United States Constitution

PREAMBLE : We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution



Exceptions Clause

Introduction Important Cases
Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 reads as follows: “The Court has original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party. The Court has appellate jurisdiction in all other cases, except as Congress makes by regulation.“This last sentence, known as the Exceptions Clause, is a very specific, but important, limit on the power of the Supreme Court. Appellate jurisdiction means that the Court is able to hear all types of cases, but only if they are first heard by some lower court. It is only those topics in the first sentence, where the Constitution refers to “original jurisdiction,” where a case can be brought straight to the Supreme Court (see Marbury v. Madison (1803) and Judicial Review). However, according to the Exceptions Clause, Congress could actually take away the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court if it so chose.For example, in Ex parte McCardle (1869), a man was arrested for writing articles critical of Reconstruction (the term for the government actions taken in the wake of the Civil War). After a trial, while his appeal was pending to the Supreme Court, Congress amended the statute involved in the case, stripping away the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction over the issue. The Court held that it could not rule on Mr. McCardle’s case.In recent decades, a modern scholarly interpretation of the clause has been put forward, known as the “Essential Function Test.” This approach suggests that though the text of the Constitution appears to grant this power to Congress without reservation – meaning Congress could remove all Ex parte McCardle (1869)