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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/13/11

Thom Hartmann: Important! Newt is right about the Supreme Court

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On this, Gingrich agrees with former President Thomas Jefferson - and most of the other founders of this country. Let's break it down. 
First, Newt's assertion that the Congress can pass laws that limit the powers and behavior of the Supreme Court. The Constitution, in Section Two of Article Three which establishes the Judiciary, does give Congress the power to define and limit what the Supreme Court can and can't do. Here's the exact language, "The Supreme Court shall have appelate jurisdiction both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make." Yes, that's what the Constitution says - in plain black and white. If Congress disagrees with - for example - the Citizens United decision, or the Bush v. Gore meeting - they can simply pass a law that says that the Supreme Court has overstepped its authority and that's the end of that.  
Why, you may ask, did the Founders write it this way?

The answer is really simple. They wanted the greatest power to be closest to the people - and Congress is up for election every two years. It's the body in our representative democratic republic that is closest to the people. It's where they wanted most of the power, which is why it's defined in Article One of the Constitution - the first among equals. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in an 1820 letter to Mr. Jarvis, who thought Supreme Court justices should have the power to strike down laws, "You seem to consider the judges the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy....The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal... I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves."
Please read the Constitution. Nowhere in it does it say that the Supreme Court can strike down laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. Nowhere! 
And for the first fourteen years of our Republic, the Court never even considered the idea. As Newt pointed out, Hamilton wrote in Federalist 78, "Then indeed is our Constitution a complete felo de so." "The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working underground to undermine our Constitution... I will say, that 'against this every man should raise his voice,' and, more, should uplift his arm."
Why? Because, Jefferson said, "For judges to usurp the powers of the legislature is unconstitutional judicial tyranny....One single object...will entitle you to the endless gratitude of society; that of restraining judges from usurping legislation." The power of We The People should be with the People and their elected officials, not 5 lawyers who have claimed the right to rule over every other branch of government.
Somebody tell Congress to wake up!
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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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