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The US Supreme Court

Rich2018

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What is the role of the US Supreme Court ?


The 9 SC Justices that make up the SC pass rulings to determine what is the law when lower courts cannot or their ruling(s) are challenged.

According to the web page of the US Supreme Court, it interprets the US Constitution:


"...The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution..."


https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/about.aspx


However is this correct, if the US Constitution doesn't specifically state that the SC is to interpret the Constitution, does the SC have any business doing it ?




It has been stated that "The Supreme Court has no such power (to interpret the Constitution). Show me (using the Constitution) where the Constitution grants the Supreme Court power to interpret it..."


Is this viewpoint valid ?
 

Beaudreaux

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What is the role of the US Supreme Court ?


The 9 SC Justices that make up the SC pass rulings to determine what is the law when lower courts cannot or their ruling(s) are challenged.

According to the web page of the US Supreme Court, it interprets the US Constitution:


"...The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution..."


https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/about.aspx


However is this correct, if the US Constitution doesn't specifically state that the SC is to interpret the Constitution, does the SC have any business doing it ?




It has been stated that "The Supreme Court has no such power (to interpret the Constitution). Show me (using the Constitution) where the Constitution grants the Supreme Court power to interpret it..."


Is this viewpoint valid ?

Read this as a very basic explanation: Marbury v. Madison
 

Beaudreaux

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So the Supreme Court DOES have the power to interpret the Constitution ?

Did you read the information in the link? Because although I could answer with a simple yes, its actually more nuanced than just single word answer.
 

Harshaw

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What is the role of the US Supreme Court ?


The 9 SC Justices that make up the SC pass rulings to determine what is the law when lower courts cannot or their ruling(s) are challenged.

According to the web page of the US Supreme Court, it interprets the US Constitution:


"...The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution..."


https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/about.aspx


However is this correct, if the US Constitution doesn't specifically state that the SC is to interpret the Constitution, does the SC have any business doing it ?




It has been stated that "The Supreme Court has no such power (to interpret the Constitution). Show me (using the Constitution) where the Constitution grants the Supreme Court power to interpret it..."


Is this viewpoint valid ?

Read this as a very basic explanation: Marbury v. Madison

So the Supreme Court DOES have the power to interpret the Constitution ?


Where are you planning to go with this? Should probably just cut to it.
 

Chomsky

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So the Supreme Court DOES have the power to interpret the Constitution ?
In a nutshell, the key point in Marbury is:

Is the Constitution "Law"? Or, is it "Principles & Ideals"?

If the Constitution is law, it follows that SCOTUS has the power of Judicial Review.
 

Beaudreaux

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In a nutshell, the key point in Marbury is:

Is the Constitution "Law"? Or, is it "Principles & Ideals"?

If the Constitution is law, it follows that SCOTUS has the power of Judicial Review.

giphy.gif
 

JANFU

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In a nutshell, the key point in Marbury is:

Is the Constitution "Law"? Or, is it "Principles & Ideals"?

If the Constitution is law, it follows that SCOTUS has the power of Judicial Review.

I particularly like this. It is seen and practiced by the Court to this day.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marbury_v._Madison
[Marbury v. Madison] is a masterwork of indirection, a brilliant example of Marshall's capacity to sidestep danger while seeming to court it. [...] The danger of a head-on clash with the Jeffersonians was averted by the denial of jurisdiction: but, at the same time, the declaration that the commission was illegally withheld scotched any impression that the Court condoned the administration's behavior. These negative maneuvers were artful achievements in their own right. But the touch of genius is evident when Marshall, not content with having rescued a bad situation, seizes the occasion to set forth the doctrine of judicial review. It is easy for us to see in retrospect that the occasion was golden, [...] but only a judge of Marshall's discernment could have recognized it.
 

Chomsky

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It's really not that difficult of a concept.

Now the Court determining,

"it is law because since it is law we determined it is law",

was a pretty slick move!

:thumbs:
 

Rich2018

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In a nutshell, the key point in Marbury is:

Is the Constitution "Law"? Or, is it "Principles & Ideals"?

If the Constitution is law, it follows that SCOTUS has the power of Judicial Review.


And if the Constitution isn't clear or a situation arises where a lower court's ruling is legally challenged.

The SC interprets the Constitution. Judicial Review = An Interpretation of the meaning of the Constitution yes ?


For instance, did not the SC interpret the 1st amendment to mean Larry Flynt had the right to publish pornography ?
 

