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Checks and balances?

Published Wednesday, April 02, 2014 @ 6:48 PM EDT
Apr 02 2014

Chief Justice John Marshall

It's time for a Constitutional amendment granting Congress the power to set aside Supreme Court decisions.

The President can veto bills passed by Congress. Congress can override Presidential vetoes. Check and balance.

But the Supreme Court is not similarly limited. There is no appealing its decisions. The only recourse is amending the Constitution, an arduous process that requires the approval of two thirds of each house of Congress, and ratification by three fourths of the states.

The Constitution does not explicitly give the Supreme Court the power to rule on the validity of legislation. It wasn't until 1803, in the Marbury v Madison decision, that Chief Justice John Marshall invented the "doctrine of judicial review;" a principle which gave the courts the authority to strike down laws deemed unconstitutional.

Justice Marshall noted in the decision that "an act of the legislature, repugnant to the Constitution, is void." Unfortunately, repugnancy is not limited to one branch of government, and the Constitution provides no remedy for acts of the courts which are equally repugnant.

The people, through their legislative representatives, should have the right to override the Supreme Court, especially when it appears the Court's actions are based not on prior law, but ideological beliefs or external influence.

This isn't a progressive/conservative issue. It's a fundamental flaw in the implementation of our government.

Vetoing the Court shouldn't be as difficult as passing a constitutional amendment, but it shouldn't be easy, either. In fact, it should require not the two-thirds vote of both houses necessary to pass an amendment, but a three-quarters vote- the same majority as the number of states required to ratify the change.

It would also force legislators to reveal their true positions. Congressmen and senators can often rationalize their vote by pointing to certain provisions of a bill with which they disagree, providing the weasel room necessary when seeking re-election. A straight up or down vote leaves no room for misinterpretation. A three-fourths majority eliminates the taint of partisanship, and could only occur when the Court has acted in a manner truly "repugnant to the Constitution."

Our government is based upon citizens' respect for the rule of law. When that respect is lost, law becomes irrelevant. And a nation without law is a nation that cannot survive.

Categories: KGB Opinion

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Quotes of the day: Casanova

Published Wednesday, April 02, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Apr 02 2014

Giacomo Girolamo Casanova (April 2, 1725 -June 4, 1798) was an Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice. His autobiography, Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


As for myself, I always willingly acknowledge my own self as the principal cause of every good and of every evil which may befall me; therefore I have always found myself capable of being my own pupil, and ready to love my teacher.

Beauty without wit offers nothing but the enjoyment of its material charms, whilst witty ugliness captivates by the charms of the mind, and at last fulfils all the desires of the man it has captivated.

Economy in pleasure is not to my taste.

Enjoy the present, bid defiance to the future, laugh at all those reasonable beings who exercise their reason to avoid the misfortunes which they fear, destroying at the same time the pleasure that they might enjoy.

Hatred, in the course of time, kills the unhappy wretch who delights in nursing it in his bosom.

Heart and head are the constituent parts of character; temperament has almost nothing to do with it, and, therefore, character is dependent upon education, and is susceptible of being corrected and improved.

I don't conquer, I submit.

I hate death; for, happy or miserable, life is the only blessing which man possesses, and those who do not love it are unworthy of it.

I have always loved truth so passionately that I have often resorted to lying as a way of first introducing it into minds which were ignorant of its charms.

I have met with some of them- very honest fellows, who, with all their stupidity, had a kind of intelligence and an upright good sense, which cannot be the characteristics of fools.

I saw that everything famous and beautiful in the world, if we judge by the descriptions and drawings of writers and artists, always loses when we go to see it and examine it closely.

If I had married a woman intelligent enough to guide me, to rule me without my feeling that I was ruled, I should have taken good care of my money, I should have had children, and I should not be, as now I am, alone in the world and possessing nothing.

If you have not done things worthy of being written about, at least write things worthy of being read.

Love is three quarters curiosity.

Man is free; yet we must not suppose that he is at liberty to do everything he pleases, for he becomes a slave the moment he allows his actions to be ruled by passion.

Marriage is the tomb of love.

My success and my misfortunes, the bright and the dark days I have gone through, everything has proved to me that in this world, either physical or moral, good comes out of evil just as well as evil comes out of good.

Nothing is so catching as the plague; now, fanaticism, no matter of what nature, is only the plague of the human mind.

One of the advantages of a great sorrow is that nothing else seems painful.

The man who forgets does not forgive, he only loses the remembrance of the harm inflicted on him...

The man who has sufficient power over himself to wait until his nature has recovered its even balance is the truly wise man, but such beings are seldom met with.

The mind of a human being is formed only of comparisons made in order to examine analogies, and therefore cannot precede the existence of memory.

The spirit of rebellion is present in every great city, and the great task of wise government is to keep it dormant, for if it wakes it is a torrent which no dam can hold back.

The sweetest pleasures are those which are hardest to be won.

We avenge intellect when we dupe a fool, and it is a victory not to be despised for a fool is covered with steel and it is often very hard to find his vulnerable part.

We ourselves are the authors of almost all our woes and griefs, of which we so unreasonably complain.

When a man is in love very little is enough to throw him into despair and as little to enhance his joy to the utmost.

Categories: Casanova, Quotes of the day

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