STATE SOVEREIGNTY: Do States Have the Right to Bring Cases Directly to the Supreme Court?

           By Diane Rufino

In this current climate of growing government and encroachment on States’ rights, especially regarding such high profile issues as national healthcare and immigration, the States are facing an assault on their sovereignty.  On matters of critical concern to their people, their safety, their commerce, their identity, and their economies, the States are forced to take their chances with the courts, and most often these days, the courts are stacked with liberal judges who favor a powerful central government, in contradiction to the plain meaning and intent of the US Constitution.

Must states take their chances with lower courts?  Must they be bound by their decisions?  The answer lies in our Constitution.

In 1787, our Founders debated and discussed what kind of government would best protect the fundamental liberties granted by our Creator. In debating whether a democracy or a republic would be best, they favored a republic which would result in a well-reasoned, patient government that would prevent the oppression to the minority that results from mob rule and the depravity and despotism inherent in man that will invariably cause people to destroy and devour one another. Our Founders also understood that a republican form of government is best served when power is shared between the sovereign states (which are closest to the people) and the federal government (charged with serving those interests that are truly national). In Federalist No. 45, James Madison wrote about the sharing of power between the states and the federal government as follows: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and property of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state.”

In short, the newly-drafted Constitution was a simple document of limited and clearly-defined powers assigned to the federal government from the States and the people themselves, for the behalf of the people.  And specifically, those limited powers were intended for the security of the nation as a whole and for protection of those inherently fundamental rights that define us as human beings of worth and not as subjects.

The delegates left the Convention in 1787 and returned home, knowing the real task was still ahead of them – selling their document to the individual states for ratification. Early in the ratification process, the proponents of the Constitution took the name “Federalists.”  Their goal was to correct the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation and that necessarily meant a federal government with centralized functions.  However, the delegates fought hard to retain their state sovereignty and the proposed Constitution clearly left the bulk of power with the states.  Yet there were those who opposed the Constitution as drafted. In fact, three very influential delegates to the Convention refused to sign it, including George Mason. The “anti-Federalists” did not feel that the rights of the States or the individual were properly or sufficiently protected by the document and they were quite vocal about their views.

It was clear at the time that a negative vote by either of two key states — New York or Virginia — could destroy the whole plan for the new Constitution because of their size and power.  Both New York and Virginia delegates were sharply divided in their opinions of the Constitution and New York’s Governor, George Clinton, had already made it known that he opposed its ratification.

In response to the speeches and letters of the Anti-Federalists, and in response to the tenuous situation posed by New York and Virginia, the Federalists wrote their own letters.  Alexander Hamilton of New York, James Madison of Virginia, and John Jay (also of NY) wrote a series of letters under the shared pseudonym “Publius” in which they explained and defended the Constitution.  Their purpose was to persuade the New York convention to ratify the proposed Constitution but even more, they wanted to specifically answer the charges of the Anti-Federalists who were concerned that the new Constitution would take too much power from the states and the people and concentrate them in a central government. Their letters were published “to the people of New York” but were later collected into a volume called The Federalist Papers.  With respect to the authors of The Federalist Papers, whatever their differences, the message was unilateral and clear: survival as a respected nation required the transfer of important, though limited and clearly enumerated, powers to the central government. This would be done without destroying the identity or autonomy of the separate states.

New York and Virginia, and in fact, all thirteen states ratified the Constitution. They ratified it in reliance on its promise to respect state sovereignty (other than the limited powers transferred to the federal government).  As Hamilton acknowledges in Federalist No. 31:  “The State governments, by their original constitutions, are invested with complete sovereignty…..  As in republics, strength is always on the side of the people, and as there are weighty reasons to induce a belief that the State governments will commonly possess most influence over them…   (We must) confine our attention wholly to
the nature and extent of the powers as they are delineated in the Constitution. Everything beyond this must be left to the prudence and firmness of the people; who, as they will hold the scales in their own hands, it is to be hoped, will always take care to preserve the constitutional equilibrium between the general and the State governments.”

Just as parties to a contract must have mutual assent to the documents terms and a promise which causes some form of forbearance as requirements to a valid and binding contract, the States relied on the explanation, motivation, and interpretation of the Constitution in making their decisions to ratify the document drafted in 1787 (with the intention a Bill of Rights would be added) and agreeing to be bound together in a union whereby they would respect the powers divested from their individual sovereign bodies to the federal government.

The Federalist Papers remain to this day the most authoritative commentary on our US Constitution and it is where we look to the intent of our Founders for our new government.  And it is here that all Americans, including our justices and judges, can and should look to the intent for the federal judiciary. As the Supreme Court noted in Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264, 418 (1821), “The opinion of the Federalist has always been considered as of great authority. It is a complete commentary on our Constitution, and is appealed to by all parties in the questions to which that instrument has given birth. Its intrinsic merit entitles it to this high rank, and the part two of its authors performed in framing the Constitution put it very much in their power to explain the views with which it was framed. These essays having been published while the Constitution was before the nation for adoption or rejection, and having been written in answer to objections founded entirely on the extent of its powers, and on its diminution of State sovereignty, are entitled to the more consideration where they frankly avow that the power objected to is given, and defend it.”

Article III, Section 2, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution enumerates the powers delegated to the Judiciary. Very simply and directly, it states:

The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;–between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

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.

Thomas Jefferson gave us very clear guidance as to the intent and words of the Constitution “On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning can be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one which was passed.”

