Tag

U.S. Supreme Court

The judicial branch of the United States government, as set out by Article 3 of the Constitution.

John Rutledge's motion was to remove the words "passed by the legislature" and add "and treaties made or which shall be made under their authority" in Article XI, section 3.  

It would now read "The Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall extend to all cases under this Constitution and the laws of the United States and treaties made or which shall be made under their authority."

As Julius Goebel, Jr. argues, by removing the words "passed by the legislature" it "opened the door to a substantial accretion of magisterial authority by the removal of the limitation to enactments."  In essence, the range of law for the Supreme Court to review just got larger.  
Annotated by bacraig on October 17, 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
Nathaniel Gorham presented his reasoning behind his resolution to have the executive appoint judges and then the Senate would confirm them.  Gorham was a supporter of a strong national government, and he did not approve the Senate choosing judges.  On July 5, the Gerry Committee supported the idea that the states would get an equal vote, and the delegates passed it two days later.  In response, Gorham felt he needed to remove the nomination process out of the narrow interests of the states.
Annotated by bacraig on September 23, 2014
In response to the delegates stripping away the power of the national judiciary from piracy and felonies on the high seas on June 12, Edmund Randolph and James Madison introduced this resolution.

The phrase "involve the national peace and harmony," which was in the Virginia Plan, was readily agreed to by the delegates.  This vague phrase could encompass much and thus it was a clear expansion of jurisdiction for the national judiciary. 
Annotated by bacraig on September 22, 2014
This alteration and the one previous (no. 513) was a way to return more power to state courts.
Annotated by bacraig on September 22, 2014
What was the reason behind the difference between Rutledge's earlier motion that expunged the clause establishing inferior courts and Madison and Wilson's motion to have the legislature appoint an inferior court all in one day?

It could be the fact that delegates were willing to entertain the idea of the legislature deciding whether an inferior court system was needed, rather than establishing one in the constitution.

Most delegates were aware that Congress appointed state judges for piracy and high seas felonies, but established a Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture. 
Annotated by bacraig on September 19, 2014
By removing the clause of creating inferior courts and using state courts, John Rutledge of South Carolina was looking for a way to get state participation in the national government.  He also felt it would be easier to use an existing system rather than creating a whole new layer.
Annotated by bacraig on September 19, 2014
Delegate Benjamin Franklin proposed this unique solution as a stalemate began to develop over how to choose judges.  This might have worked in early history, but in modern America, it would be nearly impossible to gather the country's lawyers together to appoint members of the high court.  His idea was politely turned down as James Madison moved on to stress the need for senators to pick judicial nominees.

The closest situation is the American Bar Associations' (ABA) assessment of each U.S. Supreme Court nominee.  In 1948, the Senate Judiciary Committee began accepting these assessments and the president followed suit not long afterwards.

The 1987 failed nomination of Robert Bork brought controversy to the ABA evaluations.  Ten members of the Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary gave Judge Bork a "well qualified," but four voted "not qualified,"  which was unusual.  In 1997, the Senate Judiciary Committee stopped officially using the ABA's evaluations as part of their process because they felt it was too biased, and President George W. Bush severed the ABA's role in pre-screening nominees, as well.  The ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary still issues its evaluations and presents it to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Annotated by bacraig on September 18, 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