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What Congress is Doing to Curb the Supreme Court – July 1957

“Congress is starting to strike back at the Supreme Court. A score of bills have been introduced to curb the Court’s power and to sidestep the effects of controversial decisions. The House Judiciary Committee, “as a matter of the highest urgency,” has appointed a special subcommittee to look into this year’s decisions.

The group is to investigate particularly the decisions that limited the power of congressional investigating committees; that weakened the laws against subversives, and that made enforcement of criminal laws more difficult.

A special subcommittee in the House is expected to come up with proposals to strike down or at least weaken the effect of three other [Court] decisions [including one holding] that communists were free to preach their subversive doctrine so long as they didn’t openly advocate action to apply it.

It is clear that a growing number of Congressmen are convinced that new laws must be passed to overcome the effects [of recent Court decisions]. Other Congressmen propose to go much further and trim the powers of the Court itself.

Senator Herman Talmadge (Dem.) of Georgia, for example, proposes to amend the code of laws to remove public schools from the jurisdiction of federal courts. Others have offered amendments to the Constitution giving States the exclusive power to regulate schools and all other matters relating to health and morals.

Behind all of the proposals affecting appointment of Justices is the objection in Congress that recent decisions have been more political than judicial in purpose and in effect.

Senator Talmadge also is sponsoring a bill to require the Court to give a full hearing, with oral argument, on any case that it decides. His contention is that the Court acted in at least 10 cases during the recent term without hearing arguments.

All of these bills, in effect, are telling the Court that it is asserting too much power over Congress, the President, and the States.”

(What Congress is Doing to Curb the Supreme Court, US News & World Report, July 12, 1957, pg. 50)

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