May 16, 1936 - Article - Washingtonia, by Raymond G. Carroll
The position of those who would lessen the powers of the Supreme Court was, perhaps, best expressed on the floor of Congress by Rep. Robert Lincoln Ramsay, Democrat, of West Virginia: "Today we are, in the final analysis, governed by a theory of government that was supposed to have died with the Federalist Party, but we still feel the dead and withered hand of Alexander Hamilton directing, through our Supreme Court, the policies of every administration, regardless of whichever party may be in power." (pg. 27)
Rep. James W. Wadsworth, Republican, of Geneseo, New York, on March 4, 1936, upon the floor of the House, said: "My information is that tens of thousands of telegrams passing between citizens have been seized by the Federal Communications Commission. They have been pawned over and examined. No warrant has been issued for the seizure of this private correspondence; no search warrant emanating from any court of competent jurisdiction...And Congress had no intention of clothing any branch of our Government with the power of search and seizure. In fact, Congress cannot do so under the Constitution, in view of the Fourth Amendment."
Rep. John E. Rankin, Democrat, of Tupelo, Mississippi, said: "How are you ever going to catch men who violate the postal laws?"
Mr. Wadsworth said: "As I understand it, you must at least make a prima-facie case, go before a court, and have a judge say that there is some prima-facie evidence here, and We grant you permission to search the effects of the person.'"
Mr Rankin said, with respect to the pursuit of postal-law violators: "Oh, they have searched letters going through the post office ever since this Government began, without appealing to a court. They have a right to do it." (pg. 90)
Mr. Snyder stated: "Much has been said about the constitutionality of the Acts of Congress since the days of George Washington's first inauguration. After checking up, it is gratifying to know that out of 24,000 acts of Congress, more or less, since that time, only sixty-three or sixty-four have been declared unconstitutional...Some forty of them were put on the statute books when the Republican Party was in the majority in both the House and the Senate and under a Republican President, while some fifteen when the Democrats were in the majority in the House and Senate and under a Democratic President."
Mr. Snyder further made the point that a decision against the validity of an act of Congress by the Supreme Court goes no further than is absolutely required by the case at bar. But his protest did not dampen the ardor of others in Congress to tear down and change the basic principles of the judicial branch of the Government, under which the Unites States has lived and prospered through peace and war, through good fortune and adversity for nearly 150 years.
The judiciary is the intellect of the American form of government, just as the legislative branch is the heart and the administrative branch is the stomach, which, at moment, is being fed with a steam shovel rather than with a spoon, as the founders designed. To rob the intellect to satisfy the greed of the stomach cannot but destroy the heart in the end. No? Well, ask your doctor what overeating does to the heart.
A composite articulation of the lot: "Let us change the Court, or change the Constitution; only do something that will justify what we have done." (pg. 91)
[Listed below are some of the bills that had been introduced into Congress that attacked the independence of the judiciary]
H.R. 8054 by Rep. Ramsey
Any question arising upon an attack against any Act of Congress, upon the ground that same is unconstitutional and void, raised in any of the said Courts (Inferior Federal courts and the state courts) shall, by the presiding judge thereof, be certified to the Supreme Court and further proceedings in the case stayed until such decision shall have been decided, and the decision certified back.
S.J. 149 by Sen. Norris
...the Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to render judgement declaring that any law enacted by Congress in whole or in part is invalid because it conflicts with some provision of the Constitution; but no such judgement shall be rendered unless concurred in by more that two- thirds of the members of the Court, and unless the action praying for such judgement shall have been commenced within six months after the enactment of the law
H.J. 287 by Rep. Dobbins (proposed amendment to the Constitution)
...the concurrence of two-thirds of (the Supreme Court) members shall be necessary in any decision of that Court denying the validity of an attempted exercise of the constitutional powers of Congress.
H.R. 8100 by Rep. Crosser
That in all cases now pending, or which may hereafter be pending, in the Supreme Court...where is drawn in question an Act of Congress or statute of a State on the ground of repugnancy to the Constitution, at least three-fourths of the members shall concur before judgement shall be pronounced or rendered declaring said law or laws unconstitutional and void.
H.R. 8163 by Rep. Monaghan
...all of the members of the Court shall concur before judgement shall be pronounced or rendered declaring said law or laws unconstitutional and void.
H.J. Res. 301 by Mr. Monaghan
Whereas the Constitution of the United States gives no authority to any judicial officer to declare unconstitutional an Act which has been declared constitutional by a majority of the Members of the United States Senate and of the House of Representatives and by the President of the United States, who, on their several oaths, have declared the opinion in the passage of such Act that it is constitutional; and
Whereas in the Constitutional Convention, in which the Constitution of the United States was framed, the motion was three times made to give to the Supreme Court, in some mild form, the right to express an opinion upon the constitutionality of Acts of Congress, and was three times overwhelmingly rejected; and
Whereas such assumption of power by the Federal court interferes with the sovereignty of the people of the United States and diverts it from the hands of the representatives of the people in Congress assembled to a tribunal appointed for life and subject to no review and to no control by the people of the United States, and is therefore against a wise public policy; and
Whereas the declaration by any Federal court that the Acts of Congress are unconstitutional constitutes an usurpation of power; Therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That after the passage of this Act Federal judges are forbidden to declare any Act of Congress unconstitutional.