Thanks to The Federalist Papers, written specifically to explain the meaning of the proposed Constitution, we know what our Founders intended when they established the Judiciary branch.  In Federalist No. 82, Alexander Hamilton wrote: ” The Constitution in direct terms gives an appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court in all the enumerated cases of federal cognizance in which it is not to have an original one.”  In Federalist 81, he explained the intent of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction:

These reasons seem sufficient to satisfy a candid mind, that the want of such a power would have been a great defect in the plan. Let us now examine in what manner the judicial authority is to be distributed between the supreme and the inferior courts of the Union. The Supreme Court is to be invested with original jurisdiction, only “in cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, and those in which A STATE shall be a party.” Public ministers of every class are the immediate representatives of their sovereigns. All questions in which they are concerned are so directly connected with the public peace, that, as well for the preservation of this, as out of respect to the sovereignties they represent, it is both expedient and proper that such questions should be submitted in the first instance to the highest judicatory of the nation. Though consuls have not in strictness a diplomatic character, yet as they are the public agents of the nations to which they belong, the same observation is in a great measure applicable to them. In cases in which a State might happen to be a party, it would ill suit its dignity to be turned over to an inferior tribunal……

Let us resume the train of our observations. We have seen that the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court would be confined to two classes of causes, and those of a nature rarely to occur. In all other cases of federal cognizance, the original jurisdiction would appertain to the inferior tribunals; and the Supreme Court would have nothing more than an appellate jurisdiction, “with such EXCEPTIONS and under such REGULATIONS as the Congress shall make.”

And this makes sense.  A state that is respected as a sovereign body gets the attention of the highest court in the land.  Its concerns are worthy of the finest legal minds.  By all accounts, states are also worthy and entitled to legal authority legally bound to apply the Constitution as intended by our Founders, since their assent to the Constitution was based on that intent.  In Texas v. White, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 700, 19L. Ed. 227 (1868), Justice Salmon Chase explained the necessity for the constitutional limitations that prevent concentration of power on either the state or national level: “The preservation of the States, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution, as the preservation of the Union…. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.”

When we talk about the sovereign powers of the States, as was the intention when the Constitution was adopted (just as mutual assent is necessary to bind the parties to a contract), the understanding that the States and People retained the bulk of their sovereign power is the only glue that holds the Constitution binding as a contract.  As Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in Cohens v. Virginia:  “The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will. But this supreme and irresistible power to make or to unmake resides only in the whole body of the people, not in any subdivision of them. The attempt of any of the parts to exercise it is usurpation, and ought to be repelled by those to whom the people have delegated their power of repelling it.”

Implied in the notion of State sovereignty is the concept of deference and due respect.  Article III addresses this by promising that when the State is a party, and especially when it questions or challenges the federal government, the Supreme Court “shall have” original jurisdiction. “All other cases” come to the high court on “appellate” jurisdiction.  Both sentences support each other. The second sentence implies exclusive jurisdiction in the federal court system.

As we know from the Ten Commandments, when God sent his law to the Israelites, when he commanded “Thou shalt not kill,” he did not mean “Thou cannot kill.”  God meant “Thou must not kill.”  Words have meaning, especially in a document intending to have national and binding significance.  Hence, Article III, Section 2, clause 2 instructs that the Supreme Court MUST have original jurisdiction in cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party.  If any such suit is brought to the federal judiciary, the Supreme Court must hear it.

James Madison offers this advice: “Every word of the Constitution decides a question between power and liberty.”  [from his essay published in the National Gazette, Jan. 19, 1792] “Where the meaning of the Constitution is clear and unambiguous, there can be no resort to construction to attribute to the Founders a purpose of intent not manifest in its letter.” Norris v. Baltimore, 172, Md. 667 (1937).

With this in mind, it is difficult to understand why the Supreme Court has refused to acknowledge the “clear and unambiguous” construction of Article III  and has refused to consistently embrace the Marbury precedent.   By doing so, the Court has fashioned for itself the position it truly desires – that of appellate review and the final arbiter on the interpretation and application of law.  Unfortunately, that is not the position the Founders envisioned for the high court.  The Constitutional principle proclaimed by Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury [Congress can neither restrict nor enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court] is the only one that is Constitutionally sound.  All other interpretations are null and void since only a Constitutional amendment could alter the clear words and design of the Constitution.

Again, Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution reads: “……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.

With respect to clause 2 above, the underlined portion is termed a “qualifier.”  This qualifying statement clarifies the sentence to which it belongs, which is the discussion of “appellate jurisdiction.”  It is not attached to the previous sentence which discusses “original jurisdiction.”  Therefore, absent a Constitutional amendment to change the wording of the U.S. Constitution ratified by the States, Congress was given authority to create exceptions and regulations as affecting only “appellate jurisdiction.” Therefore, by a direct reading of the Constitution, those sections of the Judiciary Act that alter the Court’s original jurisdiction are null and void.

Justice John Marshall, in Marbury v. Madison, wrote:

“It has been insisted, at the bar, that as the original grant of jurisdiction, to the supreme and inferior courts, is general, and the clause, assigning original jurisdiction to the supreme court, contains no negative or restrictive words; the power remains to the legislature, to assign original jurisdiction to that court in other cases than those specified in the article which has been recited;  provided those cases belong to the judicial power of the United States.  If it had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the legislature to apportion the judicial power between the Supreme and inferior courts according to the will of that body, it would certainly have been useless to have proceeded further than to have defined the judicial power, and the tribunals in which it should be vested.  The subsequent part of the section is mere surplusage, is entirely without meaning. If Congress remains at liberty to give this court appellate jurisdiction, where the Constitution has declared their jurisdiction shall be original; and original jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be appellate, the distribution of jurisdiction made in the Constitution is form without substance.

