Judicial Oversight Misrepresented in The NewsSep 28th, 2010 | By Ali | Category: Jang, The News
In an article for The News yesterday, judicial oversight is severely misrepresented as judicial supremacy. Sabir Shah says that,
Courtesy their power of judicial review, courts in countries like the US, India, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada and Sweden etc literally enjoy unchallengeable supremacy over their respective legislative houses, a research conducted by The News shows.
Mr Shah’s research is incomplete and his conclusion is incorrect. Shah cites the famous Marbury versus Madison case of 1803, but fails to report that this case was decided exactly as it was in order for the Supreme Court to avoid challenging the US Constitution.
In fact, the US Supreme Court found that Mr Marbury had a right to his commission as Justice of the Peace, but that the Supreme Court did not have the right to force the Secretary of State to deliver the commission. The Supreme Court was asked to issue a ‘Writ of Mandamus’ or a command to the Secretary of State to deliver the commission to Mr Marbury, but the Supreme Court found that it did not have the constitutional authority to do so.
The authority given to the Supreme Court by the act establishing the judicial system of the United States to issue writs of mandamus to public officers appears not to be warranted by the Constitution.
The Supreme Court stated specifically that the Constitution is the highest law and that the Supreme Court cannot disobey what is written in the Constitution. So the law that was supposed to give the Supreme Court the ability to issue such commands was struck down.
If courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.
Sabir Shah even provides the evidence against his spurious claims. As he reports, Article III of the US Constitution says:
The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.”
In the US, the legislative body of Congress can write in a law a few sentences telling that no court can review a particular law. And what is the result? The courts respect this because it is written in the Constitution that the legislature has the right to do so.
This is simply more of what Americans are calling the“journalistic garbage” that is coming from our media.
This is not the first time that The News has published incorrect information about judicial review and how courts treat their constitutions in other countries. It should be the last.