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Thomas Jefferson was against Supreme Court having exclusive power to interpret the Constitution

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posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 02:49 PM
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Thomas Jefferson was against Supreme Court Power. Helped Impeach only Supreme Court Justice in United States History


In his letter to Judge Spencer Roane, Thomas Jefferson argues against exclusive judiciary construction of the Constitution; such exclusive power of constitutional interpretation would, according to Jefferson, undermine the principle of checks and balances-since it would allow the judiciary department to prescribe rules for the government of the others. If the judiciary has sole power of constitutional interpretation, then the Constitution “is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”

Jefferson instead recommends that each department be truly independent of the others and have the right to decide for itself the Constitution’s meaning in cases submitted to its action-especially in those cases where it is to act ultimately and without appeal.

Marshall and Jefferson present two diametrically opposed views of the nature of constitutional interpretation, and it is regrettable that Marshall’s view has been virtually uncontested in the United States during the past century; Jefferson was correct to warn that giving the Supreme Court sole ultimate power to interpret the Constitution would shift supremacy from the text of the Constitution to the subjective wishes of Supreme Court justices.


tenthamendmentcenter.com...

Link to actual letter written by Thomas Jefferson


Jefferson believed Supreme Court justices who undermine the principles of the Constitution ought to be impeached, and that wasn’t just idle talk. During his presidency, Jefferson led the effort to oust Justice Samuel Chase, arguing that Chase was improperly seizing power. The Senate acquitted Chase in 1805, and no Justice has been impeached since, but as the Supreme Court threatens to nullify the health-care law, Jefferson’s idea is worth revisiting.


link


Chase is best known, however, as the only Supreme Court Justice to be impeached. After federal judge John Pickering of New Hampshire was impeached and convicted in 1804, Chase was impeached by the House of Representatives, pursuant to a quiet request by President Thomas Jefferson.

Chase was impeached for his conduct in several "political" trials and his intemperate remarks to a Baltimore grand jury while riding circuit. In early February 1805, thirty days after he was impeached by the House, he was tried in the Senate. The Senate prosecutor was Jefferson’s and John Marshall’s distant cousin, John Randolph. Randolph was an extremely partisan Republican. He was also an opium fiend who had a vicious tongue.


At this time there were 34 senators, 25 Jeffersonian-Republicans and 9 Federalists. If the Senators voted along party lines, Chase was facing conviction. However, in the period between the presentment of the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, and the trial, Randolph assailed Jefferson’s attempted compromise of the Yazoo land fraud (which would not be settled until 1814. The Supreme Court, in an 1810 decision, upheld the sale of 25 million acres of Georgia land to speculators. The sale occurred after nearly the entire Georgia legislature was bribed.

The Court held the act of sale by the Georgia legislature was constitutional under either principles of natural law or the contracts clause, Art. I, section 10, clause 1). The Republicans disaffected with Jefferson's efforts to settle the Yazoo land fraud scandal joined with the nine Federalists to block the 2/3 vote necessary to convict Chase. No more than 19 votes were garnered for any of the eight Articles of impeachment. The Article that received that number of votes for conviction concerned Chase’s excoriation of the Baltimore Grand Jury in May 1803.


www.michaelariens.com...

Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of our Constitution, did not believe the Supreme court alone should be able to dictate Constitutional Law. He actually was able to lobby the House to IMPEACH a Supreme Court justice due to massive corruption....the only Supreme Court Justice to ever be impeached in US History. The Senate ultimately struck it down.


The Supreme Court and Judicial Review


Judicial Review

The Supreme Court of the United States spends much, if not most, of its time on a task which is not delegated to the Supreme Court by the Constitution. That task is: Hearing cases wherein the constitutionality of a law or regulation is challenged. The Supreme Court's nine Justices attempt to sort out what is, and what is not constitutional. This process is known as Judicial Review.

But the states, in drafting the Constitution, did not delegate such a power to the Supreme Court, or to any branch of the government. Since the constitution does not give this power to the court, you might wonder how it came to be that the court assumed this responsibility.

