Can Congress Force the Supreme Court to Open the Front Door?

August 22nd, 2010

I previously blogged about the Supreme Court deciding to permanently seal the majestic front doors, over the dissent of Justices Breyer and Ginsburg. It seems Congress is not taking this sitting down. Frequent commenter Steve Rappoport points me to this WaPo article titled Resolution opens door to dialogue about Supreme Court, security.

But now Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) has joined the ranks of dissenters, but perhaps her dissent will carry more weight. Late last month, she introduced a resolution calling on the Supreme Court to change its mind and reopen the iconic doors. She has more than 30 co-sponsors. She is seeking more allies and says she will reintroduce the resolution in the next Congress if need be.

I wonder if Congress could order the Court to open the door. Perhaps deny the Court funding for this security regime unless the door is opened? I recall that Breyer and Thomas had to testify in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee to justify their budget. Perhaps Congress can attach strings.

Interesting separation of powers issues here.

Would this issue even be justiciable? This certainly seems like a political question, though I find it hard to believe the Justices would take this sitting down. I do not have the time to research this, but I wonder if the Court has ever considered the power of Congress to tell the Court what to do with respect to the operation of the facility.