Originally Posted by Sideways
I just want to pass on something my district representative to my state legislature once told me. His statement was that it IS NOT the responsibility of the legislature to ensure that the laws that are passed are constitutional. This statement applies to the US Congress just as much as it does to a state legislature. Who makes that decision? The courts after a bill has been signed into law and that usually happens in a case when a defendant challenges the constitutionality after the fact. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Does my signature below strike a nerve?
Your legislator is right, but for the wrong reasons. The responsibility for determining constitutionality of a law is with the people and the judicial branch. Another way to say that is that the courts are granted the constitutional power to decide controversies arising under the law.
To make Congress responsible for determining the constitutionality of their own legislation would require them to have the powers assigned to the judicial branch. Granting Congress such power, they would have the ability to write any law they wished and declare that law to be legal. Isn't that one of the problems you pointed out about Nazi Germany?