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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Monday, 15 March 2004

Topic: The Law

But wait! There's more. Soon congress will have the power to reverse the decisions of the Supreme Court. Cool.

In the magazine yesterday, buried at the end of the item on Mel Gibson and George Bush, I mentioned there is a new 'Constitution Restoration Act' before congress.

This is a new bill submitted in both houses to limit the jurisdiction the Supreme Court and federal district courts over cases involving any federal, state, or local government official who "publicly acknowledges God as the source of law, liberty, or government." If passed, you cannot stop that official from saying God's will trumps the law and the constitution.

Sounds like theocracy is on the way.

Judge Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, introduced the bill at a press conference in Washington last month. You remember he was removed from office because he refused to take down a Ten Commandments display he placed in the state courthouse building.


Robert Aderholt (R-AL) introduced a bill into the U.S. House of Representatives in February - the "Constitution Restoration Act," or H.R. 3799. There are seven co-sponsors to the bill, and it has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for review. The co-sponsors of the House version of the bill are Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Robert Cramer (R-AL), Terry Everett (R-AL), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Mike Pence (R-IN), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Mike Rogers (R-AL).

Richard Shelby (R-AL) introduced the same "Constitution Restoration Act" into the Senate in February as S. 2082. There are five co-sponsors to the Senate version of the bill, and it is under consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The co-sponsors of the Senate version of the bill are Wayne Allard (R-CO), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Zell Miller (D-GA).

These guys all say this bill say it was designed to counter "the radical judicial activism that has taken place in recent years to remove any reference to God in American society." They say too many legal decisions are an effort to secularize government and remove moral standards in the law.

And we cannot have that, can we?

But wait! There's more. There's a second bill that actually proposes that congress should be allowed to reverse the decisions of the Supreme Court.

You could look it up. Here's the relevant text:


March 9, 2004

Mr. Lewis of Kentucky (for himself, Mr. DeMint, Mr. Everett, Mr. Pombo, Mr. Coble, Mr. Collins, Mr. Goode, Mr. Pitts, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Hefley, Mr. Doolittle, and Mr. Kingston) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004.


The Congress may, if two thirds of each House agree, reverse a judgment of the United States Supreme Court?

(1) if that judgment is handed down after the date of the enactment of this Act; and

(2) to the extent that judgment concerns the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.


The procedure for reversing a judgment under section 2 shall be, as near as may be and consistent with the authority of each House of Congress to adopt its own rules of proceeding, the same as that used for considering whether or not to override a veto of legislation by the President.


This Act is enacted pursuant to the power of Congress under article III, section 2, of the Constitution of the United States.
Two of my regular readers are lawyers, and took the usual courses in Constitutional Law.

Can they do this? I'd guess so.

The congress shall have the power to make null and void what the judicial branch decides? Why not give the president that power? Co-equal branches of government in a balance of powers? How silly.

Legal opinions are welcome here.

Posted by Alan at 19:45 PST | Post Comment | Permalink

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