Pro Logica

August 16, 2010

Alan Keyes and Constitutional Interpretation

Filed under: Interpretation, U. S. Constitution, U. S. Government — Tags: , , — Ron Toczek @ 10:41 am

WND has posted an article by Alan Keyes wherein he asserts that the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in all cases involving the separate states of the United States.  The citation in the article appears

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. 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. (U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 2)

From this he reasons that the federal circuit court is an inferior court and as such it does not have jurisdiction over the Arizona Immigration Law dispute.  He discounts arguments by other scholars citing their the opposite conclusion but gives no details of their arguments.

On the surface his argument sounds good but it is totally inaccurate.

First, he has misquoted the U. S. Constitution by using a capital “S” in the double occurrence of the word “Supreme”.  The actual occurrence is “supreme Court”.  By using the capital “S” he gives the impression that the Constitution actually refers to the existing body of nine justices constituting what we now call the “Supreme Court”.  This existing body along with its circuit and appellate courts has been authorized by Congressional law as the official structure of the judicial branch or supreme Court, its alternate name.

Second, Article III of the Constitution does not even hint of any actual structure of the judicial branch leaving this aspect  to  the control of Congress.

An inferior court is therefore any court established by Congress that operates outside of the federal court system, two examples of which are the military court system and the NLRB, but not the circuit and appellate courts.

I rest my case.

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