Polemics & Exchanges

On Strippers

I concur with William J. Quirk in his discussion of the jurisdiction of federal courts (Cultural Revolutions, January).  However, he missed a related strategic point.

In truth, the judiciary is no “final arbiter” of what the Constitution means.  If it were, one branch of government would be supreme rather than coequal.  So-called judicial supremacy is simply a myth invented by the Supreme Court in 1958 in Cooper v. Aaron.

The president needn’t bother with getting Congress to add a “stripper” clause to legislation that would limit the Court’s jurisdiction.  He could simply say, in any given instance, “As head of a coequal branch of government, I assert executive authority to interpret the Constitution.  In this case, we find no such right or authority as defined by this Court to be in the Constitution and therefore declare this Supreme Court decision null and void.  We will not enforce it.  We will ignore it.  The Court be damned.”

The judiciary has no enforcement mechanism of its own other than the willingness of the other branches of government to defer to judicial authority.  They would be powerless to do anything.  There is no need to “strip” what you can simply disregard.


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