Limitation of Power of Supreme Court to Declare Acts of Congress Unconstitutional

By Julia E. Johnsen | Go to book overview
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AFFIRMATIVE DISCUSSION

JUDICIAL VETO WHOLLY WITHOUT AUTHORITY IN THE CONSTITUTION1

The three-fold division of constitutional government is into the Legislative or law-making department usually divided into two bodies i.e., a Senate, and a House of Representatives; the Executive, and the Judicial. The only interference with the supremacy of the law making department is that in this country, but in very few others, the executive has a qualified veto upon the action of the legislature. In England the veto of the king tho not formally abolished has not been exercised for more than two centuries i. e., not since 1707. Even the power of the House of Lords, their senate, has been practically abrogated for many years by the act which provides that when the House of Commons has passed an act which the House of Lords has rejected, but which the House of Commons has again reenacted, it becomes law without the consent of the upper house.

In this country the president retains the veto power which was put in the constitution one century and a third ago, but it is not an absolute veto, merely a qualified veto which can be overruled by a two-thirds vote in each house and this has been very often done. Even a qualified veto by the executive is now obsolete almost everywhere except in the United States. In most of our states, tho never in all, there is a qualified veto which enables the governor to prevent the enactment of any act unless it is again passed, as in Congress, tho all the state constitutions do not require a two-thirds majority for that purpose.

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1
By Chief Justice Walter Clark. of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. American Federationist. 28:723-6. September. 1921.

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