Affirmative words are often, in their operation, negative of other objects than those affirmed; and in this case, a negative or exclusive sense must be given to them, or they have no operation at all.

It cannot he presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect; and, therefore, such a construction is inadmissible unless the words require it.

When an instrument organizing fundamentally a judicial system, divides it into one supreme, and so many inferior courts as the legislature may ordain and establish; then enumerates its powers, and proceeds so far to distribute them, as to define the jurisdiction of the supreme court by declaring the cases in which it shall take original jurisdiction, and that in others it shall take appellate jurisdiction; the plain import of the words seems to be, that in one class of cases its jurisdiction is original, and not appellate; in the other it is appellate, and not original. If any other construction would render the clause inoperative, that is an additional reason for rejecting such other construction, and for adhering to their obvious meaning.”

Marbury v. Madison is the landmark Supreme Court case which asked and settled the question of whether an act repugnant to the Constitution can become law or must it be struck down.  The Court concluded that such a law must be struck down.  “Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.”  Thus the courts must adhere strictly to the Constitution.  In fact, the question facing the Court – what happens when a law conflicts with the Constitution  – is the one that allowed Justice Marshall to define a role for the court that was not specifically set out in the Constitution – that of judicial review.

“If then the courts are to regard the Constitution; and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature; the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.”  The questions before the Court were these:  (1) Is Section 13 of the Judiciary Act constitutional?  (2) If Section 13 of the Judiciary Act is unconstitutional, does the Supreme Court have the power to declare it void?  The Court concluded that Section 13 was inconsistent with the Constitution and that it is the duty of the judicial department to strike it down.  “If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.”  Marbury was a rationalization on the part of the Court for seizing a power not granted to the court by the Constitution.  In fact, it might be considered to one of the first attempts by the Supreme Court to usurp States’ rights since, as the creators of the Constitution, the States are the logical arbiters of Constitutionality issues. If the underlying analysis of this decision is no longer respected, then the holding (judicial review) must come into question as well.

Additionally, Justice Marshall emphasized that Justices and judges are bound by the “particular phraseology” and meaning of the Constitution in their analyses.  “Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties agreeably to the Constitution of the United States if that Constitution forms no rule for his government, if  it is closed upon him, and cannot be inspected by him?  If such be the real state of things, this is worse than solemn mockery. To prescribe, or to take this oath, becomes equally a crime.”  [Marbury].  If the federal courts must hold the Executive and Legislative branches to their Constitutional limits, then isn’t it just as incumbent upon the Judiciary to hold itself to its own Constitutional limits.

Furthermore, he also wrote that unconstitutional laws must never be given force because of the supremacy of the Constitution.  “The people have an original right to establish, for their future government, such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce to their own happiness, is the basis, on which the whole American fabric has been erected. The exercise of this original right is a very great exertion; nor can it, nor ought it to be frequently repeated. The principles, therefore, so established, are deemed fundamental. And as the authority, from which they proceed, is supreme, and can seldom act, they are designed to be permanent.”  To permit laws that are inconsistent to the Constitution would subvert the very foundation of the Constitution, which is the protective document for all Americans. The Constitution was the great effort, on the part of the people and for the people, to limit government powers.

For two years now, we have witnessed the parade of horribles that could happen now that the intent of Article III has been undermined and the respect afforded to States has been undermined.  The federal government has made it clear that it intends to disregard its obligation to manage the illegal immigration problem, to the great detriment of American citizens everywhere.  One state, Arizona, has felt the problem more acutely than most others since there is an open border between it and Mexico and violent Illegals are entering Arizona and posing a safety risk for its citizens. When Arizona exercised its sovereign right to control its borders and control what goes on inside those borders,
especially controlling the health, safety, and welfare of its people, the federal government stepped in and slapped it with a lawsuit. The case was filed in a lowly district court.  The district judge sided with Attorney General Eric Holder that Arizona’s immigration bill, S.B. 1070, conflicted with the federal scheme on immigration – which clearly is to do nothing.  Instead, its plan is to allow unfettered access to the United States, our streets, our citizens, and our services. The same happened to Georgia and then to Alabama.  Not only have the states been treated in a manner undignified to their sovereign status, but the lower federal court judges have taken the positions of foreign countries, like Mexico and several countries of South America (many of whom have leaders who are hostile to the US) over the concerns and rights of the states.

The federal government also made it clear that it intends to try to mandate every American to buy health insurance so it can socialize the risks of health care. Not only does the federal government lack the power of human compulsion under the Commerce Clause (ie, the power to compel citizens into such an action against their free will, on the basis of nothing more than simply being an American, or be penalized), but it invades a role traditionally reserved to the states.  The States and several individuals as well have sued, and out of the five lawsuits decided in lower federal court, three judges read an enormously gross expansion of Congressional power into the Commerce Clause in contradiction not only to our Founders but also to the debates and assurances on which the individual States, in their Conventions, relied on to ratify the Constitution.

The people need to know that when their rights and liberties are under attack from the government, their states will defend them.  Sovereign versus sovereign. The people are entitled to this under the US Constitution.  And for that reason, the Supreme Court was the court suited for the stature recognized of a sovereign state.

