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, April 28, 2013

Cases with USA as a Party

                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, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made … to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party….”

                “Because the United States government is the highest level of legal authority in the Union, it is only appropriate that any issue in which it is a party should be adjudicated as a matter of RIGHT in the highest available tribunals of the nation” (W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 601).

                “Among the numerous jurisdictional grants to the new federal court system, one of the least controversial was the proposition that the new federal courts should have jurisdiction over any case to which the new United States was a party.  The provision for jurisdiction over cases to which the United States is a party was a comparatively late addition to the Constitution, adopted long after the Committee of Detail had completed its work.  It seemed to reflect nothing more than a correction of an oversight.  As Alexander Hamilton said of this jurisdictional grant:  `any other plan would be contrary to reason.’  The Federalist No. 80.  Even the Constitution’s most vigorous opponents in the Anti-Federalist camp acknowledged the logic of this position.  Later, Chief Justice John Jay noted in Calder v. Bull (1798) that federal jurisdiction over cases involving the United States was necessary `because in cases in which the whole people are interested, it would not be equal, or wise, to let any one state decide, and measure out the justice due others.’
                “Today, the interesting legal questions about this clause involve determinations of precisely what entity is the `United States’ and when the United States has consented to be a party to a lawsuit” (David F. Forte in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 248).

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