Must Supreme Court Judges Obey The Constitution?

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Here’s another great article by my retired Constitutional Lawyer friend from Tennessee Publius Huldah where she answers some questions that arose from her last article about the Arizona Immigration law and the fact that the Federal Courts have no Constitutional authority to rule whether the law is Constitutional or not.

Must Supreme Court Judges Obey The Constitution?

The Trial of The Lawsuit Against The State of Arizona:

By Publius Huldah  Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In my last paper, I showed that Our Constitution requires that the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona and Gov. Brewer be tried in the supreme Court; and that federal district court judge Susan Bolton has no constitutional authority to preside over the trial.

But many responded that the case is properly before Judge Bolton because Congress & the supreme Court have said that cases where a State is a Party may be tried in federal district court.


Thus we come to The Pivotal Question of Our Time: Will we restore the Rule of Law, which prevails when people in the federal government obey The Constitution? Or will we side with those who seek to expand the Rule of Men, where people holding Power do whatever they want?

1. The Federalist Papers were written during 1787-88 by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to explain the proposed Constitution to The People and to induce them to ratify it. Thus, The Federalist is the most authoritative commentary on the genuine meaning of Our Constitution.  And at a meeting of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia on March 4, 1825 at which Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were present, the following resolution selecting the texts for the Law school, was passed:

…on the distinctive principles of the government of our own state, and of that of the US. the best guides are to be found in 1. the Declaration of Independance, as the fundamental act of union of these states. 2. the book known by the title of `The Federalist’, being an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all, and rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning…. (page 83)  [emphasis added]

So! Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, Father of The Constitution, acknowledged the high authoritative status of The Federalist Papers.  They saw The Constitution as having a fixed meaning which one could learn by consulting The Federalist!

2. But supreme Court judges soon refused to submit to The Constitution as explained by The Federalist Papers. In 1907, former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said, “…the Constitution is what the judges say it is…”.  Judges thus rejected the objective standard provided by The Federalist, and substituted their own subjective interpretations. Law schools embraced this subversion:  Instead of teaching The Constitution as a set of fixed principles explained by The Federalist, they taught supreme Court opinions which say Congress may do whatever it pleases. They also taught that supreme Court judges have unbridled authority to say what the Constitution means. Law schools thus produced generations of constitutionally illiterate lawyers & judges who have been indoctrinated with the monstrous Lie that Our Constitution means whatever judges on the supreme Court say!  And because these lawyers failed in their sacred duty to think, and uncritically accepted what they were told, Our Country is on the brink of destruction.

Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute understands this pivotal issue. He said:

Is it unconstitutional for Congress to mandate that individuals buy health insurance or be taxed if they don’t? Absolutely—if we lived under the Constitution. But we don’t. Today we live under something called “constitutional law”—an accumulation of 220 years of Supreme Court opinions—and that “law” reflects the Constitution only occasionally.

Now you see how we came to this state where lawyers insist on a view of Art. III, §2 which is, to the eye of reason, contrary to The Constitution: They don’t obey The Constitution – they obey the supreme Court, as they were trained in law school to do.

3. Let us review Art. III, §2:

Clause 1 lists the categories of cases federal judges are permitted to hear.
Look at clause 2: The FIRST SENTENCE lists two of the categories set forth in clause 1 (cases affecting “Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls” & “those in which a State shall be Party”) and says that in ALL such cases, the supreme Court SHALL have original [trial] jurisdiction.

The SECOND SENTENCE says that in all the other cases set forth in clause 1, “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 Constitution is clear!  So is The Federalist. In No. 81, Hamilton sums it up:

We have seen that the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court would be confined to two classes of causes, and those of a nature rarely to occur. In all other cases of federal cognizance, the original jurisdiction would appertain to the inferior tribunals; and the Supreme Court would have nothing more than an appellate jurisdiction, “with such EXCEPTIONS and under such REGULATIONS as the Congress shall make.” (15th para)

See also, as to the supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, No. 81 (13th para).  As to the “exceptions & regulations” respecting the supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction, see No. 81 (last 6 paras): the exceptions & regulations merely address the mode of doing appeals.

I laid it out in a previous paper. But the clearest explanation of this whole issue is that given by Dr. Alan Keyes in his recent article at World Net Daily.

The supreme Court once knew that Congress could not reduce its original jurisdiction! In Marbury v. Madison (1803), the supreme Court discussed Art. III, §2, clause 2:

If Congress remains at liberty to give this court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared their jurisdiction shall be original, and original jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be appellate, the distribution of jurisdiction made in the Constitution, is form without substance… (p 174)

…When an instrument organizing fundamentally a judicial system divides it into one Supreme and so many inferior courts as the Legislature may ordain and establish, then enumerates its powers, and proceeds so far to distribute them as to define the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by declaring the cases in which it shall take original jurisdiction, and that in others it shall take appellate jurisdiction, the plain import of the words seems to be that, in one class of cases, its jurisdiction is original, and not appellate; in the other, it is appellate, and not original… [emphasis added] (p 175)

Marbury v. Madison got it right – THAT is what the Constitution & The Federalist Papers actually say!  But today, supreme court jurisprudence has “evolved” to embrace a view which contradicts The Constitution, The Federalist Papers, and Marbury v. Madison!

