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 17, 2013

Judicial Power for All

                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….”  This principle in the Constitution bestowed up the federal courts the power and authority to handle all cases whether pertaining to law or equity.

                “Article III, Section 2, delineates the scope of the federal judicial power by listing nine kinds of `Cases’ and `Controversies’ to which the `judicial Power’ of the United States may extend.  By far the most important is the category encompassing `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.’  This is often referred to as the `federal question’ jurisdiction, and, although that is something of a misnomer, it is a convenient label.
                “From the beginning, the Framers intended the scope of the jurisdiction to be broad....

                “There was little discussion of this provision at the Convention.  In the course of a single day, the Convention deleted the reference to `the general Legislature’ and extended the judicial power to cases arising under the Constitution and treaties in addition to the cases arising under federal laws.  When the Committee of Style reported to the Convention in September, the provision read substantially as it does today….

                “Finally, it should be made clear that federal jurisdiction extends to cases, not issues.  When a federal court has jurisdiction over a case that arises under federal law, the jurisdiction extends to the whole case, and the court will often have power to consider other issues in the case whether state or federal.”  (See Arthur Hellman in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 241-243.)

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