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  For Immediate Release   Contact:  Michael Dodge
March 9, 2004 (202) 225-3501
Accountability for Judicial Activism Act Introduced in House

Rep. Lewis introduces landmark legislation to override SCOTUS decisions

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             WASHINGTON, D.C.— March 9, 2004 – U.S. Representative Ron Lewis (R-KY) today introduced The Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act (H.R. 3920), legislation that would allow Congress, by a 2/3rds vote in each house, to override certain future decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. The bill was drafted in an effort to redress recent cases of activist judicial rulings.


America’s judicial branch has become increasingly overreaching and disconnected from the values of everyday Americans,” said Lewis. “The recent actions taken by courts in Massachusetts and elsewhere are demonstrative of a single branch of government taking upon itself the singular ability to legislate. These actions usurp the will of the governed by allowing a select few to conclusively rule on issues that are radically reshaping our nation’s traditions.”


Lewis’ proposed legislation, designed to preserve equal dignity among branches of government, would only be applicable to rulings concerning the constitutionality of an Act of Congress following passage. Lewis, a strong supporter of numerous legislative measures aimed to define marriage as an exclusive union between a man and a woman, believes a more comprehensive solution is necessary to address the broader issue of activist courts; a concern he believes has troubling implications beyond just the issue of marriage.


“The framers of the Constitution were advocates of serious debate who believed that the deliberation of the political process should always be open to the people. As the courts continue to expand their power of judicial review, I believe Congress, as the people’s branch of representative government, should take steps to equally affirm our authority to interpret constitutional issues.” 


The right of judicial review is a practice with origins from the bench itself, established by the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision, and is not expressly provided for in the Constitution. Many argue that the exercise of such broad judicial authority, expanded over time and by political tradition, has a growing adverse affect on co-equal branches of government.


“As judicial power expands, Congressional power contracts,” said Lewis. “This is especially true when the power to interpret the Constitution rests in the hands of activist judges anxious to find the latest ‘right’ hiding between the lines of our founding document.”


            The Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act is gaining early support from numerous Member of Congress including eleven original co-sponsors. Lewis hopes his legislation will encourage serious bipartisan debate on the growing imbalance of constitutional authority between legislative and judicial branches of government.






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