con law ? on exceptions clause

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dudnaito
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con law ? on exceptions clause

Postby dudnaito » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:58 pm

Basically, according to ex parte McCardle, it's admitted that Congress' power to limit appellate jurisdiction of The Sup. Ct. is plenary. My prof's question in the beginning of the semester was like... "why did Supreme Court acquiesce to weakening of their own power?" and "there's a reason why Congress has almost never invoked its Exceptions Clause power, what is it?"

I remember hearing the explanation, and thinking, "oh right that makes sense," but apparently never bothered to write it down thinking it was somewhat obvious. Totally at a loss. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

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Lincoln
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Re: con law ? on exceptions clause

Postby Lincoln » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:09 pm

dudnaito wrote:"why did Supreme Court acquiesce to weakening of their own power?" and "there's a reason why Congress has almost never invoked its Exceptions Clause power, what is it?"


These two questions are not the same. I'm confused.

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dudnaito
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Re: con law ? on exceptions clause

Postby dudnaito » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:13 pm

Those questions seem interrelated. It seems to suggest that there are some internal or external limitations on Congress' use of the exceptions clause, or that the Court somehow would be able to retaliate in some fashion if Congress were to use their "plenary" power without restraint. After all, Congress has except for literally a handful of cases never invoked these powers. I dunno wtf I'm talking lol.

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Lincoln
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Re: con law ? on exceptions clause

Postby Lincoln » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:48 pm

These aren't really questions with straightforward answers. This is essentially what your 2L or 3L Federal Courts class is all about. (There's a lot of scholarship on these issue by some very prominent people.) I'm no expert, but this is my understanding:

The idea that there are no restraints on Congress' power to limit the Court's appellate jurisdiction (or the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts) is unfounded.

First, Congress obviously can't limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts in a way that violates parts of the Constitution other than Article III. Second, it's true that a (superficial) textual interpretation of Article III would seem to imply that Article III itself provides no limits on Congress' power to limit the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction. But in Henry Hart's Dialogue, he advances the view that the "exceptions must not be such as will destroy the essential role of the Supreme Court in the constitutional plan. . . . [This test may be vague.] But whatever the difficulties of the test, they are less, are they not, than the difficulties of reading the Constitution as authorizing its own destruction?" Likewise, Ratner has argued that the exceptions to the Court's appellate jurisdiction can't "negate" the Court's essential constitutional functions of maintaining the uniformity and supremacy of federal law."

Others disagree, and think that the Court's function is more subservient to Congress' power. The S.Ct.'s decisions are somewhat unclear and conflicting. Issues like whether state courts are open to litigants would seem to be relevant.

The doctrines of constitutional avoidance--if a court can reach the same outcome without holding that a statute is unconstitutional--and just common sense in not creating a battle with Congress, mean that the Court is loathe to strike down statutes as unconstitutional. The same is true for Congress. The more aggressively it exercises their power to limit federal court jurisdiction the more likely the Supreme Court is to strike it down. (See Boumediene.) In the last paragraph McCardle, the Court (in dicta) basically says that not all of its appellate jurisdiction had been withdrawn. Maybe if the Court had interpreted Congress' actions to have done so, the case would have come out differently.

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Hodgy
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Re: con law ? on exceptions clause

Postby Hodgy » Wed May 09, 2012 7:14 pm

dudnaito wrote:Basically, according to ex parte McCardle, it's admitted that Congress' power to limit appellate jurisdiction of The Sup. Ct. is plenary. My prof's question in the beginning of the semester was like... "why did Supreme Court acquiesce to weakening of their own power?" and "there's a reason why Congress has almost never invoked its Exceptions Clause power, what is it?"

I remember hearing the explanation, and thinking, "oh right that makes sense," but apparently never bothered to write it down thinking it was somewhat obvious. Totally at a loss. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks


I think Chemerinsky explained it as being political. The Court did not want to subvert Reconstruction.

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JoeFish
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Re: con law ? on exceptions clause

Postby JoeFish » Wed May 09, 2012 10:30 pm

Yeah, we use the Chemerinsky casebook, and he suggests in there at least that part of the reason the Supreme Court "acquiesced" was because Congress was only trying to basically take back jurisdiction to hear a particular, special mode of habeas corpus case that they created in a statute recently. He suggests that the distinction between that and Hamdan was that in the latter Congress was trying to remove from the court's juridiction all possible avenues of habeas for a broad class of people, rather than just a single avenue of habeas corpus.

*Disclaimer: that was what I gathered from reviewing the case myself about 3 hours ago in preparation of tomorrow's ConLaw final. So i'm not an expert, just a fellow studier's perspective




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