Ben Carson Questions The Supreme Court's Authority & His Comments Are A Little Worrisome
Should the president be required to observe the Supreme Court’s decisions? Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson isn’t so sure. In an interview on Fox News Sunday this week, Carson called the court into question. In his opinion, it’s high time that we evaluated the court’s role in our government, and, moreover, that reevaluation should extend all the way back to the court’s first-ever big decision in 1803, when the landmark Marbury v. Madison case established the court’s authority to review the constitutionality of laws.
Carson claimed we need to discuss the power of the high court and the president’s obligation to heed to its decisions because “it has changed from the original intent.” He differentiated between the laws passed by Congress versus the laws that emanate from the courts, which he described as “judicial laws.”
Furthermore, he said that while the president should always obey the former, the latter should be left more open to his or her discretion. That’s because, according to Carson, while the Constitution specifies that presidents must adhere to the laws of the land, the legislative branch, not the judiciary branch, provides those laws. He told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, in response to whether presidents should be required to enforce Supreme Court decisions:
Well, Dred Scott, a perfect example. You know, the Supreme Court came up with this and Abraham Lincoln did not agree with it. Now, admittedly, it caused a lot of conflict, and eventually led to a Civil War, but we're in a better place for it.
Interestingly, Carson’s questioning of the Supreme Court coincides with the high court’s case on same-sex marriage. In April, the court began to hear oral arguments in regards to some states’ bans on same-sex marriage. If the court rules that the states’ definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman unconstitutional, the possibility of same-sex marriage may open up across the country. The court is expected to reach a decision by June.
Carson, notably, is vehemently against same-sex marriage. Just last week, he told a Talking Points Memo reporter that the definition of marriage ought not to be changed. His reasoning: If you “change the definition of marriage for one group, what do you say to the next group?” He did not, however, explain exactly what the next group might be.
However, Carson’s comments on Sunday further bolster his previous implications that the President of the United States would not have to hold up the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. If Carson manages to snag the nomination in 2016, it’s not hard to guess what he would do with the Supreme Court gay marriage ruling if its definition is changed.
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