Ben Carson Still Totally Clueless About the Constitution

Ben Carson declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination and it only took him a couple days to prove yet again that he is utterly clueless about the Constitution. He thinks that not only do states not have to follow Supreme Court rulings, the federal government doesn’t either.

Yesterday on Newsmax TV, Ben Carson said that the federal government does not need to recognize a Supreme Court decision on gay marriage because the president is only obligated to recognize laws passed by Congress, not judicial rulings.

“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.”

There is no such thing as a “judicial law,” but the Supreme Court does have the power to overturn laws passed by the legislature and therefore cannot be enforced by the executive branch. Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist 78 that this ability is so crucial to maintaining a free society that without it, all of the rights protected by the Constitution would be rendered meaningless:

The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

And of course, Carson would only make this argument when he disagrees with the Supreme Court. If the court had ruled that the government cannot force people to buy health insurance in the first challenge to the Affordable Care Act and Obama had said, “the legislative branch creates a law or changes a law, the executive branch has a responsibly to carry it out. It doesn’t say I have the responsibility to carry out a judicial law,” can you even imagine the outcry from Carson and other conservatives? TYRANNY! HITLER! REVOLUTION!

If the Supreme Court rules in a way Carson likes, you know damn well he would say that the president is bound by that ruling. Only if they rule in a way he doesn’t like would he make this idiotic argument.

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  • grumpyoldfart

    Millions of Americans are probably nodding their heads in agreement and telling themselves, “That’s just the sort of knowledgeable fellow we need in the White House.”

  • jimmiraybob

    I assume separating the credulous and uninformed from from cash is less stressful than separating conjoined twins. Less annoying insurance paperwork too.

  • John Pieret

    we have to understand how the Constitution works

    It would be nice if you went first.

    Carson would only make this argument when he disagrees with the Supreme Court

    Ask him what he would think if Obama ignored the Hobby Lobby decision and made all companies provide contraception coverage?

  • colnago80

    Re jimmiraybob # $2

    May even be more lucrative.

  • tbp1

    It’s really, really sad to see someone who has, in all fairness, achieved a great deal against enormous odds, turn into such a caricature.

    And I would love to see a Venn diagram showing the overlap of his supporters with those who thought Senator Obama lacked the “experience” needed to be president.

  • dcsohl

    So now we have a spectacle of a Republican saying Congress (and thus the Feds) can do anything they want (as long as it doesn’t violate a specific clause in the Constitution). I thought they were the party of small government?

  • whheydt

    It would be fun to watch Carson tie himself in knots trying to explain that states aren’t bound by Loving v. Virginia.

  • RickR

    First of all, we have to understand how the Constitution works

    HahahahaHAHAHAHAHA!!

  • dugglebogey

    It reminds me of how Sarah Palin doesn’t understand how the first amendment works, and she supposedly has a degree in journalism.

  • theDukedog7 .

    Carson is exactly right. The Constitution nowhere gives the courts the power to overturn laws passed by the legislature and signed by the executive. That power was usurped by the Court in Marbury v Madison, and became precedent.

    In fact, the Constitution gives Congress the power to curtail the jurisdiction of the federal courts, limiting the laws on which the courts may issue rulings. The federal courts are constitutionally the creation of congress, and may be dissolved by them. Only the Supreme Court has an independent constitutional status, but the Constitution does not provide it with the power to overturn laws.

    One can argue about the wisdom of the precedent in Marbury, but one cannot argue about the fact that the Constitution provides no authority for the courts to overturn laws.

    Carson knows a hell of a lot more about the Constitution than you do, Ed. I bet you think “separation of church and state”” is in the Constitution too.

  • colnago80

    Hey Dukedog7, where in the Constitution is the power to establish an Air Force stated? The Constitution only mentions armies and navies.

  • theDukedog7 .

    Pretty stupid comment, #11. You should check with your mommy before you post silly things.

    Carson made the observation that judicial review is not mentioned in the Constitution. He’s right.

  • colnago80

    Re Dukedog7 @ #12

    Not surprisingly, Dukedog7 failed to answer the question posed in comment #11. That’s because he doesn’t have an answer. There is nothing in the constitution authorizing the Congress to establish an air force. Period, end of story. In addition, unlike Dukedog7, I know who my mommy was.

  • StevoR

    The US Constitution : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution

    For those who may want to check ..

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Ed

    There is no such thing as a “judicial law,” but the Supreme Court does have the power to overturn laws passed by the legislature and therefore cannot be enforced by the executive branch.

    Maybe he meant “case law”? In our case law system, judges regularly do create law. That’s why it’s called “case law”. Case law is binding just like any law passed by the legislative. Yes there are differences, but judges do create law. I suggest that you Ed go first in understanding how the constitution works and how our legal system works.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law

    PS:

    And colnago80 makes a good point. Miracles.