Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Flashback: U.S. Constitution and Alexander Hamilton vs. Eric Holder and Susan Bolton

Friday Flashback: Because it's so easy to forget.

The named defendants in the Arizona immigration law case being heard by Judge Susan R. Bolton are "State of Arizona; and Janice K. Brewer, Governor of the State of Arizona, in her Official Capacity." But Publius Huldah over at Canada Free Press remembers this little nugget from the U.S. Constitution, namely, Article III, Sec. 2, clause 2 [emphasis added]:
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…

“Original” jurisdiction means the power to conduct the “trial” of the case (as opposed to hearing an appeal from the judgment of a lower court). You all know quite well what a “trial” is - you see them all the time on TV shows: Perry Mason, Boston Legal, The Good Wife, etc. Witnesses testify and are cross-examined, etc.
In other words, according to Publius Huldah:
Judge Susan R. Bolton has no more authority to preside over this case than do you (unless you are a US Supreme Court justice).
Publius backs up her statement with Alexander Hamilton's comment in Federalist No. 81 (13th para) "on this exact provision of Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 2":
...Let us now examine in what manner the judicial authority is to be distributed between the supreme and the inferior courts of the Union. The Supreme Court is to be invested with original jurisdiction, only “in cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, and those in which A STATE shall be a party.” Public ministers of every class are the immediate representatives of their sovereigns. All questions in which they are concerned are so directly connected with the public peace, that, as well for the preservation of this, as out of respect to the sovereignties they represent, it is both expedient and proper that such questions should be submitted in the first instance to the highest judicatory of the nation. Though consuls have not in strictness a diplomatic character, yet as they are the public agents of the nations to which they belong, the same observation is in a great measure applicable to them. In cases in which a State might happen to be a party, it would ill suit its dignity to be turned over to an inferior tribunal….[boldface added, caps in original]

Yet Attorney General Eric Holder filed the case in a court which is specifically stripped of jurisdiction to hear it!
Read the rest.


  1. Good to see you're back QR. Missed you the past few days...

    I'm not sure if that clause is relevant in this case. I haven't seen anyone else mention this angle, and I would think somebody would come up with this argument-- like lawyers from the State of Arizona-- before it went to Bolton.

  2. Thanks, Yukio. I appreciate the thought. My current research project has commandeered most of my time and brain power.

    Publius might be right (so much of the Founders original intent has been lost in translation), but framing the debate with her argument would cost the state a good deal of their greatest political asset: the fury of the American people over the illegal immigration fiasco and American's sympathy for the people of the border states.

  3. Good breakdown. I know what you mean about not having as much time and brain power, these last two weeks have been killer. Hang in there.

  4. hang tough my friend..we shall over come this madness one way or the other!