Here is how it played out.  Florida and 25 other states challenged healthcare on 6 counts. At least 4 of these counts were certainly with merit, from the States’ sovereign point of view. The US Justice Department filed a brief asking the district court judge to dismiss the case entirely for “failing to state a meritorious claim.” So, a lowly district court judge held the power to tell a state, the highest sovereign in the land, whether he felt, in his legal opinion, its beef with the government had merit or not.  Luckily, in this instance, the district court found that on two counts, the States in fact did state a sufficient challenge to the healthcare bill.  However, on his own, Judge Roger Vinson, of the District Court for the Northern District of Florida, decided outright that the States couldn’t challenge the healthcare act on a due process claim (stating that the federal government, through the Individual Mandate, was denying individuals a fundamental right to determine how they wanted to manage their own healthcare). “Healthcare is not a fundamental right,” Judge Vinson wrote, not giving the higher courts the opportunity to make that ultimate decision.

Arizona faced the same precarious situation regarding its huge immigration problem. At the command of Governor Jan Brewer, Arizona passed a broad immigration bill (S.B. 1070), a companion to the federal immigration laws.  As applied, it would have made the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and it would have given the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. The passage of the bill followed the cold-blooded shooting death of a local rancher by illegal drug smugglers.  In fact, Arizona’s illegal immigrant population nearly doubled in less than a decade, with a huge increase in associated illegal violence.  Governor Brewer accused the government of not enforcing federal immigration laws and frustrating local efforts.  To support her accusation, she noted that John Morton, Obama’s head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (under Homeland Security), said his agency would likely not process suspected illegal immigrants referred to it under S.B.1070.  Right after S.B. 1070 passed, on April 23, 2010, US Attorney General Eric Holder quickly challenged the bill in the District Court for the District of Arizona, seeking to have it preliminarily, and then permanently enjoined from enforcement, on the grounds that federal immigration law is supreme and therefore pre-empts local efforts to regulate in that field.  District Judge Susan Bolton sided with the government and struck down the key elements (key enforcement elements) of S.B. 1070.  On April 16 of this year the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision.

In a decision by the most liberal of the federal appellate courts, the Ninth Circuit went as far as to cite the views of anti-American dictators as a justification for holding against S.B.1070. Justice Richard Paez, who wrote the decision, argued that the law has “created actual foreign policy problems.” Among the “problems” he cited was the disapproval of the Mexican government, the United Nations Human Rights commissioners, the government of Bolivia, and the Organization of American States.

To appreciate the misplaced sense of loyalty here, consider two things: (1) Judges take an oath to support the US Constitution and its laws and not to serve the interests of foreign nations; and (2) Justice Paez put the concerns of hostile leaders over the legitimate concerns of States and American citizens – those on the front lines in the immigration battle.  The UN Commission on Human Rights just happens to include such dictatorships such as Cuba and Saudi Arabia.  And the Organization of American States includes such members as Cuba and the socialist dictatorships of Bolivia and Venezuela. The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Cuba for more than fifty years. In 2008, Bolivian President Evo Morales said that all Latin American nations should expel American ambassadors and cheered on a mob who tried to burn down our embassy. He said, “I don’t mind being a permanent nightmare for the United States.”  Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Chavez has spewed so much anti-American rhetoric that even Barack Obama expelled their ambassador just three months ago. Chavez had called Bush the “devil” and Obama “Satan.” So the mere suggestion by Justice Paez that the state law will create “foreign policy problems” is simply preposterous and disingenuous.  Plus, relying on such an argument amounts to judicial activism.

On May 13, Georgia passed its immigration law, House Bill 87 (H.B. 87) and Utah and Indiana followed suit. On June 9, Alabama passed its version of an immigration bill – H.B.65.  H.B. 87 and the measures passed by Utah and Indiana were drafted very similarly to Arizona’s S.B. 1070, but Alabama’s went further.  In fact, it has been called the nation’s toughest immigration law. (Instead of focusing mainly on transportation and employment, the bill would also require landlords to verify the immigration status of those they rent to  and would require schools to verify the citizenship status of students). All of state laws have been challenged by the US Justice Department.

On June 27, a federal district court judge sided with the US government and blocked portions of Georgia’s law.  In his ruling, Judge Thrash asserted that the role of enforcing immigration laws should be left to the federal government.  The government had challenged H.B. 87, as it challenged Arizona’s law, on the theory of federal pre-emption. Judge Thrash sided with civil rights groups and even with the government of Mexico, which filed a brief against the law.  The Anti-Defamation League, together with
Mexico and the governments of several Central and South American countries, filed court papers in support of the government’s position to halt Georgia’s tough new immigration law.  Additionally, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and several other civil and immigrant rights groups together filed a federal class-action lawsuit and requested a judge to halt the measure pending the outcome of their case. These groups alleged that H.B. 87 would establish a  ‘show-me-your-papers’ police state, encourage racial profiling, and would be contrary to traditional American values. In its brief, Mexico argued that the court should halt the law because “H.B. 87 would substantially and inappropriately burden” relations between Mexico and the United States of America.”  As Jeanne DeAngelis wrote in her article, Mexico Sues Georgia Over Immigration Law: “Apparently, Mexico believes that Georgia’s effort to help identify and address illegal perpetrators, gun runners, drug cartels, and banditos who’ve been known to shoot and kill American citizens, border patrol agents, and ICE officials is what burdens country relations between Mexico and the US.”  Mexico said Georgia’s immigration law would interfere “with the strategic diplomatic interests of the two countries and is encouraging an imminent threat of state-sanctioned bias or discrimination.”  Mexico also made the same argument that President Obama made in criticizing Arizona’s immigration law.  He said that S.B.1070 was a “poorly conceived law” that would “try to make it really tough on people who look like illegal immigrants.”