4. So! In a recent article at World Net Daily, two constitutional lawyers are quoted to the effect that the “exceptions & regulations” language in the SECOND SENTENCE of clause 2 (which defines the supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction), permits Congress to reduce the supreme Court’s original jurisdiction granted in the FIRST SENTENCE of clause 2!

Why do lawyers say this?  Because Congress at 28 USC § 1251 et seq., & the supreme Court (e.g., Case v. Bowles (1946) at page 97) said so; and lawyers go by what the supreme Court last said, not by the Constitution. Lawyers are trained to obey the supreme Court – they do not believe the supreme Court is subject to The Constitution. Like Charles Evans Hughes, they see the supreme Court as above The Constitution!

5. One of the lawyers is also quoted as saying, “Could you imagine every case that involves a state as a party being before the Supreme Court? The court would be so loaded with those kinds of cases”.  Another commentator said that “states are sued all the time”, “every time a state is sued it goes to the supreme court?”, and that only lawyers “who have no idea of what the history is” would say that only the supreme Court has jurisdiction to conduct the trial of the case against Arizona.

I do not wish to pillory good men.  So I ask everyone to consider these two points:

ONE:  As Art. III, §§2, clause 1 shows on its face, the judicial Power of the United States extends only to cases of “federal” or “national” cognizance.  Hamilton explains each category of case in Federalist No. 80, and shows why each is a proper object of the federal courts. Read it, and you will see that the judicial Power does not extend to matters of internal concern to States. Furthermore, in Federalist No. 83 (8th para), Hamilton said:

…the judicial authority of the federal judicatures is declared by the Constitution to comprehend certain cases particularly specified. The expression of those cases marks the precise limits, beyond which the

federal courts cannot extend their jurisdiction, because the objects of their cognizance being enumerated, the specification would be nugatory if it did not exclude all ideas of more extensive authority.  [emphasis added]

Yes!  The powers of the federal courts are enumerated!  Federal courts are not supposed to hear any case which does not fall within the categories listed at Art. III, §2, clause 1.  If the supreme Court would stay within its enumerated powers, its case load would be greatly reduced. Read No. 80 carefully, and much should become clear.

TWO: Congress’ powers are also enumerated! Congress has constitutional authority over international commerce and war. Domestically, it has authority to establish a uniform commercial system (bankruptcy laws, a monetary system, weights & measures, patents & copyrights, a limited power over interstate commerce, and mail delivery.)  It has authority to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization. The Amendments granted Congress powers to protect former slaves, voting rights, and lay income taxes. That’s about it!

This is why Hamilton was able to say in Federalist No. 81 (15th para),

…the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court would be confined to two classes of causes, and those of a nature rarely to occur. [emphasis added]

Congress has very little constitutional authority to make laws affecting States.  Do you not see how this reduces the opportunities for litigation where a State would be party?

But most of the laws made by Congress for over 100 years are unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers granted to Congress. And since the judicial Power of the federal courts includes all Cases arising under “the Laws of the United States”, the federal courts are clogged with cases arising out of unconstitutional federal laws!

So! Requiring the supreme Court to obey the Constitution and to conduct the trials of cases of federal cognizance where a State is Party, would be a check on the powers of Congress. If the supreme Court’s trial docket were clogged with cases arising out of unconstitutional federal laws, perhaps the Court would do its duty and declare the laws unconstitutional!

6. We have been going in the wrong direction for a very long time.  We all need to go back to basics and start rethinking basic constitutional principles.  Our survival may depend on it. PH.

Canada Free Press


Nancy Pelosi wants investigation into Ground Zero mosque opposition funding

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Well you know you just can’t make this stuff up. Nancy, have you forgot who caused 9/11, the 1993 Twin Towers bombing, the bombing of the US Cole, etc? Sure all muslims aren’t terrorists, but so far in all these examples above, all terrorists have been muslims. Nancy can’t figure out where all the opposition is coming from….can you spell OUT OF TOUCH.

Nancy Pelosi, house speaker, wants investigation into Ground Zero mosque opposition funding

Nancy Pelosi wants some answers.

The house speaker is calling for an investigation into groups protesting the building of the Ground Zero mosque.

“There is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some,” she told San Francisco‘s KCBS radio on Tuesday.

Pelosi added that she joins “those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded.”

Many Republicans have said they are against the building of the mosque, and have demanded Democratic candidates and incumbents to publicly choose a side.

The GOP said it will keep hammering the issue in a drive to take back Congress.

“It’s important to voters right now,” Tory Mazzola, spokesman for the National Congressional Republican Committee, said.

Pelosi is one of few House Democrats to make a statement on the mosque. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) broke from the president on Monday and said the mosque should be built “someplace else.” The move occurred shortly after his Republican opponent Sharron Angle asked where he stood.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has previously said an investigation into how the $100 million project is funded would be “un-American.” (Really, maybe Saudi Arabia is funding it…..we need to know…$100 million?)

Pelosi said the matter is a “zoning issue” in New York City and would like the matter to be determined by city residents. She said the issue might be “ginned up” in order to help Republican candidates.

“In New York, I’m sure the New Yorkers would like to make their own urban development decision themselves,” Pelosi said.