Friday, April 6, 2012

Does the Supreme Court have the authority to declare Acts of Congress unconstitutional?


Some of you may know my political leanings, although they aren’t important for the purposes of this post. Some of you may also know I am educated as a lawyer. Some of you even knew my father, a lawyer with one of the sharpest minds I’ve ever known. (I wish I had that sharpness now. I’m doubting my ability to communicate effectively what is burning within.)
Many of you have heard President Obama’s statements calling the Justices of the Supreme Court “unelected”, effectively calling into question the Supreme Court’s authority to declare a law unconstitutional. Apparently, it has even come to the point where the Department of Justice has issued a letter confirming the power of judicial review (as far back as Marbury v. Madison in 1803) while also urging that Acts of Congress are “presumptively constitutional” (a ruling as recent as Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. F.C.C. in 1993). (I’m sorry, Ted, but we don’t have broadcast television, and this is what I was able to read in the closed captioning while lunching with the family at McDonald’s yesterday, amid the clamor of six children, tearing up hamburger for the littlest one, and listening to my husband talk about his morning. Remember that question I asked you all a while back? I’m trying to do better!)
But I digress. Let me clarify a few things.
This post is not about being a Republican or a Democrat.
It is not about being conservative or liberal.
It is not even about the constitutionality of the government forcing American citizens to purchase government health care.
This post is about being an American.
It is about upholding the supreme law of the land – the Constitution.
This is about respecting the three branches of government and the system of checks and balances that our Founding Fathers so wisely put into place.
Remember seventh-grade Government class, when you stared out the window and doodled in your notebook, agonizing over how long class was? Remember learning about the executive, legislative, and judicial branches and what their jobs are, and wondering what in the world that could possibly have to do with you? Remember learning that if one branch oversteps its’ bounds, another branch will keep it in place, and that no one had any idea what was in the mystery meat the cafeteria served?
That stuff is important. (Not the doodle of your teacher with a handle bar mustache or the ingredients of the mystery meat. The three branches stuff.)
Today, your seventh-grade Government class applies to you.
Everyone who enjoys the prosperity of this country (yes, we are prosperous, even in a down economy) should appreciate and respect and uphold the Constitution and its elaborate system of checks and balances are important. The Constitution of the United States of America is why we have that prosperity today.
“The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme court….” Article III Section 1 of the United States Constitution
“The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made….”  Article III Section 2 of the United States Constitution
I wish I had the memory and the skill of legal analysis to be able to put together a point-by-point post for you. But I’m living a dream I didn’t know I had until I got it – staying at home and homeschooling six amazing children – and so not only am I so distracted most of the time by daily life that I can’t remember a lot of what I learned in law school but neither can I find the time to complete the necessary research.
In place of my own analysis, here are some excellent comments from Senator Mitch McConnell.
“At the end of the day, it’s the judiciary that ensures we’re a nation ruled by laws, not the whim of a President or a particular Congress.”
“We can all disagree about the merits of a President’s policies. But the American people should be able to expect that their President will defend the independence of the Court, not undermine it, safeguarding and strengthening our country’s institutions, not actively weakening them.”
Please click through to read Senator McConnell’s comments in this blog.
~Meghan
What do you think? Are you prepared to forfeit our system of checks and balances? Or do you think the President’s questioning of the authority of the Supreme Court is no big deal?
I’m proud to be a citizen of the United States of America, where we can form our own opinions and agree to disagree. I hope you are proud of being an American as well, so please be kind and respectful in your comments.


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1 comment:

  1. I AM A PROUD AMERICAN. And I think we do need to stand up for what we believe in. I have read the Constitution and think it should be upheld. I pray daily for our country. Read the Declaration of Independence. We do have rights.

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I so much appreciate your time and effort in leaving a comment, and I try to respond to as many as time permits. :-)