As DeAngelis wrote: “Never before has a judge bowed to the dictates of foreign countries and the insane demands of liberal organizations that are oblivious to the safety and security concerns of America.”

Alabama’s immigration bill has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge while she takes more time to decide whether it is unconstitutional.

A lowly, inferior district court will weigh the facts and make conclusions of law.  Such cases of supreme importance and consequences to a State are then put on an appellate track in which the Supreme Court is not even required to hear them.  The Supreme Court, if it ever gets these immigration and healthcare cases and if it even decides to hear them, will only decide limited issues. In other words, a State is put into the situation where a lowly district court can frustrate its chances to exert its sovereign powers and present a challenge to the government.  States are not afforded the deference they deserve, under the original intent of our federalist system.  This is hardly the status the sovereign states intended to put themselves in by creating the federal government.

Jurisdiction is the power to hear a case and declare the law. It is the power of a court to adjudicate or to exercise any judicial power over the issues that the parties bring before it.  The Supreme Court is one of limited and special original jurisdiction. Its action must be confined to the particular cases, controversies, and parties over which the Constitution and laws have authorized it to act.  Creation of original jurisdiction in inferior courts results in the destruction of original jurisdiction in the Supreme Court. Such puts state cases on an appellate track in which the Supreme Court is not even required to hear the case.  This is hardly the status the sovereign states intended to put themselves in by creating the federal government.

Again, Article III, Section 2, in the same spirit of the rest of the Constitution which constrains the federal government and its branches to those of limited and specifically enumerated powers, lists the intended jurisdiction of the highest court:

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.

In Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 2 L. Ed. 60 (1803),  Chief Justice Marshall addressed the question of whether the Supreme Court had the power to issue a writ of Mandamus, conferring upon Marbury the commission of Justice of the Peace. This question turned on the Court’s jurisdiction. Article III of the U.S. Constitution confers upon the Supreme Court two types of jurisdiction – original and appellate. Original jurisdiction gives courts the power to hear lawsuits from their inception, when a complaint or petition is “originally” filed with the tribunal. Appellate jurisdiction gives courts the power to review decisions that were made by lower courts and have been “appealed” in order to reverse a purported error. Under Article III, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over politically sensitive disputes such as those “affecting ambassadors” or those in which one of the 50 states is named as a party. In all other cases, the Supreme Court retains appellate jurisdiction.

In petitioning the Supreme Court directly for a writ of mandamus, Marbury was asking the Court to invoke its original jurisdiction pursuant to Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which authorized all federal courts to issue such writs “in cases warranted by the principles and usages of law.” Yet Marbury was not an ambassador or state government entitled to have the Supreme Court hear the case under its original jurisdiction. As a consequence, Marshall was of the opinion that Section 13 impermissibly attempted to enlarge the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to include disputes such as those presented by the case, in contravention of the constitutional limitations placed on that jurisdiction by Article III.

However, Marshall suggested that merely because a piece of legislation violates a constitutional principle does not necessarily mean that the legislation is unenforceable. He wrote:  “Whether an act repugnant to the Constitution can become law of the land is a question deeply interesting to the United States.” Observing that the Constitution expressly delegates and limits the powers of Congress, Marshall asked, “To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained?”

Marshall argued that the “distinction between a government with limited and unlimited powers is abolished if those limits do not confine the persons on whom they are imposed, and if acts prohibited and acts allowed are of equal obligation.” Marshall continued:

“It is a proposition too plain to be contested, that the Constitution controls any legislative act repugnant to it; or, that the legislature may alter the Constitution by an ordinary act…. Between these alternatives there is no middle ground. The Constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it… . If the former part of the alternative be true, then a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law: if the latter part be true, then written constitutions are absurd attempts, on the part of the people, to limit a power in its own nature illimitable. [Marbury v. Madison]

For Marshall, the idea that an unconstitutional act of legislature could “bind the courts and oblige them to give it effect” was “an absurdity too gross to be insisted on.”  Thus, Marshall concluded:  “All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void” and cannot be given force by a court of law. [Marbury v. Madison, pp. 174,176].

The current federal jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1251 (Original Jurisdiction), states:

(a) The Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies between two or more States.

(b) The Supreme Court shall have original but not exclusive jurisdiction of:

(1) All actions or proceedings to which ambassadors, other public ministers, consuls, or vice
consuls of foreign states are parties;

(2) All controversies between the United States and a State;

(3) All actions or proceedings by a State against the citizens of another State or against aliens.

28 U.S.C. § 1251 clearly conflicts with the plain wording of Article III, Section 2, clause 2.  For the very same reasoning that the power to issue the writ of mandamus conferring the commission on Marbury was declared unconstitutional, sections of § 1251 equally must fail.  If the Constitution is to be altered, Article V instructs us as to the proper procedure – the amendment process.

Indeed, one of US history’s most important and influential Supreme Court justices, Chief Justice Marshall (1801-1835) – himself one of our Founders, assumed the Court had exclusive jurisdiction of cases within its original jurisdiction.  He understand “original” to also mean “exclusive.”  [See Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cr.) 137, 174 (1803)].  He helped Alexander Hamilton draft Federalist No. 78 (Justices should be appointed for life), and although that particular essay did not exactly address the Court’s jurisdiction, it should be clear that he was part of the discussions on the intent of the federal Judiciary.