The answer is that the court just started doing it and no one has put a stop to it. This assumption of power took place first in 1794 when the Supreme Court declared an act of congress to be unconstitutional, but went largely unnoticed until the landmark case of Marbury v Madison in 1803. Marbury is significant less for the issue that it settled (between Marbury and Madison) than for the fact that Chief Justice John Marshall used Marbury to provide a rationale for judicial review. Since then, the idea that the Supreme Court should be the arbiter of constitutionality issues has become so ingrained that most people incorrectly believe that the Constitution granted this power.


The Constitution NEVER GRANTED THE SUPREME COURT THIS POWER. They gave it to themselves.


Article III of the Constitution provides for the establishment of a Judicial branch of the federal government and Section 2 of that article enumerates the powers of the Supreme Court. Here is Section 2, in part:

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.



"Well," you might say, "someone has to review laws for constitutionality. Why not the Supreme Court?" Some possible answers:

First and foremost, it is not a power granted to the Supreme Court by the Constitution. When the Supreme Court exercises Judicial Review, it is acting unconstitutionally.
It is a huge conflict of interest. The Federal Government is judging the constitutionality of its own laws. It is a classic case of "the fox guarding the hen house."
The Constitution's "checks and balances" were designed to prevent any one branch of government (legislative, executive or judicial) from becoming too powerful and running roughshod over the other branches. There is no such system of checks and balances to protect the states and the people when multiple branches of government, acting in concert, erode and destroy the rights and powers of the states and the people.
Even if the Supreme Court could be counted on to keep the Executive and Legislative branches from violating the Constitution, who is watching the Supreme Court and will prevent the Judicial branch from acting unconstitutionally? Unless you believe that the Supreme Court is infallible (and, demonstrably, it is not), then allowing the Supreme Court to be the sole arbiter of Constitutionality issues is obviously flawed.
Justices are appointed for life. If the court upholds unconstitutional laws, there is no recourse. We the People cannot simply vote them out to correct the situation. Thomas Jefferson wrote, in 1823:


"At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account."


constitutionality.us...
edit on 4-4-2012 by David9176 because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:00 PM
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I think it's funny how most people who call themselves strict constitutionalists and worship the founding fathers, don't actually know much about the founding fathers or the constitution. They just assume anything that they think is what the constitution says, and what the founding fathers believed. Example, half of the founding fathers WANTED a STRONG federal government, the other half did not.
They like to claim that all of the founding fathers were opposed to a strong federal government.

This letter will mess with their head.
Lol, you know this letter means Obama's latest speech actually agrees with Thomas Jefferson, right?

I agree with Thomas Jefferson. The supreme court is the most powerful branch in our government. And there are unelected people on it who can serve unlimited terms. I'd say having them elected, and having 6 year terms would cut their power drastically.


edit on 4-4-2012 by Ghost375 because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-4-2012 by Ghost375 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:02 PM
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Article III Section 2 states

The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution...

Laws arising under the Constitution appears to me to give leave to question the Constitutionality of the law.


edit on 4-4-2012 by Nite_wing because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:04 PM
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reply to post by David9176
 


I would argue that if a law was claimed to be unconstitutional that would be a "Controversy to which the United States shall be a Party."

This then does grant the SCOTUS the authority to review the laws. Or am I interpreting that wrong?



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:04 PM
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reply to post by Ghost375
 





Lol, you know this letter means Obama's latest speech actually agrees with Thomas Jefferson, right?


Yes I do...the Supreme Court itself is being UNCONSTITUTIONAL for deciding what is Constitutional or not....in the eyes of Thomas Jefferson that is...a man who actually helped frame it!






edit on 4-4-2012 by David9176 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:07 PM
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Originally posted by David9176
reply to post by Ghost375
 





Lol, you know this letter means Obama's latest speech actually agrees with Thomas Jefferson, right?


Yes I do...the Supreme Court itself is being UNCONSTITUTIONAL for deciding what is Constitutional or not.



I added some more to my first post. I don't think that power is too bad in of itself. It's having that power, as well as being unelected and having unlimited terms that makes it dangerous.



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:10 PM
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Originally posted by Nite_wing
Article III Section 2 states

The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution...

Laws arising under the Constitution appears to me to give leave to question the Constitutionality of the law.


edit on 4-4-2012 by Nite_wing because: (no reason given)

That's not saying they have the power to decide whether bills passed are constitutional or not. But I do think they should have that power, and they now do. I'm opposed to them being unelected and having unlimited terms.
But like I mentioned earlier, people will interpret the constitution so it supports their views. It doesn't matter what it actually says.



