Hoyer: Republicans Court-Stripping Bill is Misguided and Unconstitutional

Whip Says Congress Should Focus on More Important Priorities Like Minimum Wage Increase

For Immediate Release:

July 19, 2006

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement in opposition to the Republicans' court-stripping bill, and in favor of defeating the Previous Question, which would have allowed a vote on increasing the minimum wage:

"I believe that our Pledge of Allegiance - with its use of the phrase "one nation, under God" - is entirely consistent with our nation's cultural and historical traditions. I also believe that the decision by the United States District Court in Sacramento in September 2005 holding that the use of this phrase is unconstitutional is plainly misguided.

"Yet today, with this radical court-stripping bill, our Republican friends completely overreact to this lone district court decision, which I believe is likely to be overturned. This legislation would bar any federal court - including the Supreme Court - from reviewing any claim that challenges the recitation of the pledge on First Amendment grounds.

"Let us be clear: this bill is as unnecessary as it is unconstitutional. It would contradict the principle of judicial review articulated in Marbury v. Madison; intrude on the principle of separation of powers; degrade our independent federal judiciary; and set a dangerous precedent. If this end-run of judicial review becomes law, what's next? No judicial review of laws restricting freedom of speech or religion?  Of laws affecting the right to vote?

"Furthermore, this House should not be spending its time today addressing a single federal court decision that should be overturned on appeal. What we should be doing is taking up legislation providing a long-overdue increase in the federal minimum wage, which has stood at $5.15 per hour since 1997.
          
"An estimated 6.6 million American workers would benefit from the Democratic proposal to increase the minimum wage by $2.10 per hour over the next two years. Increasing the minimum wage is a matter of doing what's right, what's just and what's fair.  Americans who work hard and play by the rules should not be relegated to poverty.  I urge my colleagues to vote no on the previous question, which will allow us to consider legislation increasing the federal minimum wage."
 

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