JANFU

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And that is why many law related entities like law schools, legal societies, etc., are called:

"John Marshall"

:mrgreen:
Did not know that. He earned it. Brilliant man
 

cpwill

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So the Supreme Court DOES have the power to interpret the Constitution ?

All three branches have the power (and the requirement) to interpret the Constitution.

I realize this may seem quaint to us now, but, once upon a time, Congress actually asked itself whether such-and-such legislation was Constitutional, with the presumption that it should be voted down if it wasn't. President's, too, upon a time, refused to take action that was perceived as beyond the Constitutional role allotted them or the Federal Government....


now, everyone just waits for one portion of one branch (SCOTUS) to tell us what to think and solve all our political dilemmas.
 

TurtleDude

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All three branches have the power (and the requirement) to interpret the Constitution.

I realize this may seem quaint to us now, but, once upon a time, Congress actually asked itself whether such-and-such legislation was Constitutional, with the presumption that it should be voted down if it wasn't. President's, too, upon a time, refused to take action that was perceived as beyond the Constitutional role allotted them or the Federal Government....


now, everyone just waits for one portion of one branch (SCOTUS) to tell us what to think and solve all our political dilemmas.

excellent point-many current scholars note that the legislative branch has abdicated some of its responsibilities and that has forced the Supreme court and lower courts to act in areas it shouldn't.
 

Rich2018

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excellent point-many current scholars note that the legislative branch has abdicated some of its responsibilities and that has forced the Supreme court and lower courts to act in areas it shouldn't.


SCOTUS doesn't define their own powers, the US Constitution does...

"Judicial Power", as mentioned in Article III isn't mentioning any specific powers. It is merely constructing the foundation of the judiciary (as one supreme court and [if desired] other inferior courts).

Again, WHERE in the CONSTITUTION does it state that SCOTUS was granted the power of interpreting the Constitution?

I am not the one making these claims... this is what the US Constitution says... The US Constitution is the proper authority here, NOT me, NOT you, NOT SCOTUS...
 

Jon Fredersen

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So the Supreme Court DOES have the power to interpret the Constitution ?

Marbury v. Madison, as Beaudreaux pointed out. The Supreme Court, clearly DOES have that power, inherent in it's Constitutionally specified role.


Statutes, let alone a Constitution, obviously never had and never will have every detail spelled out to "settle" every case that can conceivably be brought before it.

Thus, every court, at every level, must and does "interpret" the law in every case brought before it. Does the law apply? How does the law apply? What outcome does the law require? And, so on.

These are not easy questions. And, they are made even more challenging because people don't necessarily agree on the precise meaning of words and phrases and author's intent. Not when it comes to simple statements. Not when it comes to the most detailed and precise explanations. And, not over time as meanings and usage in language can, sometimes, subtly or radically change. A simple sentence, written in the 18th Century, might very well have on its face, profound or subtly different meaning if written in the 19th or 20th or 21st Centuries. And, even the most subtle change in meaning can profoundly alter the outcome the application of the statute in the 21st Century, vice the 18th.

Statutes, and constitutions, can only provide so much guidance, only so many clues, to any court as to the answer to those questions. So, in every case a court turns to it's own history of decisions, and to the decisions of other courts, in applying it's own "interpretation" of a law.

That is recognized in the Constitution with the establishment of the Supreme Court. It is clearly established as the "ultimate" authority among the Courts which the Constitution mandates. An inferior court firsts, usually, turns to the SC. Not finding conclusive guidance, it turns to any intermediate courts above it on the direct line. Not finding answers there, it turns to intermediate courts on parallel lines to the SC. Etc.

And, while the other branches of government do and can have their own interpretation, the Constitution spells out the only way their interpretation can "trump" that of the Supreme Court. And, not with an unhinged and ranting tweet from "Trump." But, through changing the laws or changing the Constitution. "Fix" the wording to clarify the meaning to comport with what the Court has identified as the problem in achieving the outcome to be achieved by the statute.
 

gfm7175

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What is the role of the US Supreme Court ?
See Article 3 of the US Constitution...

The 9 SC Justices that make up the SC pass rulings to determine what is the law when lower courts cannot or their ruling(s) are challenged.
They don't determine what is the law... Laws are passed by Congress, not by SCOTUS. SCOTUS makes rulings based on the text, using the word meanings that were used at the time the text was ratified.

