Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Ellis Wayne Felker (Defendant), while on death row, twice petitioned the federal courts for a writ of habeas corpus. While his second petition was pending, Congress passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”).
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Congress may limit Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) jurisdiction under the Exceptions and Regulations Clause of the United States Constitution (Constitution).
Held. Yes. Petition denied for want of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court notes that the AEDPA does not remove jurisdiction of the Court to entertain original petitions for writs of habeas corpus, but only limits (defines exceptions to) its appellate jurisdiction over subsequent petitions.
Discussion. The Supreme Court determines that the AEDPA does not unconstitutionally suspend the writ of habeas corpus (original petitions are still allowed), while its limitation of appellate jurisdiction is expressly authorized by the constitution.