Threat to Federal Court Jurisdiction

56th General Assembly
December 1981
Boston, Massachusetts

The Congress is currently considering more than a dozen pieces of legislation that would seriously circumscribe the jurisdiction of the federal courts, specifically the Supreme Court, by eliminating their jurisdiction to hear certain cases. Among the individual issues affected by these proposed laws would be prayer in the public schools, abortion, school desegregation, and sex bias in the Selective Service.

We believe such legislation, if passed, would be unconstitutional. The impact of this legislation would be enormous, threatening the foundations of our system of government. First, it would blur the separation of powers that allows each branch of the federal government to operate independently. Second, it eliminates a significant part of the system of checks and balances among the branches of government. For nearly two hundred years, the responsibility of the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of legislation and executive actions has guarded against the excesses of the Congress and the presidency. Third, this legislation would destroy the uniformity of constitutional protections, creating diverse interpretations of the Constitution in each of the fifty states.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT: The UAHC opposes any attempt to tamper with the basic jurisdiction of our judicial system. We further oppose any attempts by the legislative or executive branch of the United States government to curb the authority of the federal judicial branch to hear and be the final arbiter of constitutional issues.