The Constitution & Congress

In my opinion the process could be improved. Firstly, it could be improved through combination selection systems. A merit selection has to be guaranteed. It would thereby mean to allowing elected officials, citizens, and judicial applicants to evaluate their roles in such a system and the quality of judges produced by such systems. 13 Secondly, it could be improved through judicial performance evaluation. Such programs serve to improve the quality of the judiciary by encouraging self-examination and improvement. 14 Evaluation criteria could be legal ability, communication skills or administrative capacity.

Thirdly, it could be improved through voter guides. Voter guides provide voters with information about judicial candidates. 15 It could be attempts to persuade voters based on political viewpoints or legal philosophy, but to offer the opportunity to include biographical information and a short statement to voters. Fourthly, it could be improved through campaign conduct committees. These committees have to encourage ethical and appropriate campaigning by judicial candidates. 16 Fifthly, it could be improved through a campaign finance reform.

This reform could include more stringent disclosure requirements, better recusal standards for judges whose contributors later appear before them in cases, stricter limits on campaign contributions, and public financing of judicial campaigns. 17 Overall through this proposals accountability and transparency of the electing process of judges would be given. 18 Question 2: Briefly list or describe the subject-matter areas in which the Congress has legislative jurisdiction. Should Congress's jurisdiction be narrowed, broadened, or left as is? Please explain your answer

The United States is a federalist system, meaning that legislative authority is dispersed between two tiers of government, federal and state. The Congress maintains legislative jurisdiction in a vast range of subject-matters specified in the US Constitution. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress enumerated powers. This section grants Congress authority over financial and budgetary matters, through the enumerated power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.

The Constitution also grants Congress exclusively the power to appropriate funds. Other powers granted to Congress include the authority to borrow money on the credit of the United States, regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states, and coin money. The Constitution also gives Congress an important role in national defence (power to declare war, maintain the armed forces and to make rules for the military). Congress also has the power to establish post offices and post roads, issue patents and copyrights, fix standards of weights and measures.

The United States Congress is a bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States of America. It consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives ("lower house") and the Senate ("upper house"). The U. S. Constitution has a great impact on the U. S. law. It gives the Congress the power to enact federal law on certain subjects. Article I of the U. S. Constitution vests all legislative power in the Congress. In this manner the House and the Senate are equal partners in the legislative process.

According to the Constitution, all powers not delegated to Congress are reserved to the states. In other words states can pass laws on matters in which the Constitution does not grant jurisdiction to the federal government. In view of this it is necessary to examine the U. S. Constitution to explain the legislative power of Congress. In Article I, Section 8 includes numerous explicit powers ("Enumerated Powers"). Congress also has implied powers derived from the "Necessary and Proper" Clause or the "Commerce Clause" of the Constitution.

Furthermore "Constitutional Amendments" have granted more power for Congress. In order to the listed legislative jurisdiction power above, the U. S. Congress is a very powerful institution. On the one hand it may be argued that the power of Congress is to strong because of the "Commerce Clause" or the "Necessary and Proper" Clause. Broad interpretations of this clauses have effectively widened the scope of Congress' legislative authority far beyond that prescribed in Article I, Section 8 U. S. Constitution.

On the other hand it can be argued that in a federal country, like the United States (with its fifty states and its own constitutions) need a strong and powerful federal jurisdiction to rule the country. Further, this ruling can only be guaranteed by a strong and powerful Congress. On the contrary all federal and all state laws in the United States have to comply with the U. S. Constitution. And while state constitutions may expand rights granted to citizens, they cannot take away rights granted by the federal Constitution. Federal statutory consists of laws passed by the U.

S. Congress under the rules by the U. S. Constitution. This statute can be blocked from passage by a veto from the President (Article II Section 2 U. S. Constitution). A federal statute is also subject for review by the federal courts and may be declared unconstitutional. These are important elements of the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances under the U. S. Constitution. In the following example the U. S. Supreme Court issued a decision that narrowed and defined the scope of Congress' authority to regulate under its commerce powers.

In United States v. Lopez19 the U. S. Supreme Court restricted the extent of Congress' Commerce Clause powers by setting forth three broad categories20 of activity that it may regulate. 21 The court reasoned that if it were to allow Congress to regulate activities far removed from commerce, then there would be no limits on its powers under the Commerce Clause. Since the Constitution clearly creates a Congress with "Enumerated Powers" such regulation is not allowed. In my opinion the Congress jurisdiction should be left as it is.

It is fundamental in a liberal democracy to have legislative authority dispersed between two tiers of government, namely the federal and state governments, and then further separated through three different arms of government, namely the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The current framework, which allows Congress to legislate on matters of national importance and leaves all other matters in the jurisdiction of the more localised state governments strikes this balance well.