Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Judicial Power and the Constitution

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article III, Section 2, Clause 1:  “The Judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution….”  This provision in the Constitution simply states that the people can take any constitutional question directly to the federal court system.

                “Even though the Founders emphasized that the jurisdiction of the state courts was to be kept entirely separate from that of the federal courts, if a constitutional question is raised during the litigation of a state case, the matter can be immediately referred to the federal courts for a decision.

                “One question answered by the Founders in connection with this provision was… Why must constitutional questions always be referred to a federal court?

                “[Alexander Hamilton explained that the] federal judiciary is the exclusive guardian of the Constitution:  `It seems scarcely to admit of controversy that the judiciary authority of the Union ought to extend … to all [cases] which concern the execution of the provisions expressly contained in the articles of Union ….  There ought always to be a constitutional method of giving efficacy to constitutional provisions….’

                “[Hamilton also argued that” laws must conform to the Constitution:  `The Constitution ought to be the standard of construction for the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the Constitution….”  (See W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 595-596.)

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