Megalomaniac justices

Keith E. Whittington kewhitt at PRINCETON.EDU
Thu Feb 22 14:24:32 PST 2001



Frank Cross wrote:

> The significant
> thing here is not the impact on policy but the justices' hatred for
> congressional constitutional interpretation.  That's what seems
> megalomaniacal to me.

I agree completely with the policy point relative to the Gingrich Revolution.
But I'd qualify the nature of the justices' hatred of congressional
constitutional interpretation.  They clearly dislike congressional
constitutional interpretation that also aggrandizes congressional authority and
power, which seems not unreasonable from a judicial/constitutional
perspective.  Thus, they react negatively when Congress "alters the meaning" of
the Fourteenth Amendment to the extent that it imposes new restrictions on the
states or gives executive power to a congressionally controlled comptroller
general.  But as long as congressional interpretations have the effect of
reducing Congress's own power (e.g., expanding individual rights relative to
national government) or at least not expanding Congress's own power (e.g.,
independent counsel), then a majority of the Court seems fine with it.

Keith Whittington
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