Thursday, April 22, 2010

Constituting America: Lesson Four: The Constitution, Article III: The Judicial Branch

Welcome to day four of our ninety-one day adventure. Today we look at look at the Judicial Branch of government. The text is as it was originally written:

Article III.

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

In 1795 the 11th Amendment was ratified, it deals with Section 2, Paragraph 1. It seeks to clarify the scope of the federal courts. This is as good a time as any to remind readers the Constitution is a covenant between We The People and government. The Constitution is not about giving us rights or power, those come from our Creator, or as our founders would say:
Nature’s God.

The Constitution, much to the chagrin of Barack Obama, was written to restrain government, not We The People.


Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Article III is pretty straightforward. It basically allows Congress to set up a Supreme Court that would be the final arbiter in any case where the constitutionality of any action, or any law comes into question.

Article III also provides for the establishment of a federal court system for handling cases federal in nature. It also establishes the right to a jury trial, and defines what treason is (Hint: Disagreeing with the Obama regime is NOT treason...or matter what Joe Klein may think)

It’s interesting to note that no real requirements for what it takes to be chosen as a judge on either the Supreme Court, or other federal courts are mentioned. It supposes Congress, and the President, will be of good judgment when choosing people to fill the benches. The only real requirement is once chosen, jurists must remain of "
good behaviour." In other words be of good character, and break no laws.

As a reader pointed out, even though our three branches of government are considered equal, part of the checks and balances our founders set up to keep government restrained, often the Judicial Branch seems "
more equal" than the other two.

The job of a Supreme Court justice, or a justice of any court is to interpret the law. Think of a judge as a referee. Doesn’t matter if it’s criminal or civil court, the judge’s responsibility is to look at the facts, bounce that off the law, and judge the case based on their merits. This is further enhanced by the fact a defendant has the right to be judged by a jury of their peers.This serves as a check and balance to the courts themselves.

The problem of course, comes when activist judges are appointed to the bench. These judges get in there and rather than play their roles as referees in the game, decide to make up new rules, or create a completely new game altogether. Nothing good ever comes from this.

Progressives,... Marxists,... are particularly keen on using the courts to make law that would otherwise never see the light of day. America soundly rejects most of the Marxist ideology and the progressive movement, when given the facts. Knowing this, progressives run to the courts.

The list is long, but things like abortion, the removal of pray in schools, and the assault on religion as a whole, as well as gay marriage, and a whole host of other "
found rights" came about because the people wouldn’t stand for it, or vote for it, if given the chance. Stand before the right court though, with the right judge, and all sorts of calamity follows.

One such case is gay marriage in California. Even though the people, by vote, banned gay marriage, the California Supreme Court overturned the will of the people, and declared the vote "
unconstitutional," thus creating the "right" to gay marriage. This of course brought about a second vote, this time to amend their constitution. There are still some preparing to use the court to overrule the will of the people.

I use gay marriage as an example, but this sort of activism effects our lives on a daily basis, on a variety of issues. Take energy issues. Just try and develop any natural resources and see what happens. Activists with go "
judge shopping" until the find a friend who will help them use the court as a weapon to stop it, often finding new "rights."

Activist judges, far left extremists, do great damage to our nation, and way of life. This is why, as Conservatives, we must demand that our elected officials only chose jurists of good character who will only serve as referees and not rule makers. Creating rules, the law, is the job of the Legislative Branch.

We are about to witness Barack Obama’s second appointment to the Supreme Court. This is already troubling because he has stated that he is looking for "diversity" on the Court. This is very dangerous. The qualities the President, and the nation should be looking for are an understanding of the Constitution, and the ability to refrain from deviating from it.

Make sure you visit Constituting America’s website here, and join in on the discussion, as well as read the excellent essays by leading Constitutional scholars.

Tomorrow we read the remaining articles to the Constitution.

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