Brief Fact Summary. The Respondent, Klein (Respondent), brought suit in the United States Court of Claims, seeking compensation for property taken during the Civil War. The Respondent now argues for affirmation on appeal.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Although Congress has power to limit the appellate jurisdiction of the federal courts, it may not use this power to effectively prescribe a rule for the decision of cases before the courts.
And the Legislature cannot change the effect of such a pardon any more than the executive can change a law.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Is the statute in question a valid exercise of congressional authority under the Exceptions and Regulations Clause of the United States Constitution (Constitution)?
Held. No. Judgment affirmed.
By requiring the courts to make a specific finding of fact in a case over which the court has jurisdiction and then removing the court’s jurisdiction after the finding, Congress is not limiting jurisdiction, but rather prescribing a rule of decision for the courts.
Congress impaired the presidential pardons by requiring that they be inadmissible as evidence in these cases. The President of the United States has the constitutional authority to pardon offenses. By disallowing the full effect of the pardons, Congress attempted to reduce the President’s constitutional authority.
Discussion. United States v. Klein does not represent Exceptions and Regulations jurisprudence as much as it represents the separation of powers outlined in the United States Constitution. The statute overreached the power of Congress by attempting to exercise authorities constitutionally delegated to the judicial and executive branches.