Author Topic: Can the Supreme Court ...  (Read 1107 times)

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Offline Jim Nunziato

Can the Supreme Court ...
« on: March 19, 2014, 05:26:44 PM »

At today's Sentinel Patriot Club Meeting, Dr. Henry Leissing proposed a question (and homework assignment) to the group, and asked for a report at next month's meeting on what we found.  (See what fun you missed if you didn't attend today's meeting?   :P  )

He asked, (and I'm paraphrasing) If the Supreme Court observes the Executive Branch or the Legislative Branch venturing into unconstitutionality, can they initiate anything to stop it without a case being brought before them?  (I hope I got the right "gist" of Dr. Leissing's question.)

I'll stop here with the question, and we can offer our own opinions/findings as replies.





"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."  Thomas Jefferson

If Hillary was the answer, then it must have been a really stupid question!

Offline Jim Nunziato

Re: Can the Supreme Court ...
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2014, 07:04:01 PM »

If the Supreme Court observes the Executive Branch or the Legislative Branch venturing into unconstitutionality, can they initiate anything to stop it without a case being brought before them? 


Before I started attending the Sentinel Patriot Club Meetings, I probably would have said, "Sure," with my reasoning being that if their job is to interpret the Constitutionality of law, it would be much easier to step in and let Congress know that what they are proposing, if signed into law, would not meet Constitutional muster. They would be acting as an "advisory" at that point.

As I began to scrutinize the Constitution more closely and tried to further learn its meaning, I found that Article 3, Sections 1 & 2 define the powers of the Judicial Branch, or the Supreme Court. I do not read any power granted to the Supreme Court that would allow them to intervene or interfere in either the Executive or Legislative Branches without a CASE being brought before them.



Article III

Section. 1. 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.

Section. 2. 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.



I highlighted the words, "Cases" and "Controversies." Also, worth noting (in my opinion) that in the copy of The Constitution that I have here (From The Heritage Foundation) those words are Capitalized. Why are they Capitalized? I think it means that in order for the Supreme court to officiate, there must be a "Case" or "Controversy" brought before them.

So, without knowing what all "such Regulations as the Congress shall make," I would opine that at face value, no, the Supreme Court can not officially initiate anything on their own to intervene if it observes either of the other two branches doing something which would violate the Constitution. Not without a "Case" being brought before them.

Could they, however, offer free, legal "advice" on an unofficial level?

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."  Thomas Jefferson

If Hillary was the answer, then it must have been a really stupid question!