It never ceases to amaze me how often Republicans claim to be all about the Constitution, while constantly proving that they don’t even understand the very basics of it. While there are clearly parts of our Constitution that leave the door open for debate and interpretation, the very structure of how our government is set up – as well as how the system of checks and balances work – is fairly straightforward.
And as most of us know, the main purpose of our Supreme Court is to serve as the judiciary branch of our government to interpret the rule of law and our Constitution. That way if a law is passed that might violate the Constitutional rights of Americans, there’s a branch of our government that’s there (in theory at least) to be an impartial interpreter of whether or not the law in question is, in fact, legal.
It’s what we’re currently seeing play out as it pertains to marriage equality and whether or not states have the right to ban gay Americans from marrying. Obviously the argument by many is that banning gay marriage is a violation of the Constitutional rights of gay Americans and the argument against marriage equality is typically just some unconstitutional gibberish. In several cases they’ve literally tried to argue that because two homosexuals can’t naturally reproduce, that should negate them from being allowed to marry. As if procreation has ever been a precursor to marriage for anyone.
And if all goes as most expect it to, in a few weeks the Supreme Court will once and for all put an end to state-level bans on same-sex marriage, finally opening the door for marriage equality in all 50 states.
Naturally, many Republicans aren’t exactly thrilled with that prospect.
But it seems newly minted GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson doesn’t believe that a president has to listen to what the Supreme Court says, even though our Constitution completely contradicts that statement.
“First of all, we have to understand how the Constitution works. The president is required to carry out the laws of the land, the laws of the land come from the legislative branch,” Carson said. “So if the legislative branch creates a law or changes a law, the executive branch has a responsibly to carry it out. It doesn’t say they have the responsibility to carry out a judicial law. And that’s something we need to talk about.”
Granted, he is right in his assessment of how we pass laws – congratulations Mr. Carson for at least knowing that much.
But what he completely fails to understand that our legislative and executive branches still can’t pass unconstitutional laws. They can pass Constitutional Amendments (which then means the Supreme Court can only interpret that amendment) but that’s far more difficult than just passing your run of the mill law.
So, unless there’s a Constitutional Amendment passed declaring same-sex marriage illegal, which isn’t ever going to happen, the president does have to abide by what the Supreme Court says.
And that’s not because a president chooses to – but because our Constitution says so.