Congress

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In the United States, the federal Congress has the power to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts.

The powers of the federal Congress are listed in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution.

Partial list of powers[edit | edit source]

Congress has the power to not legislate on a subject. Additionally, to check the power of the POTUS, Congress can override the presidential veto with a 2/3 (67%) super-majority.

Congress can

  • not fund the government
  • remove senior federal officers after impeachment by 50% of the House & conviction by 67% of the Senate

Generally, a bill may be introduced in either the House or the Senate.

House[edit | edit source]

As of 2023, the House has 435 members.

  • Debate is highly restricted
  • Committees are powerful
  • Amendments must be germane
  • Bills related to taxes [raise revenue] must start in the House
  • There are no filibusters

Senate[edit | edit source]

Because of its fewer members at 100, debate in the Senate is less limited.

  • Amendments to bills don't have to be germane; these are called riders.
  • International treaties must start in the Senate.
  • Presidential nominees are only confirmed in the Senate. Treaties stay with the Senate where they requires a 67% vote.
  • Senate has filibusters.

Cloture[edit | edit source]

Under the traditional cloture rule (1970s - 2013), 60 of the 100 Senators must agree for a vote to be tallied.

Anticommandeering Doctrine[edit | edit source]

Based on the Anticommandeering Doctrine, the federal Congress cannot command the policies of state legislatures. However, the federal Congress can incentivize state and local police to enforce federal law. This is based on the 10th Amendment to the US Consitution.

State courts aren't accorded the protection from SCOTUS rulings. The Supremacy Clause requires the state courts to abide by and be commanded by federal SCOTUS rulings.

Printz v. United States (1997) is a SCOTUS case in which a federal law ("Brady Act") commanding states to conduct background checks on firearms buyers was deemed unconstitutional.

See also[edit | edit source]