The Judiciary Act of 1789, officially titled “An Act to Establish the Judicial Courts of the United States,” was enacted under the first Constitutional Congress and signed into law by President George Washington on September 24, 1789.  Article III of the Constitution established a Supreme Court, but left to Congress the authority to create lower federal courts as needed (Article III, Section 1).  Article III, Section I mentions nothing about the jurisdiction to be assigned to lower courts; only Section 2 addresses this topic.  And Section 2 addresses it indirectly in clause 2 when it states: “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.” So, potentially, jurisdiction to be assigned to the lower courts would include (from clause 1):  all cases, in law and equity, arising under the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties, all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; controversies to which the United States shall be a party; controversies involving citizens of different states; and cases “between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.”

Principally authored by Senator Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut, the Judiciary Act of 1789 established the structure and jurisdiction of the federal court system and created the position of attorney general.  Despite the clear unambiguous language of Article III, Congress went ahead and assigned the inferior federal courts concurrent jurisdiction in some classes of “Article III original jurisdiction” cases through § 13 of the Judiciary Act.

For example, § 13 provides: “And be it further enacted, that the Supreme Court shall have exclusively all such jurisdiction of suits or proceedings against ambassadors, or other public ministers, or their domestics, or domestic servants, as a court of law can have or exercise consistently with the law of nations; and original, but not exclusive jurisdiction of all suits brought by ambassadors, or other public ministers, or in which a consul, or vice consul, shall be a party.”  The first Congress put forth the principle that the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of cases in a consul or vice-consul is a party, is not necessarily exclusive, and that the subordinate courts of the Union may be invested with jurisdiction of cases affecting such representatives of foreign governments. This concurrent jurisdiction was approved by the Supreme Court itself in United States v. Ravara, 2 U.S. 297 (1793). [“The Constitution vests in the Supreme Court an original jurisdiction; in cases like the present, it does not preclude the Legislature from exercising the power of vesting a concurrent jurisdiction, in such inferior Courts, as might by law be established.”]. The transfer of original jurisdiction in § 13 to lower courts is unconstitutional and violates the Supreme Court’s own decision in Marbury that Congress may neither restrict nor enlarge the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction. Such a transfer (whether through the mandamus, as in Marbury, or through the lawsuits filed by ambassadors, or other public ministers, or in which a consul, or vice consul) conflicts with the plain language of the Constitution.  We know that the Constitution is the paramount law of the land because of the Supremacy Clause.  We know that when a law conflicts with the Constitution, judges are bound by the “particular phraseology” and meaning of the Constitution in their analyses. [Justice Marshall in Marbury].  And when such a law conflicts, it is the duty of the federal courts to strike it down.  [Marbury].  Furthermore, we know that judges take a solemn oath which states that judicial officers ” shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution.”   Again, as Marshall concluded in Marbury: “The Constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it… . If the former part of the alternative be true, then a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law: if the latter part be true, then written constitutions are absurd attempts, on the part of the people, to limit a power in its own nature illimitable.”

As explained earlier, Marbury is the case which asked and settled the question of whether an act repugnant to the Constitution can become law or must it be struck down. The Court concluded that such a law must be struck down.  “Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.”  Thus the courts must adhere strictly to the Constitution.  In fact, the question facing the Court – what happens when a law conflicts with the Constitution  – is the one that allowed Justice Marshall to define a role for the court that was not specifically set out in the Constitution – that of judicial review.

“If then the courts are to regard the Constitution; and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature; the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.”  The questions before the Court were these:  (1) Is Section 13 of the Judiciary Act constitutional?  (2) If Section 13 of the Judiciary Act is unconstitutional, does the Supreme Court have the power to declare it void?  The Court concluded that Section 13 was inconsistent with the Constitution and that it is the duty of the judicial department to strike it down.  “If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.”  Marbury was a rationalization on the part of the Court for seizing a power not granted to the court by the Constitution.  In fact, it might be considered to one of the first attempts by the Supreme Court to usurp States’ rights since, as the creators of the Constitution, the States are the logical arbiters of Constitutionality issues. If the underlying analysis of this decision is no longer respected, then the holding (judicial review) must come into question as well.

Furthermore, Justice Marshall in Marbury emphasizes that Justices and judges are bound by the “particular phraseology” and meaning of the Constitution in their analyses.  “Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties agreeably to the Constitution of the United States if that Constitution forms no rule for his government, if  it is closed upon him, and cannot be inspected by him?  If such be the real state of things, this is worse than solemn mockery. To prescribe, or to take this oath, becomes equally a crime.”  If the federal courts must hold the Executive and Legislative branches to their Constitutional limits, then isn’t it just as incumbent upon the Judiciary to hold itself to its own Constitutional limits?

Marshall wrote that unconstitutional laws must never be given force because of the supremacy of the Constitution.  “The people have an original right to establish, for their future government, such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce to their own happiness, is the basis, on which the whole American fabric has been erected.  The exercise of this original right is a very great exertion; nor can it, nor ought it to be frequently repeated. The principles, therefore, so established, are deemed fundamental. And as the authority, from which they proceed, is supreme, and can seldom act, they are designed to be permanent.”  To permit laws that are inconsistent to the Constitution would subvert the very foundation of the Constitution, which is the protective document for all Americans. To that end our Founders gave us Article VI and the Supremacy Clause.

Article VI, clause 2 states:  “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

Article VI, clause 2 reminds the individual States that on those issues and areas which it speaks, the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land.  Article VI, clause 2 therefore reminds the States therefore that their cases can or MUST invoke the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction.

