that their action is Constitutional. Stupid.
Congress also has the power to take issues out of the purview of the courts, like abortion.
The courts are the final arbiter on whether laws passed by the Legislative branch and enforced by the Executive branch are Constitutional. Sheesh.
What judiciary is Constitutional? By the stroke of a pen, all courts except the Supreme Court can lose their jurisdiction and thereby be abolished. Question is, would that make matters better or worse?
Do appellate or circuit courts have jurisdiction to interpret the Constitution? If not, then why do their decisions amount to so much legislation? It is my understanding, that each case that these courts decide is based on the merits of each case that they hear.
ONLY the Supreme Court has any jurisdiction and only with regard and respect to issues of Constitutionality. Even so, the highest court of this last best best place to live on this planet, has no business legislating through its decisions.
At that point the Supreme Courts only authority is to decline to enforce an unconstitutional law. Through precedent inferior courts also no longer enforce laws that the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional.
There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents the legislature from passing a new law and the President from signing and enforcing it. There is no provision that would prevent the executive branch from enforcing a law that has been ruled unconstitutional and forcing everyone into the time and expense of court or to simply submit.
That is why all three branches must take responsibility for determining and only approving laws that are in compliance with the Constitution. No where does the Constitution state that the Supreme Court has final authority. The President, Senators and Congressmen all take an oath to uphold the Constitution, that oath requires that they determine weather a bill or any provision in the bill is constitutional before passing it into law.
You phrased your make-believe scenario backwards. The court cannot claim that gun ownership or media outlets are unconstitutional. All they can do is judge laws against the supreme law of the land, so a law would have to be written which claims "All people shall be obligated to turn in all weapons by April 15th" or "All private media outlets will be shut down effective immediately" or whatever. Then someone brings the case to court. If they lose, they appeal. They can appeal all the way to the SC. If they lose at the SC, "then what?" you ask. Then if people want the law reversed they elect those who will represent their interests in the matter and change the law, or the Constitution, or the ideology of the court. It's truly the worst form of governance, except for all the others.
Its Robert Borks' look at what the courts did with the Florida recount. It says a lot, namely that the Florida courts and the Supreme Court had no real business deciding what should have been decided by Florida law before the election.
The majority opinion raises a further question: whether a desirable result can ever be an adequate reason for law-bending. That seems to depend on ones political sympathy. The question lay at the heart of the courts ruling in United States v. Nixon requiring the president to comply with the special prosecutors subpoena of White House tapes. Strictly speaking, the case was not justiciable, for it involved a dispute between the head of the executive branch and a subordinate officer
It should never have been taken up by the courts, in other words
Indubitably. I am merely pointing out that the histrionics on these threads are pathetic. "If the SC rules against something that I like, then it's time to end this awkward period and begin the open armed revolt!" Sheesh. The ideologues need to get a life.
Bork: It is possible to be at once critical of the majoritys legal performance in Bush v. Gore and yet recognize that such performances are inevitable, or at least almost irresistible, when the pressure is high enough. Very few people today are critical of the courts 1803 decision in Marbury v. Madison, though this first broad assertion of the power of judicial review came in a case over which the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction and which required the wilful misconstruction of a congressional statute in order to gin up a bogus constitutional issue
This fellow Winston should never have been allowed to plagiarize my best lines.
Then you can thank the 14th amendment for that one. Now the 14th amendment, which I hate with a passion, is a part of the constitution. It allowed the R v. W case to be heard in front of them since the amendment has been used to whittle away states rights since its inception sometimes for the good but mostly for ill. Once one state law is found unconstitutional every other state law that is similar in major parts are also unconstitutional. Now as to Bork's words on the election. The only thing the Republicans did was to turn the dagger of "equal protection under the law" back at the Liberals for once. It gave them the opening to argue the issues that the case was decided on.
You are mixing state courts up with federal courts.
I believe that was the intended result, of the majority SC ruling. Didn't the USSC throw it back to the FSC, directing them to act according to existing election laws, passed by the Fla. legislature?
Meaning stop illegal FSC directed recounts (ad infinitum), observe legislated cutoff dates; Bush wins Fla. electoral votes and becomes 43rd President?
Exactley what I was thinking....
"the ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone"
(James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper #46.)
We are coming closer and closer to the point where we the people will have to exercise the authority that we possess to return to the Constitutional Republic that the founders gave us. It is a gift too precious to let slip away.
Ooof. That is a 20 page paper. I don't quite have the time to do that. A couple quick comments, yes the SC is the final arbiter of the Constitution, but that does not mean that they are our overlords. They can be impeached, and that is a check on their power. Congress can also change the nature of the Court to some degree, cahnge some of its jurisdiction, things like that. Its all part of the checks and balances. All that is meaningless though if Congress is either as corrupt as the Court or if Congress is spineless.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. Maybe you could point me to a good source for more information. I have a great deal of interest in our Constitution and how our government operates in accordance with it. I read Borks opinion on the Gore Bush Supreme Court opinion linked above and have read some on Marbury v Madison.