Congress or the Supreme Court: Which Shall Rule America?

By Egbert Ray Nichols | Go to book overview

IS THE SUPREME COURT GUILTY OF "USURPATION"?*

FRANK L. PECKHAM

The right of the Supreme Court of the United States to set aside acts of Congress as being unconstitutional, has been the subject of much discussion in recent months. There are, however, a few points which might be emphasized as conclusively answering those demagogues and radicals who charge the Supreme Court with "usurpation" of power, because that Court has declared unconstitutional some of their pet measures and more especially because they know that the Court would hold unconstitutional a great number of measures which political mountebanks and incompetent experimenters are desirous of foisting on the people.

"Usurpation" means the forcible seizure Of place, power, functions, or the like, without right; to commit unjust encroachments. In other words, it means to take or exercise powers or functions rightfully belonging to others.

The strident-voiced radicals create the impression that the Supreme Court has reached out and assumed without right the power to declare legislative enactments unconstitutional; that it has arrogated to itself a function that was not granted to it, and they seek to terrify the public with the bugaboo of threatened government by

____________________
*
Address of Frank L. Peckham, Bar of District of Columbia.

-243-

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