Rachel Maddow Forced To Explain How Government Works To Clueless Rick Santorum (Video)

msnbc-maddow-santorumEven though it’s been nearly a month since the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional, there still remain some Republicans who insist on proving that they don’t understand how our Constitution works. It’s really rather astonishing to me because this isn’t a complicated issue. After these bans were challenged in our courts, they found their way to the Supreme Court which went on to rule that they violated the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing every American equal protection under our laws.


I think it goes without saying that GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum happens to be one of those Republicans who is either willfully being ignorant about a fairly simple understanding of our Constitution or he’s simply pandering for votes even though he knows his “argument” doesn’t even have a sliver of a legal leg on which to stand.

Well, Rachel Maddow absolutely owned the former Pennsylvania senator as she essentially had to break down how our Constitution works, the purpose of our Supreme Court and that our Congress doesn’t have the power to pass unconstitutional laws.

“You’re fundamentally wrong on civics,” Maddow said. “If there is a question as to the constitutionality of a law, it gets adjudicated. The second syllable in that word means it gets decided in the judiciary. The Supreme Court decides whether or not a law is constitutional. So you could not now pass a law that said, ‘We’re banning same-sex marriage.’”

Santorum then argued that Congress can pass whatever it wants and that becomes “law” – which, of course, isn’t really true. Congress cannot pass unconstitutional laws. The Affordable Care Act is a great example of a congressionally passed law (one I’m sure he wishes would have been overturned) that was challenged and ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court – as Constitutional.

Twice! 

The only real way to overrule a Supreme Court ruling is by passing a Constitutional amendment which is much more difficult than simply passing a law.

“If the Congress comes back and says, ‘We disagree with you, and we’re able to pass a law and get it signed by the president, saying the courts are wrong,” Santorum stated.

“No, you could not pass a law that could contradict the constitutional ruling of the Supreme Court,” Maddow countered.

“Why?” Santorum asked again.

“Because they’re ruling on the constitutionality of that law,” she responded.

Amazing, isn’t it? Santorum was once a United States senator yet he doesn’t even seem to grasp high school-level government. The main purpose of our Supreme Court is to determine the constitutionality of our laws – period. They interpret the Constitution and whether or not the laws passed by our federal, state and local governments are constitutional.


It really is that simple.

Thankfully we don’t have to worry about Rick Santorum coming anywhere near the White House unless he takes the tour or is invited by the actual president. If you can’t even understand the basic definition of what our Supreme Court does, you sure as hell don’t have any business being President of the United States.

Watch the segment below via MSNBC:




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • wendy

    Im guessing illegal immigrants understand basic govt. functions betterthan this ignorant fool.
    Pathetic how having an ounce of intelligence is NOT a prerequisite to become the POTUS

    • Leroy Morte

      I was going to disagree with you, seeing as how no one has elected Frothy president yet, so maybe some modicum of intelligence is required. But then I remembered that the Shrub got himself elected, and an ex-actor Alzheimer patient, and I fear you may be correct.

  • He’s like an auto mechanic not knowing about how this here ‘gasoline’ works.

  • Nancy B

    He was once my senator. Those were entertaining years.

    • Philacook

      Mine to. I was so ashamed.

  • Bepe13

    There was a reason that “civics” classes were done away with in our public schools and that was because students learned how our government was supposed to work under the Constitution. Those in the “know” or those in control rather, knew that if they could deprive our students of basic information about how government operates, then they truly had the upper hand. They won on that!

    • Christine

      Civics still is taught, at least in California schools.

  • kathy_lowen

    Santorum and the rest of the Religious Right can’t bring themselves to saying publicly what they actually think privately…. that they believe their notion of “God’s Law” trumps even the U.S. Constitution.

  • R. Eilers

    Maddow is wrong this time. Just because scotus rules a law constitutional for instance ACA, doesn’t mean congress cant pass a law that ends the ACA law. But in the case of equal rights congress cant just pass a law the grants unequal rights unless they repeal the 14th amendment or create a new amendment

    • Terry Tiller

      No, Congress cannot pass a law that summarily does away with the ACA. The House could, of course, pass legislation that de-funds it (like they continually try to do to Planned Parenthood), but that is not the same thing at all.

      • R. Eilers

        Yes you explained it better than I did

    • redape

      They could attempt (ignoring all the chaos a summary repeal would bring), but it would likely confront a Presidential Veto. That means they would have to obtain 2/3rds of both Houses to reverse the veto.

      • Grey Star

        That Presidential Veto will belong to a different President in 17 months. It’s not like Dems can run out the clock.

  • Shari Tarbet

    well, someone had to do it. She would did it correctly and admirably, and he would completely ignore it. Candidates for the federal level of government should be required to pass an 8th grade test on how our government works to show any level of competency in the job.