Exceptions Clause

Exceptions Clause

The Exceptions and Regulations clause of the United States Constitution (Art. III, § 2, Cl. 2) grants Congress the power to make exceptions to the constitutionally-defined appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

This clause has led to Congress engaging in what is commonly referred to as jurisdiction stripping, or quickly changing the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction in order to prevent the Court from overturning a law that it wants kept in place. Legal scholars have hotly debated whether this practice is what the Framers had in mind when the clause was drafted.


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