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:12 PM
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I think we should just make it official, and just name Obama our Dictator. Why should we have Congress or the Supreme Court? It would be much easier if we let Dear Leader decide.



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:14 PM
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reply to post by Ghost375
 





I added some more to my first post. I don't think that power is too bad in of itself. It's having that power, as well as being unelected and having unlimited terms that makes it dangerous.


I agree...and I changed my post as well. Ultimately, the will of the people, even if an issue was supported by 99 percent of all Americans, could be struck down by the Supreme Court that was never elected by the people that they ultimately control the laws over.

This essentially makes them kings...unelected but appointed kings....because the Constitution is open to interpretation...it always has been. There are constant fights and arguments over whether something is Constitutional or not all the time. Often decisions made are due to ideological and political reasons.

This Supreme Court just made it legal for Americans to be strip searched for simple infractions like a seat belt ticket and other things.

That alone in my eyes in Unconstitutional...but not in the eyes of the current Supreme Court.

---------

Jefferson was right....and it really doesn't matter how the court lines up ideologically or not....as it can easily swing both ways.

Conservatives are always complaining about judicial activism...but they rush to defend and hope the Supreme Court ends Obamacare....not because it's constitutional or not...but simply because they don't like it.

The crazies thing of all....Jefferson was not a Republican as we know them today. Federalists were the Republicans of his time.

He was actually part of the Democratic-Republican Party...which ultimately dropped the Republican from the name.
edit on 4-4-2012 by David9176 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:23 PM
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There needs to be something that checks and balances the supreme court. Like, I don't know, maybe the people. Most people would shoot down the recent strip search ruling. And the corporations are people ruling.

This wouldn't lead to mob rule because of the amount of the small amount of cases they actually vote upon.






edit on 4-4-2012 by RealSpoke because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:35 PM
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reply to post by RealSpoke
 





There needs to be something that checks and balances the supreme court.


I agree...the only way to change a Supreme court ruling is with different sitting Justices (which literally takes years or decades) or Constitutional amendment.

Some people will vote for Obama's re-election not because they like him, but because he will make any appointee to the Supreme Court for another 4 years. That's a thin line.

As it currently sits, there are 5 conservatives and 4 liberals on the court. Should a conservative justice retire or have something else happen to him...the Supreme Court would tilt to the left.

If that happened, the same people who are defending the supreme court would be trashing it because they are deciding constitutional law NOT based on their own beliefs.
edit on 4-4-2012 by David9176 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:38 PM
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The problem I have always had with the supreme court... How can one expect the federal government to be the sole decider to the limits of its powers?

Seriously? Think about it, how in the world is that a good idea? When you want to limit the power of something or someone you don't let them decide how to interpret those limits.

It is so ridiculous and honestly, it is quite easy to see that is why we are in the trouble we are today. With the constitution basically being a blank piece of paper, the government can justify any act it does with broad and easily verified, incorrect interpretations.

Thomas Jefferson proposed nullification, I think that is a great idea. More should get on board the nullification train.


The constitution was written in a way that all could understand its meaning, with the text from the ratifying conventions as the guide explaining it all in more detail. The reason none in government were chosen to interpret it was because they never dreamed it could possibly be misinterpreted. You do not need a constitutional law degree to understand it, you only need that to distort its meanings.

As far as this healthcare bill goes, which is the underlying topic of this thread, Jefferson would be rolling in his grave knowing that his actions, thoughts and words were being used to defend obamacare.

"If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson...

Jefferson, I am quite sure he would be very opposed to this federal government power grab.


edit on 4-4-2012 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:45 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.



reply to post by RealSpoke
 


While the only real “check and balance” on the decision making process of the Supreme Court is one of selection – the president selects the Supreme Court Justice – I would have to agree that one might consider that this is inadequate. Of course, one could also say that this is quite enough. I would suppose it depends upon whether or not you agree with the decisions of the Court!