In Marbury v. Madison, the Court held that Congress does not have the power to modify the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction. Consequently, it found § 13 of the Judiciary Act was invalid and unenforceable because it conflicts with the Constitution.  Again, Marshall wrote: “Between these alternatives there is no middle ground. The Constitution is either a superior paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and, like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it.”  In Rhode Island v. Massachusetts, 37 U.S. 657 (1838), the Supreme Court wrote:

The several states of the United States, in their highest sovereign capacity, in the convention of the people thereof, on whom, by the Revolution, the prerogative of the Crown and the transcendent power of Parliament devolved in a plenitude unimpaired by any act and controllable by no authority, adopted the Constitution, by which they respectively made to the United States a grant of judicial power over controversies between two or more states. By the Constitution, it was ordained that this judicial power, in cases where a state was a party, should be exercised by the Supreme Court as one of original jurisdiction. The states waived their exemption from judicial power as sovereigns by original and inherent right by their own grant of its exercise over themselves in such cases, but which they would not grant to any inferior tribunal…..

This Court exists by a direct grant from the people of their judicial power; it is exercised by their authority, as their agent, selected by themselves for the purposes specified. The people of the states, as they respectively become parties to the Constitution, gave to the judicial power of the United States jurisdiction over themselves, controversies between states, between citizens of the same or different states claiming lands under their conflicting grants within disputed territory.   [Rhode Island, at pp. 657-58]

In cases involving a State as a party and involving a federal question, we also look to the case Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264, 6 Wheat 264 (1821) for guidance. Cohens involved an act of Congress which authorized the operation of a lottery in the District of Columbia. The Cohen brothers proceeded to sell D.C. lottery tickets in the state of Virginia, thus violating state law. State authorities tried and convicted the Cohens, and then declared themselves to be the final arbiters of disputes between the states and the national government. The Court looked at jurisdiction in both Article III and in the Judiciary Act of 1789.  Article III instructs:

The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;–between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

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.

Constitutionally, the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction under Clause 2 of Article III and under the Judiciary Act of 1789, from the final judgment or decree of the highest court of law or equity of a state, having jurisdiction of the subject matter of the suit, where is drawn in question the validity of a treaty, or statute of, or an authority exercised under, the United State, and the decision is against their validity.

The question posed to the Court was this:  If a State be a party, the jurisdiction of this Court is original; if the case arise under a Constitution or a law, the jurisdiction is appellate.  But a case to which a State is a party may arise under the Constitution or a law of the United States.  What rule is applicable to such a case?  What, then, becomes the duty of the Court?  As the Court explained, their job would be to “construe the Constitution as to give effect to both provisions, as far as it is possible to reconcile them, and not to permit their seeming repugnancy to destroy each other.  We must endeavor so to construe them as to preserve the true intent and meaning of the instrument.”  [Cohens, pp. 392-393]

The Court reasoned:

“In the case of Marbury v. Madison, the single question before the Court, so far as
that case can be applied to this, was whether the legislature could give this Court original jurisdiction in a case in which the Constitution had clearly not given it, and in which no doubt respecting the construction of the article could possibly be raised. The Court decided, and we think very properly, that the legislature could not give original jurisdiction in such a case. But, in the reasoning of the Court in support of this decision, some expressions are used which go far beyond it. The counsel for Marbury had insisted on the unlimited discretion of the legislature in the apportionment of the judicial power, and it is against this argument that the reasoning of the Court is directed. They say that, if such had been the intention of the article, “it would certainly have been useless to proceed farther than to define the judicial power and the tribunals in which it should be vested.”  The Court says that such a construction would render the clause dividing the jurisdiction of the Court into original and appellate totally useless; that “affirmative words are often, in their
operation, negative of other objects than those which are affirmed; and, in this case a negative or exclusive sense must be given to them or they have no operation at all…….  It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect, and therefore such a construction is inadmissible unless the words require it.”  (quoting Marbury v. Madison)  [Cohens, at pp. 399-400]

It concluded:

“It is most true that this Court will not take jurisdiction if it should not; but it is equally true that it must take jurisdiction if it should. The judiciary cannot, as the legislature may, avoid a measure because it approaches the confines of the Constitution. We cannot pass it by because it is doubtful. With whatever doubts, with whatever difficulties, a case may be attended, we must decide it if it be brought before us. We have no more right to decline the exercise of jurisdiction which is given than to usurp that which is not given. The one or the other would be treason to the Constitution.  Questions may occur which we would gladly avoid, but we cannot avoid them. All we can do is to exercise our best judgment and conscientiously to perform our duty. In doing this on the present occasion, we find this tribunal invested with appellate jurisdiction in all cases arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States. We find no exception to this grant, and we cannot insert
one…

We think, then that, as the Constitution originally stood, the appellate jurisdiction of this Court, in all cases arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States, was not arrested by the circumstance that a State was a party.”   [Cohens, at pp. 404-405]

Cases in which a State is a party (involving a matter of a sovereign nature) have been limited regarding an analysis of original versus concurrent jurisdiction.  In Rhode Island v. Massachusetts, 37 U.S. 657 (1838), which involved a border dispute between two states, the Supreme Court acknowledged original jurisdiction:  “By the Constitution, it was ordained that this judicial power, in cases where a state was a party, should be exercised by the Supreme Court as one of original jurisdiction.” [Rhode Island, at pg. 657]

Other cases where the Supreme Court has acknowledged and accepted original Article III jurisdiction include United States v. Texas, 143 U.S. 621 (1892), United States v. California, 332 U. S. 19 (1947), United States v. State of Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699 (1950), and United States v. Texas, 339 U.S. 707 (1950).  The first two are companion cases and all three, taken together, address essentially the same issue. It would appear original jurisdiction was accepted because of the federal government’s important property stake in the controversy.  In other words, even though the case involved a State that was a party, the interest was more in establishing the federal government’s superior claim to (property) title.

