Opinion of the Court
of the Constitution may not lawfully be revised, overturned or refused faith and credit by another Department of Government"); United States v. O'Grady, 22 Wall. 641, 647-648 (1875) ("Judicial jurisdiction implies the power to hear and determine a cause, and . . . Congress cannot subject the judgments of the Supreme Court to the re-examination and revision of any other tribunal"); Gordon v. United States, 117 U. S. Appx. 697, 700-704 (1864) (opinion of Taney, C. J.) ( judgments of Article III courts are "final and conclusive upon the rights of the parties"); Hayburn's Case, 2 Dall., at 411 (opinion of Wilson and Blair, JJ., and Peters, D. J.) ("[R]evision and control" of Article III judgments is "radically inconsistent with the independence of that judicial power which is vested in the courts"); id., at 413 (opinion of Iredell, J., and Sitgreaves, D. J.) ("[N]o decision of any court of the United States can, under any circumstances, . . . be liable to a revision, or even suspension, by the [l]egislature itself, in whom no judicial power of any kind appears to be vested"). See also Pennsylvania v. Wheeling & Belmont Bridge Co., 18 How. 421, 431 (1856) ("[I]t is urged, that the act of congress cannot have the effect and operation to annul the judgment of the court already rendered, or the rights determined thereby . . . . This, as a general proposition, is certainly not to be denied, especially as it respects adjudication upon the private rights of parties. When they have passed into judgment the right becomes absolute, and it is the duty of the court to enforce it"). Today those clear statements must either be honored, or else proved false.
It is true, as petitioners contend, that Congress can always revise the judgments of Article III courts in one sense: When a new law makes clear that it is retroactive, an appellate court must apply that law in reviewing judgments still on appeal that were rendered before the law was enacted, and must alter the outcome accordingly. See United States v. Schooner Peggy, 1 Cranch 103 (1801); Landgraf v. USI Film Products, 511 U. S. 244, 273-280 (1994). Since that isPage: Index Previous 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Next
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