In its Pledge to America, the GOP notes, "We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified." The passage makes Ben Adler of Newsweek uncomfortable:
Not so harmless, however, is the promise to require every bill to be certified as constitutional before it is voted on. We have a mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation, which is the independent judiciary. An extraconstitutional attempt to limit the powers of Congress is dangerous even as a mere suggestion, and it constitutes an encroachment on the judiciary.
Ramesh Ponnuru cries foul:
There's nothing -- nothing in the Constitution, nothing in Marbury v. Madison, nothing even in Cooper v. Aaron -- that suggests that congressmen cannot consider the constitutionality of laws while voting on them. That they can do so, which one would have hoped would be a banal idea, does not even challenge judicial supremacy: The courts can still be the final arbiter of constitutionality. The Pledge provision in question is "extraconstitutional" only in the trivial sense that the Constitution neither requires nor forbids it. And the provision is better understood as a spur to congressional self-restraint than as a "limit" on congressional power.
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