According to the web page of the US Supreme Court, it interprets the US Constitution:

"...The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution..."

https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/about.aspx
False Authority Fallacy. SCOTUS doesn't determine what their powers are. Rather, the US Constitution does, and it is the proper authority in this case. The US Constitution does NOT give SCOTUS the power of interpreting the US Constitution...

However is this correct, if the US Constitution doesn't specifically state that the SC is to interpret the Constitution, does the SC have any business doing it ?
Nope, SCOTUS (under the US Constitution) has no business doing it.

It has been stated that "The Supreme Court has no such power (to interpret the Constitution). Show me (using the Constitution) where the Constitution grants the Supreme Court power to interpret it..."

Is this viewpoint valid ?

If one is to abide by the US Constitution, then yes, that is a very valid viewpoint. The powers of SCOTUS derive from the US Constitution, and SCOTUS is as bound to it as any other branch of government is, so yes, if they actually do have interpretive powers, then those powers should be easily recognizable in the text of the US Constitution...

Those powers aren't there. If they are, show me where they are...
 

gfm7175

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Read this as a very basic explanation: Marbury v. Madison

False Authority Fallacy... Wikipedia is not the authority in this case; the US Constitution is, and nowhere does the US Constitution grant SCOTUS the power to interpret the Constitution.

Marbury v. Madison was essentially SCOTUS giving themselves a power of which the US Constitution never granted to them. SCOTUS overstepped their bounds.
 

gfm7175

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Did you read the information in the link?
Nope. For starters, Wikipedia is an awful source, full of misinformation and incompleteness, and it can be edited by anyone... I don't accept it as a valid source of anything. I typically dismiss Wikipedia links on sight, especially if one is committing the False Authority Fallacy with them, like you are doing.

Also, I don't engage in 'holy link wars'... I typically don't respond to links because using links as your argument amounts to you making use of the arguments of others (which is intellectual laziness in my book). I will typically only engage your own arguments.

Because although I could answer with a simple yes, its actually more nuanced than just single word answer.
It really isn't nuanced at all... The US Constitution is very clear about what the role of SCOTUS is, and "interpreting the US Constitution" is NOT one of those roles... SCOTUS unconstitutionally granted themselves that power through Marbury v. Madison...
 

gfm7175

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Bedrock of the US Judicial System.
Nope, that would be the US Constitution...

Read about that on a number of occasions, always good to see it brought up.
I'd much rather see the US Constitution brought up, since... you know... it is "merely" the governing document of our Federated Republic...
 

gfm7175

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All three branches have the power (and the requirement) to interpret the Constitution.

I realize this may seem quaint to us now, but, once upon a time, Congress actually asked itself whether such-and-such legislation was Constitutional, with the presumption that it should be voted down if it wasn't. President's, too, upon a time, refused to take action that was perceived as beyond the Constitutional role allotted them or the Federal Government....


now, everyone just waits for one portion of one branch (SCOTUS) to tell us what to think and solve all our political dilemmas.

Absolutely correct... Also remember that it still goes beyond just the three branches of government "keeping each other in check"... We, as citizens, even have the duty to interpret it and to hold the three branches of government accountable to it...

It's sad to see that the majority of people (and the other branches of government) just auto-default to SCOTUS as if they are the nine Oligarchical rulers of our country...
 

gfm7175

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TurtleDude said:

SCOTUS doesn't define their own powers, the US Constitution does...

"Judicial Power", as mentioned in Article III isn't mentioning any specific powers. It is merely constructing the foundation of the judiciary (as one supreme court and [if desired] other inferior courts).

Again, WHERE in the CONSTITUTION does it state that SCOTUS was granted the power of interpreting the Constitution?

I am not the one making these claims... this is what the US Constitution says... The US Constitution is the proper authority here, NOT me, NOT you, NOT SCOTUS...

TurtleDude did not make those arguments. Those are MY arguments... TurtleDude is his own person, and he might not agree with the arguments that I have made.
 

Harshaw

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SCOTUS doesn't define their own powers, the US Constitution does...

"Judicial Power", as mentioned in Article III isn't mentioning any specific powers. It is merely constructing the foundation of the judiciary (as one supreme court and [if desired] other inferior courts).

Again, WHERE in the CONSTITUTION does it state that SCOTUS was granted the power of interpreting the Constitution?

I am not the one making these claims... this is what the US Constitution says... The US Constitution is the proper authority here, NOT me, NOT you, NOT SCOTUS...

Do you have a point you would like to make?

If so, make it.
 
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