No appeal shall be permitted in any case in which the constitutionality of an Act of Congress is challenged, the passage by Congress of any Act being deemed conclusive presumption of the constitutionality of such Act.
Any Federal judge who declares any Act passed by the Congress of the United States to be unconstitutional is hereby declared to be guilty of violating the constitutional requirement of "good behavior" upon which his tenure of office rests and shall be held by such decision ipso facto to have vacated his office.
Section 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized to nominate a successor to fill the position vacated by such judicial officer.
H.J. Res. 329 by Rep. Quinn (proposed amendment to the Constitution)
No court of the United States, or of any State, shall declare unconstitutional or void any law enacted by the Congress of the United States. All laws of the United States shall remain in full force and effect throughout the United States until repealed by Congress of the United States, or until vetoed or repudiated by the action of the legislatures of three-fourths of the States.
Section 2. The tenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
H.J. Res. 344 by Rep. Maas (proposed amendment to the Constitution)
Every public act or public resolution of Congress shall, after having been presented to the President and approved by him, or not returned by him within ten days...shall not become law unless presented by the President to the Supreme Court for its decision on the constitutionality thereof and until sixty days...after it has been so presented. It shall be the duty of the Supreme Court to render such decision within such sixty days.
H.R. 9478 by Rep. Cross
Providing that in all cases filed in an inferior Federal court, the court shall pass upon both questions of law and fact with the exception that no inferior court shall pass upon the constitutionality of an Act of Congress; and further providing that the Supreme Court in deciding any case on appeal shall pass upon both law and fact with the exception that it shall not pass upon the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.
H.R. 10102 by Rep. Quinn
The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and fourteen Associate Justices, and any ten of whom shall constitute a quorum.
H.R. 10315 by Rep. Sisson
To regulate the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the jurisdiction of the inferior Federal courts and of state courts...No court of the United States (except the Supreme Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction), or of any State, Territory, District, or possession of the United States, or any political subdivision of any such State, Territory, District, or possession, shall have jurisdiction, original or appellate, of any case or proceeding in which any party seeks by his pleadings, assignments of error, or otherwise, to have the court hear or decide any question as to the constitutionality of any statute of the United States which--
(A) Is, or purports to be, an exercise of any power of Congress...(relating to taxation, general welfare, commerce among the States, and money); or
(B) Affects, or purports to effect rights with respect to due process...when the rights affected are not procedural in nature.
This section shall not be construed to prevent any such court taking or retaining jurisdiction of any such case or proceeding to determine it without hearing or deciding such question of constitutionality.
H.J. Res. 462 by Rep. Scott (proposed amendment to the Constitution)
No court shall have the power to set aside as unconstitutional any law passed by the Congress of the Unites States.
H.R. 10663, H.R. 10664, H.R. 10764, H.R. 10765, H.R. 10804, H.R. 10805 by Rep. Monaghan (these bills related to laws already on the statute books)
Federal judges are forbidden to declare this Act of Congress unconstitutional.
No appeal shall be permitted in any case in which the constitutionality of this Act is challenged, the passage of Congress of this Act being deemed conclusive presumption of its constitutionality.
Any Federal judge who declares this Act unconstitutional is hereby declared to be guilty of violating the constitutional requirement of "good behavior" upon which his tenure of office rests and shall be held by such decision ipso facto to have vacated his office, and the President of the United States is hereby authorized to fill the position vacated by such judicial officer......it was announced by Government attorneys that the effect of the bill, if seriously considered, not only was designed to nullify the Constitution but junk the Federal judiciary from the Supreme Court on down.
Senator David I. Walsh, Democrat, of Masachusetts, on March 19, 1936, thundered into the air a nation-wide defense of the highest court, in part as follows:
"In the one hundred and forty-seven years of its existence, the Supreme Court, in my opinion, has ever been strong, compositely, in breadth of view, in freedom from bias, in intellectual capacity, in devotion for the furtherance of the welfare of the people as far as that comes within the province of a court, and in freedom from ambition for political preferment. If we cannot get the answer as to the constitutionality of an act of Congress from the individuals of such a court, we cannot expect to get it at all...
"The Supreme Court was established as a barrier against the necessity of revolution if either the executive or the legislative branch attempted to take these rights from the people. This Court is the fortress, the arsenal, the standing army of the American people in the protection and enforcement of the inalienable rights which lovers of liberty in every civilized land poured out their blood and treasure to enjoy." (pp. 91, 93-96)
Comments: These bills that attacked the independence of the judiciary were no doubt written by the New Deal bosses and their hired help in the Executive, and then they were handed out to the congressional representatives that were willing to sponsor them.