The Constitution: The Supreme Law Of The American Constitution

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Eugene Smith Government 110 Ratified in 1787(IIP), the American constitution became the supreme law of the land under article VI of the document: and when the Supreme Court has appropriate jurisdiction, they have the definite power to determine what is says. However, under special circumstances this can be refuted due to article III of the constitution states that congress has the power to make exceptions to the court 's appellate jurisdiction(Heritage). Ergo, while the Supreme Court has the power to say what the constitution is, Congress has the power to grant or remove jurisdiction from any appellate case that is not considered original jurisdiction. The power the Supreme Court has today stems from the case of Marbury v. Madison: a hearing…show more content…
Article III section 2 of the US constitution states that Congress has the power to add or remove any level of appellate jurisdiction when they see fit. This phrase commonly known as the McCardle Clause stems from the case of Ex parte McCardle of 1869 where, for the first time, Congress removed a level of appellate jurisdiction from the Supreme Court (citation needed). Ex parte McCardle stems from simple writ of habeas corpus that was demanded from a man arrested during the reconstructionist period after the Civil War(Finn). However, once (insert the guy’s name here) was denied the writ, he appealed to the Supreme Court, which decided they would hear the case since they had the jurisdiction to do so (Finn or find a new citation). In fear of what the decision could do to the progress of the reconstructionist era, Congress passed the act of March act 1686 which states that (quote the act here). Through the passage of this bill the Supreme Court not rule on the constitutionality of the bill, and therefore, lost the right to say what the constitution is. While controversial, the McCardle clause is one of the most important clauses of the constitution in terms of checks and balances, and specifically the check of the supreme court. With…show more content…
This type of loosely regulated power is abnormal compared to the other branches of government, and one could pose the question “what happens if the court is wrong?”. Under the constitution, and the concept of judicial review, courts have the power to say what the constitution is, but have no power to enforce it(Shapiro). This is the ultimate check on the court that prevents it from overstepping its authority. One common constitutional theory , is the concept of the sword and the purse. It states that Congress has the sole power of the “purse” to lay taxes and control commerce of the country(Ho). This is then paired with the concept of the sword which is shared between the legislative and the executive branches(Ho): Congress has the power to declare war, and the president will be commander in chief of the army and navy(Constitution). Through this all the Supreme Court is not stated to have any of these powers. In fact, in Federalist 78 Alexander Hamilton states that the legislature is “empowered with will, the executive with force, but the judiciary only has judgement”(Fed. 78). One can assume that the framers excluded these powers from the court on purpose, seeing that the concept of Judicial review was a matter of conversation far before Marbury vs. Madison(heritage).
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