Congress Should NOT Strip the Supreme Court of Its Powers...

I was shocked to learn it. But apparently it’s true. The U.S. Congress wants to strip the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts of their power to determine First Amendment cases. Here is the story. And here is the story from another angle.

I definitely think Congress should NOT do this. An independent judiciary is at the very heart of our system of checks and balances. Sure they don’t do this is other countries, like Britain for example (an example I often see cited). But you see, we had this little war a couple hundred years ago to show our independence from such old world ideologies :slight_smile: .

Does anyone know anymore about this political position–being against the Supreme Court upholding the First Amendment? What is President Bush’s view on the matter? And what are the views of the judges he would appoint? This all seems very extreme to me. But I want to learn more about it :slight_smile: .

It has just occurred to me that IMHO is not necessarily the place for political debates. You see, I’ve never put a topic in IMHO, so I wasn’t sure. In any event, the only thing I can do is offer my sincere apologies :slight_smile: , and await this threads transfer to GD. Sorry again :smack: .

I’m pretty sure the SCOTUS could just strike down any law like that.

If our courts are no longer allowed to interpret the Constitution, what is it that they’re supposed to do? I’ve always been taught that SCOTUS’s sole duty is to interpret the Constitution, and if you take that away, what’s the point of having the courts? Or, for that matter, the Constitution?

There are some people who would insist that this action is a corruption of the actual intent of the Constitution. However, it is clearly a function that will not go away.

That point notwithstanding, the bill is silly because, as wmulax93 points out, the Supremes will simply declare the law, itself, unconstitutional. (Rehnquist may be a far-right ideologue, but he is not going to put up with challenges to his court’s supremacy.)

I’m not scared of this, but I am scared of the implications.

I’m not scared because, as has been said, SCOTUS could strike down the law like it was batting a fly. No Congress could so subvert the government as to destroy a whole branch of government. Congress could just as well draft legislation removing the President’s veto power.

I am scared because politicians think they can make hay by denigrating and attacking a branch of government, as opposed to a party or an ideology. This is not a sign of a healthy government. The last time this happened, thousands of people went on a death march. A government divided against itself cannot rule.

But what scares me most is that people are beginning to think that all things, including the basic civil rights of all citizens, are up for a vote. That is, they think there ought not be any power greater than their own ballot. As a Constitutionalist and a fan of strong individual liberties, I could not disagree more.

[obligatory Futurama quote]
Fry: I thought the Vice President’s sole duty was to cast the tie-beaking vote in the senatE?

VP Al Gore: That, AND protect the space-time continuum. Read the constitution!
[/obilatory Futurama quote]
I’m actually confused about this, though. If congress makes a law/bill/whatever saying the supreme court no longer exists, how can the Supreme Court then strike it down? I mean…they already don’t exist! The group that doesn’t exist says the law saying the don’t exist violates the constitution, but they don’t exists, so it doesn’t matter! The answer is simple: create antoher branch of government. The Super-Awesome Court. The judges are our most popular celebrities, because let’s face it, who esle does America love more than it’s celebrities? This court will then make a ruling on whether or not the supreme court can make a ruling on the supreme’s court own demise.

You can only change the constitution by amending it. Passing a law does not change the constitution.

Oh and some politicians do run againts the courts, just like some run against Hollywood. (or Hollyweird as they like to say) Listen to those who say, we don’t want some court deciding what marriage is.

It never ceases to amaze me that reasonably-intelligent, elected officials think these sorts of things are a good idea. I mean, my elected officials would never go for something like this!

Looks on Thomas…

Oh sonuva… All of my state’s representatives are backing the thing. :rolleyes:

This thread may be of interest to this discussion. I believe it’s on the same set of bills.

Well I think its a great idea. Its about time Congress started asserting its rightful authority to decide Constitutional issues. I wonder why the President didn’t just write this law and pass it a long time ago? In any case, it doesn’t matter whether the Supreme Court agrees with this law or not. They have a Constitutional obligation to enforce it by any and all appropriate means, even if it requires the use of our armed forces. Unless it doesn’t pass in the House of Commons, in which case it’s put to a referendum, subject to approval by the High Commission of Clergy and Newspaper Editors. It’s right there in the Constitution, people! You should read it sometime!

Frighteningly enough, this sort of behavior is arguably within Congress’s powers.

US Const. Article III establishes the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court, and provides the framework under which Congress may establish, widen or narrow the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts. Section 2, Paragraph 2 vests in the Supreme Court original jurisdiction over “all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party.” That’s it. The rest of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction is strictly appellate, and is subject to “such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” Essentially, this means that notwithstanding a constitutional amendment, Congress cannot take away the Supreme Court’s authority to hear certain matters (Ambassadors… etc.), but can take away its authority to hear others.

As for the lower federal courts, well, a reading of Article 1 barely begins to explain things… “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.” Basically, Congress giveth, Congress taketh away. Congress can not only constitutionally limit the subject matter jurisdiction (the authority of a court to hear a case arising under a certain issue) of the lower federal courts, it can, at least constitutionally (although certainly not pragmatically or politically), abolish them altogether.

Of course, all of this doesn’t mean that we should be worried. First, there are mountains of legal precedent, as well as several federal statutes, supporting expansive federal subject-matter jurisdiction. Second, the House perpetrates nonsense legislation like this all the time (most of it sponsored by members so far to the right that they have to look to the left to see Strom Thurmond’s ghost), and most of it doesn’t come to a full house vote, or see the other let alone reach the President’s desk.

Stupid third-paragraph ham-handedness. The line should read: “…and most of it doesn’t come to a full house vote, or see the other let alone reach the President’s desk.”

To be clear, this bill is about stripping lower courts of their ability to hear such cases, NOT the Supreme Court. The OP misread the links he posted.

I’m also opposed to the idea, but it is NOT a proposal to ban the Supreme Court from hearing 1st Amendment cases.

AAAARRRGGHH. Office computer malarkey. For the last time, the line should read: “…and most of it doesn’t come to a full house vote, or reach the Senate (or the House, if the matter originated in the Senate), let alone cross the President’s desk.”

According to Nancy Pelosi’s column of Sept. 9th, John Roberts actually condoned court-stripping efforts in the '80s. Pretty scary, considering his nomination to SCOTUS. I imagine the religious right is beside itself with joy.


In practicality, wouldn’t that stop the Supreme Court? If no cases were coming from the lower courts?

Oh, umm, yeah. When are they going to implement the flashing red date system?

We must remove the head or destroy the brain.