Federal Courts and the Growth of Government Power

FINALLY a congressman has noted the fact that Congress can limit jurisdiction of the federal courts!

Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk, a weekly column
January 16, 2006

The Senate hearings regarding the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court demonstrated that few in Washington view the Constitution as our founders did. The Constitution first and foremost is a document that limits the power of the federal government. It prevents the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court from doing all kinds of things. But judging by last week's hearings, the Constitution is an enabling document, one that authorizes the federal government to involve itself in nearly every aspect of our lives.

The only controversy, it seems, is whether the current nominee will favor the power of one branch over another, or the preferences of one political party over another. Last week's hearings were purely political, because the role of Supreme Court justices has become increasingly political.

Nearly all of the Senators, witnesses, and Judge Alito himself spoke repeatedly about the importance of respecting Supreme Court precedents. The clear implication is that we must equate Supreme Court decisions with the text of the Constitution itself, giving them equal legal weight. But what if some precedents are bad? Should the American people be forced to live with unpopular judicial "laws" forever? The Constitution itself can be amended; are we to accept that Supreme Court rulings are written in stone?

Also troubling was the apparent consensus among both the Senators and Judge Alito that Congress has no authority to limit federal court jurisdiction by forbidding it to hear certain types of cases. This is completely false: Article III Section 2 of the Constitution plainly grants Congress the authority to limit federal court jurisdiction in many kinds of cases. It is perfectly constitutional for Congress to pass court-stripping legislation to reflect public sentiment against an overreaching Supreme Court. [...] Read the rest at Ron Paul's website: http://tinyurl.com/e3llg Ron Paul is a Republican, but seems like the old time Republicans we agreed with on some issues in the past. Incidentally, there doesn't seem to be a D or R beside a congressman's name on the main list. I could have sworn there used to be.

© Virginia Metze


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