The Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court
On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States therefore proposed to the state legislatures 12 amendments to the Constitution that met arguments most frequently advanced against it. The first two proposed amendments, which concerned the number of constituents for each Representative and the compensation of Congressmen, were not ratified. Articles 3 to 12, however, ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.
The first Congress divided the nation into districts and created federal courts for each district. Our present structure evolved from that: the Supreme Court, 13 courts of appeals, 94 district courts, and two courts of special jurisdiction. Congress today retains the power to create and abolish federal courts, and to determine number of judges in federal judiciary system. Second, the civil-commitment statute before us constitutes a modest addition to a set of federal prison-related mental-health statutes that have existed for many decades. We recognize that even a longstanding history of related federal action does not demonstrate a statute's constitutionality. A history of involvement, however, can nonetheless be helpful in reviewing the substance of a congressional statutory scheme and, in particular, the reasonableness of the relation between the new statute and pre-existing federal interests.Third, Congress reasonably extended its longstanding civil-commitment system to covermentally ill and sexually dangerous persons who are already in federal custody, even if doing sodetains them beyond the termination of their criminal sentence. For one thing, the FederalGovernment is the custodian of its prisoners. As federal custodian, it has the constitutional powerto act in order to protect nearby (and other) communities from the danger federal prisoners maypose. In operating an institution such as (a prison...
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