Congress or the Supreme Court: Which Shall Rule America?

By Egbert Ray Nichols | Go to book overview

PRESIDENT, COURT AND CONSTITUTION*

EDWARD S. CORWIN McCormick Professor of jurisprudence, Princeton University

The Supreme Court's decision in the poultry case has caused certain people to raise again the perennial question of the right of the court to set aside acts of Congress which conflict with its views of the Constitution. The critics of the court have in this respect little ground to stand on. The Constitution designates itself as "law" and says that the judicial power of the United States shall extend to "cases" arising "under the Constitution," and a court has not only the power but the duty to decide cases in accordance with the law under which they arise. Furthermore, that the Constitution overrides any subordinate law with which it conflicts, nobody doubts.

On the other hand, the court's champions, who have so zealously belabored the President for demurring to the court's reading of the Constitution in the poultry case, assume a position that is just as untenable. They say that the court has "saved the Constitution" and at the same time imply that the Constitution is always to be identified with the court's reading of it. Obviously

____________________
*
From "The Wide Horizon"column appearing in the Christian Scienc: Monitor. Used with the special permission of the author and the Christian Science Monitor.

-296-

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