Facts: Klein sued in the Court of claims under a Fed statute allowing citizens who had abandoned property to Fed troops during Civil War to recover compensation for it, if they could satisfy a loyalty requirement. Klein won in the court of claims, on the strengths of earlier cases holding that a general presidential pardon satisfied the statutory requirement that the claimant not have been a supporter of the Confederacy. Before the govt’s appeal was heard in the Court, Congress passed a new statute providing that a presidential pardon would show the opposite; the statute also provided that the court of claims and the Court were both without jurisdiction to decide cases where a pardon had been granted.
Holding: The Court in Klein struck down the statute as unconstitutional, on the grounds that it violated the separation of powers and invaded the judicial function.
Rule: Any jurisdictional limitation must be neutral; that is, Congress may not decide the merits of a case under the guise of limiting jurisdiction.
– Practical Limitation: There is also a practical limitation upon Congress’ ability to cut back on the appellate jurisdiction of the Court. If Congress is motivated by hostility to a particular Court decision, defeating its own purpose—the adverse precedent will be left in the books. Destroy UNIFORMITY.
Question: Does this ruling overrule Ex Part McCardle?
No it adds a limitation to Congress’ power. Congress also has to abide by the Constitution and the Constitution employed system where every branch is checked and balanced. Congress cannot set limitation of a specific issue in order to affect the outcome of a case.
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