Two things are clear: First, the initial post-Constitution Judicial Act (1789) as well as the subsequent Judicial Act (1875) support exclusive original jurisdiction in case between the states and the federal government. Second, the Judiciary Act of 1789 was inconsistent with the Constitution in several regards, including its concurrent jurisdiction between federal courts. [See Marbury vs. Madison]

The Constitution is not a document that each branch can mould or re-interpret to suit its whims or agenda.  This is the supreme document that defines our republic. The high court, through its decisions, may desire to “promote the purposes of justice” or focus on its “essential constitutional functions” of judicial review (both important functions), but that was not necessarily the functions our Founders had in mind in establishing the Judiciary and outlining its functions in Article III.  The principles that our Founders were more interested in addressing were sovereignty and federalism.  Section 2 speaks to this. It states the specific cases that the Supreme Court SHALL (“must”) have original jurisdiction – ” 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.”  In cases affecting the individual states and ambassadors, public ministers and consuls, as Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers, it would ill suit their dignity “to be turned over to an inferior tribunal.”  Article III was an express acknowledgement of dual sovereignty and a tacit promise to treat states (and foreign dignitaries) as such in the eyes of the law (access to the highest court and the right to speedy adjudication; no waiting through the appellate process). The States, after cautioned skepticism over the newly-drafted Constitution, finally ratified and adopted it after proper explanation and assurances were given, in the form of the Federalist Papers, for example, that States’ rights would be left intact absent the specific powers delegated to the new federal government.

The challenge with Original Jurisdiction is to expect the Supreme Court to conduct an unbiased review of a judicial statute – one strongly supported over the years by the Supreme Court for its ability to lighten its judicial burden.  The Constitution is a roadmap. It is intended to deliver to the people a carefully-designed form of government that is well-protected by underlying principles. It has never been intended to provide that each branch have a convenient schedule.  The charge in this action is to ask the Court to breathe life back into the decision that gave itself life in the first place – Marbury v. Madison.  This will require the Court to review jurisdiction statutes that arguably conflict with Article III original jurisdiction and the Founders’ intent as explained in Federalist No. 81.  The  tendency will be to want to support the statutes for they have established procedure for many years.  But if Marbury still means something – if it still stands as the landmark case of judicial review and the supremacy of the Constitution – then the Court will have to acknowledge that all such statutes which alter jurisdiction from the clear language of Article III must be declared void.  It is similar to challenging the practice of judicial review itself.  Suppose a state were to challenge some rule or regulation enacted by the Judiciary branch. Suppose a state wanted to challenge the practice of Judicial Review itself.  Under the current paradigm, the only avenue open would be to bring suit in a federal court. Could the judiciary be unbiased in such a matter?  It would be hard to believe so.

Statutes dividing up original jurisdiction are inconsistent with the US Constitution and are therefore invalid and unenforceable. Should this principle not be respected then we no longer need the courts to perform judicial review.  Their decisions would be rendered as hollow words.

The Constitution instructs what the proper process should be to change or alter the document, and that is the amendment process. Article V provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. (Note that none of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention). The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution, which then goes on to the individual States for ratification. Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval. A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (38 of 50 States).  A legislative act does not qualify as a valid means to change or alter the direct provisions of the Constitution.

Again, the Constitution addresses those  in whose name it was written – We the People.
Its first three words – “We The People” – affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. As Thomas Jefferson said about the Bill of Rights (“A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”), the US Constitution, because it was written for the people, is a statement or promise of what the federal government can and cannot do.  Power cannot continually be drained from the States and from the people to feed an enlarging federal government when such is not the intent of the Constitution nor of the millions of Americans who sacrificed their lives to defend its integrity.  The individual states must be respected and maintained as full sovereigns if we are to continue the proper checks and balances on a potentially tyrannical government – the kind the Constitution was specifically drafted to prevent.

At his point, 26 sovereign states challenge the federal Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or “Obamacare,” on the grounds that:  (1) the legislation stems from an unconstitutional grant of power to the US legislative branch; (2) the PPACA
violates the constitutional principle of federalism and the Tenth Amendment; (3) the PPACA will not only commandeer the individual States for federal goals, but will pose real and immediate risks to the financial and economic stability of them; and (4) the PPACA invades the sovereign powers of the individual States, burdens their sovereign status, and weakens their status vis-a-vis the constitutional system of dual sovereignty.  Also at this point, at least 5 sovereign states challenge the federal government over its immigration policy and its lack of enforcement. They believe they have the sovereign right to keep their states safe, maintain rule of law, keep their citizens safe, and limit public funding to legal American citizens.  The reality is that all of these challenges poses the exact scenario for Original Jurisdiction that our Founders and Framers had in mind when they drafted and explained Article III.   It is State exercising a sovereign stance. “It would ill suit its dignity to be turned over to an inferior tribunal……”

Reference:

Diane Rufino, “Article III Jurisdiction,” December 2010.

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About forloveofgodandcountry

I'm originally from New Jersey where I spent most of my life. I now live in North Carolina with my husband and 4 children. I'm an attorney
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