In the first installment of the Spring 2012 Faculty Workshop Series, sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, Professor Tara L. Grove, Assistant Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School, came to speak Friday about the draft of her article, The Exceptions Clause as a Structural Safeguard.
The Exceptions Clause of the Constitution, which provides that the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction is subject to “such Exceptions, and … such Regulations as the Congress shall make,” has long been viewed as a threat to the Court’s central constitutional function: establishing definitive and uniform rules of federal law. In the article, Professor Grove argues that the clause has been fundamentally misunderstood. Indeed, she argues that Congress has a strong incentive to use its control over federal jurisdiction to promote the Court’s role in settling disputed federal questions. When the Court’s docket grew unmanageable, Congress used the Exceptions Clause to replace the Court’s mandatory review with discretionary review. Prof. Grove asserts that Congress has used its power to safeguard the Supreme Court’s essential role in the constitutional scheme rather than undermine it.
Many thanks to Professor Grove for visiting W&L and sharing her paper with the faculty.