Tag

judicial branch

Refers to the court system as outlined by Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution.

Along with many delegates at the convention, Charles Pinckney's opposition to the motion for executive appointment of judges was most likely rooted in his colonial experience of King George III and the royal governors.  Both the king and the governors used the appointment power as a patronage system and as a way to influence the legislature.  
Annotated by bacraig on November 06, 2014
Benjamin Franklin favored a more direct democracy, and Charles Pinckney's motion to require members of three branches of government to have property in order to hold office did not suite Franklin.  His simple statement that "some of the greatest rogues I was ever acquainted with, were the richest rogues" might have garned a laugh, but his overall argument proved effective.  Pinckney's motion was rejected.
Annotated by bacraig on October 23, 2014
This is a second attempt by Elbridge Gerry to add trial by jury for civil cases at the end of Article 3, section 2, which discussed judicial power, and it was another attempt to include individual rights into the constitution.  However, the motion was rejected.

This motion was part of the debate whether to enumerate the rights of the people, and in the end, Gerry would not sign the new constitution because he felt there were insufficient protections.  However, this motion would be part of Article 10 in the Bill of Rights.
Annotated by bacraig on October 22, 2014
The Committee of Style altered the first sentence of section 1, which changed the standing of the inferior courts.

The original sentence was: "The Judicial Power of the United States both in law and equity shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such Inferior Courts as shall, when necessary, from time to time, be constituted by the Legislature of the United States."

It now said: "The judicial power of the United States, both in law and equity, shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."

The inferior courts were now linked to the national level and not to the existing state courts.  As Supreme Court scholar Julius Goebel, Jr. argues, the new words "...function was to assure that federal inferior courts must be created, and further that designation of state tribunals would not do."

Also, "may from time to time ordain and establish" gave Congress the flexibility to reform the inferior courts when needed over time.
Annotated by bacraig on October 21, 2014
Edmund Randolph called for a second convention to fix the major issues he had with the present draft of the constitution.  On the legal side, one of his complaints was "on the want of a more definite boundary between the General and State Judiciaries."  

However, Randolph did not express any solutions to this problem, and he had opportunities, because he served on the Committee of Detail.  His motion was tabled.
Annotated by bacraig on October 20, 2014
William Samuel Johnson made this important motion, which the convention passed unanimously.  The sentence now read, "the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall extend to all cases under this Constitution and the laws passed by the legislature..."

Now it was clear that the Supreme Court would be the arbiter of the new constitution.
Annotated by bacraig on October 16, 2014
Resolution 9 that would establish a national judiciary and inferior courts departed from system that operated under the Articles of Confederation. 

There had been growing conflict between the states and the Congress of the Confederation dealing with maritime prizes (captured ships).  In 1780, the Continental Congress officially set up the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, which by its name, had limited authority.  In 1781, James Madison offered a resolution to further expand court locations and codify some court procedures.

The issue of western lands also gave the Congress of the Confederation opportunities to create commissions to hear states grievances, but they were ad hoc.

It would prove difficult to overcome the state-favored bias that Resolution 9 tried to break.
Annotated by bacraig on October 01, 2014
This is another attempt by Madison to support a council of revision that would be made up of judges and the executive to veto laws passed by the legislature.Madison's inspiration was New York's Council of Revision that existed from 1777-1821.  It consisted of the governor, chancellor, and supreme court that reviewed bills before and after they passed the legislature.  If the council felt the law was improper, then the legislature would need two-thirds of the vote to override. 

Madison wrote to Caleb Wallace in 1785 about this council: "As a further security against fluctuating & indegested [sic] laws the Constitution of New York has provided a Council of Revision.  I approve much of such an institution & believe it is considerd [sic] by the most intelligent citizens of that state as a valuable safeguard both to public interest & to private rights."

Madison's close friend, Thomas Jefferson, also supported the idea of a council of revision.  In Paris in August 1789 at time of the French Revolution, he told James Madison that the French had begun to write their declaration of rights.  Jefferson wrote, "This you will readily perceive is a mere council of revision like that of New York, which, in order to be something, must form an alliance with the king, to avail themselves of his veto.  The alliance will be useful to both & to the nation."

See Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, August 28, 1789, PTJ, 15:365.
Annotated by bacraig on July 22, 2014
In history, there has been one sitting U.S. Representative and six sitting Senators who became members of the Supreme Court.  The most famous was Hugo Black (D-AL), appointed by Franklin Roosevelt.
Annotated by bacraig on June 09, 2014