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Steve King Wants To Bar The Supreme Court From Hearing Marriage Cases

Rep. Steve King sees this as his last, best chance to "save marriage."
Steve King Wants To Bar The Supreme Court From Hearing Marriage Cases
Image from: Gage Skidmore

Well, this is novel. Instead of the usual separation of powers we're all used to, where legislators pass laws and the Supreme Court is allowed to rule on challenges to those laws, Rep. Steve King (R-Hateville) has introduced legislation barring marriage cases from being heard by the Supreme Court.

A press release from King's office revealed the diabolical plan. "“My bill strips Article III courts of jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court of appellate jurisdiction, ‘to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage.’”

He must see the handwriting on the wall.

Steve Benen:

The “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act” has already picked up seven House co-sponsors – all of them Republican – including some familiar names like Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

And that’s a shame because, even by 2015 standards, this idea is just bonkers.

This came up a couple of weeks ago when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), soon after launching his presidential campaign, told an Iowa audience “he would prod Congress to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over the [marriage] issue, a rarely invoked legislative tool.”

As we talked about at the time, it’s “rarely invoked” because the approach – known as “court-stripping” or “jurisdiction-stripping” – is so radical, it’s just too bizarre for most policymakers to even consider.

The idea isn’t complicated: under this scheme, Congress would pass a federal law effectively telling the courts, “We’ve identified a part of the law that judges are no longer allowed to consider.”

And they call President Obama a dictator. It figures that Ted Cruz is part of the scheme, doesn't it?

It's not going to go anywhere, but it is a lovely illustration of their state of mind.

As a matter of history, Congress has never actually passed a court-stripping scheme – we can only speculate about the constitutional crisis it would invite – and even if the GOP-led House tried to pursue this idea in 2015, there’s simply no way it’d overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate or get President Obama’s signature.


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But the fact that several members of Congress are pushing such a proposal – all while Ted Cruz expresses interest in the same idea – speaks to an ugly strain of radicalism among Republican lawmakers.

Just remember this any time they uttered the word "Constitution." Can you think of a more unconstitutional idea than barring one of the three branches of government from a say over the laws of the land?

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