Another check and balance on the Supreme Court really lies in the hands of the Congress and/or State Legislatures. It's the back door , so to speak, of “correcting” Supreme Court decision making. This Check or Balance lies either with the Congress or with the State Legislatures: Amend the Constitution! This is a two part-part process. First, an amendment to the constitution must be agreed upon by 2/3's of both Houses of Congress or through a Constitution Convention that must be called by a 2/3 majority of State Legislatures. After the a proposed Constitutional Amendment has been approved by either of the aforementioned procedures, the proposed Amendment must then be ratified.

To ratify a Constitutional Amendment, 3/4 of the State Legislatures must ratify the Amendment . extra DIV



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:47 PM
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the problem with the SCOTUS is that they have partisan views.
the SCOTUS is supposed to simply look at something and ruthlessly decide if it is consitutional or not, and not try to bend things...

The fact that there is a divide in the votes shows that partisan politics now runs the scotus and we should demand all of them to simply be fired immeidately..every last one of them, then find someone whom knows the constitution inside and out and has absolutely no care about one side or another...frankly, it makes no sense that there is a divide on anything..a single judge going against the rest means something is very wrong going on..and either that judge has lost their mind, or well..something is up. They should go back into a room and forced to sit in that room until everything they judge on is unanimous. there is no gray area...

And if it takes them a day, a week, a month, a year, a century...doesn't matter..sit back there and discuss with each other until there is a unanimous decision. deciding the constitutionality of something should be as clear as reading a simple answer to a question on jeopardy...no hair splitting necessary, nor different angles.

And if the constitution and amendments dont fit the desired results of the majority...add an amendment.



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by benevolent tyrant
 





While the only real “check and balance” on the decision making process of the Supreme Court is one of selection – the president selects the Supreme Court Justice – I would have to agree that one might consider that this is inadequate. Of course, one could also say that this is quite enough. I would suppose it depends upon whether or not you agree with the decisions of the Court!


"Term limits" (or something to that effect) on the Supreme court. They literally stay on the court till they die...unless another President of their own ideology is currently in office.

That would certainly shake things up a bit eh?
edit on 4-4-2012 by David9176 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by David9176
reply to post by Ghost375
 





Lol, you know this letter means Obama's latest speech actually agrees with Thomas Jefferson, right?


Yes I do...the Supreme Court itself is being UNCONSTITUTIONAL for deciding what is Constitutional or not....in the eyes of Thomas Jefferson that is...a man who actually helped frame it!



I hope that is their arguement to the 5th. That would be fun to watch.



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 04:31 PM
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reply to post by RealSpoke
 





There needs to be something that checks and balances the supreme court. Like, I don't know, maybe the people.


There is. Look into nullification. It is the way that the Supreme Court is held in check, unfortunately, the power centrist that run the country and prefer, obviously, centrally controlled power held by the federal government have convinced everybody it is a dirty word or an idea held only by crazies.

It is not and has been used throughout the history of the USA.

More Info On Nullification



edit on 4-4-2012 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 07:07 PM
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Originally posted by navy_vet_stg3
I think we should just make it official, and just name Obama our Dictator. Why should we have Congress or the Supreme Court? It would be much easier if we let Dear Leader decide.


If I recall, Congress passed the bill first...



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 07:11 PM
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Man, it would certainly be dick if the Supreme court is all conservative
all the time...

I can only imagine when corporations have no restraints placed upon their
attempts to control America and it's individuals with legal ease and contracts.

You cannot use our internet if you don't buy our insurance and our sister companies
electricity.



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 11:32 PM
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Originally posted by braindeadconservatives
If I recall, Congress passed the bill first...

Yes, they did. Now, the Supreme Court gets to see if it's Constitutional to force the citizens of this country to buy a product form the federal government.

The Congress statement was about Obama saying that if Congress wouldn't act, he would (paraphrasing).

Apparently, you have a problem with the 3 branches of government? Should we only have 2? Maybe 1?


Originally posted by braindeadconservatives
I can only imagine when corporations have no restraints placed upon their
attempts to control America and it's individuals with legal ease and contracts.

Would that really be any worse than the following statement?

"I can only imagine when the federal government no restraints placed upon their
attempts to control America and it's individuals with legal ease and contracts."

I don't really see much difference. It all ends the same...slavery.


edit on 4-4-2012 by navy_vet_stg3 because: (no reason given)




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