Polemics & Exchanges

On Checking the Court

Stephen B. Presser correctly complains about the unconstitutional decisions of the central government’s Supreme Court in his article “Supreme Court Chaos” (American Proscenium, October).  However, he fails to place the blame where it belongs, which is on the current Republican Congress.  The Constitution, in Article III, Section 2, clearly gives Congress the authority to limit and regulate the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.  For the first time in 53 years, the Republicans control both houses of Congress and the presidency, but I will not hold my breath waiting for them to act.

        —J. Michael Brown
Tulsa, OK

Dr. Presser Replies:

Mr. Brown makes a valuable point.  It does, at least theoretically, lie within the power of Congress to remove subject-matter jurisdiction over appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The interesting question is whether, even if the Republican majorities mustered the courage to act and the legislation were not filibustered to death by the Democrats, the Court itself would uphold such legislation or somehow determine that the Fifth or Fourteenth Amendments’ due-process clauses allow it to reject such limits on its own jurisdiction.

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