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Should Legislatures be Able to Override Bad Court Decisions?

In a March 2017 article at The Federalist, Dr. Julio Gonzalez, physician and lawyer in Florida, explains why legislatures should be able to "override bad court rulings." He introduces the article this way:

"We regularly witness the increasingly aggressive and activist posture of our nation’s judiciary. The issue recently came to a head with Judge James Robart’s extra-constitutional act of staying a significant portion of the president of the United States’ foreign policy initiative and the subsequent affirmation of that stay by the unabashedly activist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Those of us who value the restrictions the Constitution places on government cannot help but worry over the implications of these unprecedented confrontational actions and the effects they will have upon our republic. Indeed, we are left with the troubling question of whether there is any solution to this latest assault upon the fabric of our Constitution. But perhaps there is.

"In January, I filed a bill in the Florida House of Representatives that proposes a legislative override provision to Florida’s Constitution. I also filed an accompanying memorial suggesting that Congress consider a similar addition to the United States Constitution."

Gonzalez continues with a bit of Constitutional history:

"Article III of the U.S. Constitution gave the courts “Judicial Power” over all cases and controversies arising out of the laws of the United States and the Constitution, but it did not assign to the Supreme Court final (plenary) authority regarding the constitutionality of laws. The Supreme Court actually seized this power in its seminal Marbury v. Madison decision of 1803. In it, Chief Justice John Marshall singlehandedly declared, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” Consequently, any law the court determines is repugnant to the Constitution will be void.

"Although the Congress of the day did not react to this, by 1820, the consequences of the resulting change in the relationship between the three branches of government caught the attention of Thomas Jefferson, who warned in a letter to Jarvis Williams, “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [would be] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

"The Civil War and its associated amendments set the stage for the fulfillment of Jefferson’s prognostications. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution included Due Process and Equal Protection clauses that federal judges would subsequently employ to force their will and power upon the states. With the appointment of progressive judges during the twentieth century, the Supreme Court engaged in the laborious work of redefining the various passages of the Constitution in manners neither foreseen nor intended by the Framers."

He also notes that "if a Canadian legislative body should find the opinion of the court inconsistent with the views of the electorate, the legislature could override or nullify the court's ruling," and adds that Australia, Israel, and England have similar provisions.

"In short," Gonzalez said, "a legislative override provision to our Constitution would represent the clearest and most effective correction to the unchecked actions of an overzealous activist court. Indeed, a legislative override provision would place our nation closest to the vision President Washington shared in his Farewell Address."

Read the entire article; here's a second link.

A Constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to override court decisions is just one of several proposed by talk radio host Marc R. Levin in his book, The Liberty Amendments. For more information about a Convention of States to propose amendments to the Constitution, you can read this interview at CNS News on August 12, 2013.

Learn more about the Convention of States by visiting the Convention of States website. And get involved. Start by signing the petition to call for a Convention of States.


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