State Representative Dr. Julio Gonzalez, a Venice republican, has proposed legislation to allow the Florida legislature to override Florida Supreme Court decisions. This proposed law has caused much discussion.
The Federalists Papers, No. 78, provides that the nonpolitical branch having “neither force nor will, only judgment” must have power “to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the constitution void.” The Federalists Papers are a foundation text of constitutional interpretation and frequently cited by American jurists. Federalists No. 78 indicates that the federal judiciary has the power to determine whether statutes are constitutional, and to find them invalid if in conflict with the Constitution.
This principle of judicial review was cemented by Chief Justice John Marshall in the foundational United States Supreme Court case of Marbury v. Madison.
Representative Gonzalez cites Thomas Jefferson in support of his legislation. Jefferson proposed that judicial review is antithetical to republican government.
Unfortunately for Representative Gonzalez’s proposed legislation, history shows us that Thomas Jefferson and the anti-federalists lost this argument when the United States Constitution was ratified. Representative Gonzalez, a surgeon and a lawyer, has a misplaced understanding of our Constitution as defined by the Supreme Court.