The Supreme Dilemma

Jun 15, 2012 by

In recent days, the Supreme Court has become an institution of much contention.  The president, though he denies the intent of his remark, made the claim that it was unprecedented that this unelected body would overturn a piece of legislation constituted by a large majority of congress.  Now, for me to attack our president on this claim would be easy and common.  However, I would like to examine the truth in his claim.

The president was speaking on Judicial Activism.  The court has become so politicized that the document of the Constitution is no longer a document to be reviewed for what it says, but a document to be reviewed for what it could be interpreted to say.  The Constitution is a living document.  However, what does that mean?  The meaning, for me, is that the constitution is not perfect, but is able to change with the needs of the society which formed it, through the amendment process.  However, for many high ranking judges, including some of those on the supreme court who is “above politics”, a living document does not mean that it can be changed through amendments, but interpretation.  This is similar to the bible, if you would like to think about it that way.  The bible justifies every christian religion there is, depending on your interpretation.  But, notice a main difference in belief.  No religion, or even person, claims that we should interpret the bible to fit our wants, but that we should interpret it for what it is intended to say.  The disagreement lies in original intent.  However, now this absurd notion has risen that we can interpret the constitution towards our wants, not towards its original intent.  This is dangerous.  Now, I believe the president is correct when he claims that the supreme court is politicized and not interpreting the constitution how it was meant to be interpreted.  However, I believe it for the opposite reason.  It is likely that on the Health Care case before the Supreme Court, we will see a 5 to 4 decision one way or another.  However, the fact that it is not 9 to 0 to strike it down is really telling.  Read the constitution for yourself, there is nothing in there about congress possessing the right to mandate a product for consumption.  The regulation of commerce was intended to apply to interstate tariffs and the rules of operation for commerce over state lines.  A mandate to buy health care is not such a commerce.  You purchase it in your state, since no one bothered to repeal the ban on the trading of health care over state lines.  Thus, I fail to see how this applies.  The claim is also that it is a tax.  This is the first ever tax on inaction.  A tax on inaction really should be considered a penalty, in my opinion.  Thus, I fail to see how any justice can uphold this law.

So, when the president attacks the Supreme Court, he is not wrong in his accusations that it is politicized.  He is wrong in his evidence.  Those who wish health care to be constitutional need to seek it through the amendment process.  To do so through legislation and court approval is contrary to the intent of the system.  And, if we fail to uphold the system, we are no longer a government of laws, but of individual whims.  And a government of whims is nothing more than a tyranny.

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  1. joeltaylor1989

    You fail to raise as to why this is dangerous. Not that I completely disagree, but is it not possible that our constitution becomes defined by our courts. I mean, that is the problem with law, that unless you specifically say something in a contract, it is possible that it could be interpreted the other way. The Constitution relied a bit too much on implications for a legal document, which is understandable for the time. But, we have the power to amend it so as to better defend its intent in our legal system.
    Also, I don’t think anyone ever thought, since the reign of Chief Justice Marshal, that the court is above politics.
    Finally, you propose a problem with no remedy. You anger people about the court, and what do you do about it? You say that that is the way things are. But how can you change it? Take the humanity out of them?

  2. The End Is Near

    The Constitution is for the people. Why not let us do what we want with it?

  3. joeltaylor1989

    In a way, we have done what we want with it. The courts, for a long time, have not respected the limits of the Constitution. However, we, in turn, have not done anything to remedy the situation. Rather, it seems as though the people have adopted a system in which the courts define the constitution as they see fit. When they disagree with the people, it is an activist court. When they agree with the people, they are the defenders of the constitution. Thus, in the minds of many, the constitution has become a document which is to be used when the people favor it, and tossed aside when the people do not. It seems as though the Supreme Court has simply taken the role of who misconstrues the constitution in place of a general election to misconstrue the constitution.

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