Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 23, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

WINGNUTS UNITE!....Article 3, Section 2 of the United States constitution outlines the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court:

....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.

This section of the constitution is beloved of wingnuts everywhere who dream of stripping the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over a wide range of pet issues: abortion, Jim Crow, school prayer, you name it. Pass a law that includes an Article 3, Section 2 exemption, and bingo! The Supreme Court can't declare it unconstitutional. At any given time, there are usually at least half a dozen Article 3, Section 2 bills languishing in various committees.

Normally that's exactly where they stay, because cooler heads even those who basically agree with the wingnuts realize that opening this particular Pandora's Box is a very, very bad idea. After all, once you exempt one thing, where will it stop? You'd be starting a Niagara sized pissing contest.

(Plus there's no telling if the Supreme Court would recognize such an exemption anyway, since it would effectively do away with judicial review.)

Still, the wingnuts keep dreaming, and on Thursday their dream came slightly closer to reality: by a vote of 233-194 the House voted to strip all federal courts of jurisdiction over gay marriage.

Yep, they can't pass a constitutional amendment, so now they're on to the next best thing: their beloved Article 3, Section 2. Andrew Sullivan is already on it.

UPDATE: The roll call vote is here. How did your representative vote?

Kevin Drum 12:34 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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