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Israel has no formal constitution. Instead, it has a series of "foundational laws" that can only be changed by a supermajority and serve as a de facto constitution. In 1992, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that any new law found to violate these foundational laws can be struck down as unconstitutional. Not surprisingly, some Knesset (parliament) members were not happy with this.

My question, then, is can Congress bypass U.S. Supreme Court decisions with a supermajority of its own? I'm not saying this is the case, but every branch is amenable to its own abuses of power. Theoretically, the courts can overreach their own powers. What systems/procedures are in place to counteract that? If enough members of Congress agreed, could they, for example, strike down landmark decisions like Roe v. Wade?

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Certain decisions can be overturned by Congress by a simple majority, as long as the president agrees and signs the bill into law. That is, Congress passes a modified law which changes the problem that existed in the previous law. They've done this many times. In the case of roe v Wade, there is something more fundamental involved, namely constitutionally protected rights. Congress alone cannot overcome the Supreme Court's position, but they would play a role in passing a new constitutional amendment that would address those protections.

However Congress could not overturn past effects of Supreme Court decisions, they could only change what future rulings would be, or what law would be enforced in the future.

  • Thanks. What do you mean by this part, "they could only change what future rulings would be, or what law would be enforced in the future"? – user27343 Jun 14 at 2:35
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There are a million different scenarios that could come up where the congress and supreme court would disagree, but the court normally hears cases on constitutional issues or other areas that would set a precedent.

Roe V. Wade can not be undone, fully, by congress because the case was originally about whether a law was constitutional or not. If the Supreme Court said that law was unconstitutional back then, a law that did the same thing would be unconstitutional now.

The constitution can be changed though.

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