Slate has an interesting article
how the US Congress is ignoring its Legislative responsibilities to pass constitutional laws and instead is passing unconstitutional ones with the knowledge that the US Supreme Court will strike them down.
From the article;
Last week, we watched as several senators voted for a bill redefining the treatment, detention, and trials of enemy combatants, even as they expressed doubts as to its constitutionality. The bill setting up military tribunals for enemy combatants, among other constitutional infirmities, contains a provision stripping courts of their power to review the constitutionality of the detentions. This provision, which suspends the writ of habeas corpus for current and future detainees, was contested by a number of senators, but the amendment that sought to excise it from the final bill failed by a vote of 51-49.
Before that amendment was rejected, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, announced, "I'm not going to support a bill that's blatantly unconstitutional ... that suspends a right that goes back to [the Magna Carta in] 1215." He added, "I'd be willing, in the interest of party loyalty, to turn the clock back 500 years, but 800 years goes too far."
Specter's justification for then voting for a bill he deemed unconstitutional? "Congress could have done it right and didn't, but the next line of defense is the court, and I think the court will clean it up."
There is some irony in this congressional willingness to see the courts as some kind of constitutional chambermaid--as an entity that exists to clean up after Congress smashes up the room. It is especially ironic when it's articulated by members of Congress who like to invoke judicial restraint as a constitutional value. But it is beyond ironic, and approaching parody, when Congress asks the court to clean up a bill it knows to be unconstitutional, when the bill itself includes a court-stripping provision.
The ongoing popular debates about the terms and parameters of "judicial activism" or "restraint" really have to be understood in institutional terms. Congress behaves strategically. When it is convenient, members of Congress will praise and advocate judicial restraint, and when it is not, they will rely on "activist" judicial intervention. Sen. Specter's argument during the Roberts and Alito hearings bears this out. Specter was distressed not that the court was too activist in striking down acts of Congress, but that it was too activist in striking down the wrong acts of Congress. Yet this judicial backstop serves Specter's goals when he is unwilling to make the call himself.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with any given view of what the Constitution requires, the strategic use of the court reduces accountability, it corrupts the lawmaking process, and it is deeply cynical. Lawmakers should take their constitutional obligations seriously. And if they do not take their own obligations seriously, then they have no right to criticize the judicial branch when it does.
Should the Supreme Court bail out Congress for the unconstitutional provisions of the new detainee legislation? Once again, it has no choice. But the real question is whether the public should bail them out. We can always choose not to.
Most Popular on South Sea Republic
The articles that have been viewed the most:
Most Popular Restaurants in Phoenix
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Most Popular Hikes in Arizona
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Alternate Australian Constitutions
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
Archives For South Sea Republic
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
Who Is Cam Riley
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.
Websites Worth Reading
Websites of friends, colleagues and of interest;