DeLay Continues to Blather About the Constitution

Tom DeLay loves to say that most Americans don’t understand the constitution, a point he underscores rather dramatically by not understanding the constitution. He’s still pushing the “we don’t have to listen to the Supreme Court” line.

DeLay lamented that “people don’t understand the constitution. We haven’t taught our children now for three or four generations what the Constitution is, and the separation of powers, and what our Founding Fathers had in mind as this brilliant understanding of how you can limit government and limit the tyranny put on us through people or oligarchies.”

Because of this supposed constitutional ignorance, DeLay claimed, “right now, the American people don’t understand that the Supreme Court, when it makes a ruling, it’s just an opinion if no one enforces that ruling. The Supreme Court doesn’t have a police force; the Supreme Court doesn’t have an army; the Supreme Court doesn’t have people that can enforce their ruling.” Therefore, if conservatives “stand up to them and invoke the Constitution, then we don’t have to accept a ruling on marriage that redefines marriage. And that’s basically what this ad is all about. We’re sending a message to the Supreme Court that, number one, it’s illegal that they have this case before them; it’s not in their jurisdiction.”

Proving his Constitutional prowess, DeLay argued that “it’s not in their authority to write law by ten unelected, unaccountable people, lawyers, and if – this is a red line that we’re drawing. If they rule against marriage, we will all defy them.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Tom DeLay.

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  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne


  • John Pieret

    Well, in a sense, he’s right. If Obama and the military do, in fact, stage a coup, a Supreme Court order couldn’t do much to stop it. Of course, Obama would then have to STFU about the Constitution.

    Oh, wait! That’s what DeLay is suggesting should be done against SSM. Well Tom … STFU!

  • Larry


    Its the Spinal Tap version of SCOTUS. Their’s go to 10.

  • Mr Ed

    He is absolutely correct the Supreme Court can’t enforce its ruling at the end of a gun barrel. It does say a lot about Delay that he feels if things don’t go his way that insurrection is the first option.

  • Synfandel

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne “Ten?”

    It’s a liberal nine.

  • hunter

    Shouldn’t that read “convicted felon Tom DeLay”?

  • Chiroptera

    “right now, the American people don’t understand that the Supreme Court, when it makes a ruling, it’s just an opinion if no one enforces that ruling. The Supreme Court doesn’t have a police force; the Supreme Court doesn’t have an army; the Supreme Court doesn’t have people that can enforce their ruling.”

    This is, in fact, true. Which is one of the reasons why the Supreme Court has traditionally been very careful about its rulings, starting, if I remember my history correctly, with Marbury v Madision. The Supreme Court has traditionally been aware that if it makes a habit of defying intense popular opinion or defying political reality, it will lose “credibility” and may eventually find itself marginalized.

  • Chiroptera

    Oops. Hit submit too soon.

    At any rate, if the Court rules in favor of same sex marriage (and I expect it will — there’s my prediction), one of the factors that will allow it to make this ruling is that a majority of the American public now support same sex marriage.

  • Modusoperandi

    He’s right. It’s not the Court’s mandate to decide things, particularly whether or not Laws are so-callled “Constitutional”, nor is it the Legislative or Executive’s duty to follow their so-called “rulings”.

    Unless the Supreme Court decides so-called “gay” so-called “marriage” is not Constitutional. Then you better follow their ruling.

  • carpenterman

    Ten?? Did he just… did he JUST SAY!… fucking TEN???!!!


    (Head explodes.)

  • Mobius

    Delay was odious when he was in Congress. He is still odious.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Shouldn’t that read “convicted felon Tom DeLay”?

    You think that might have influenced his opinion of courts and judges?

  • wreck

    “If they rule against marriage, we will all defy them.”

    By not getting gay-married. Brilliant!

  • caseloweraz

    DeLay claimed, “right now, the American people don’t understand that the Supreme Court, when it makes a ruling, it’s just an opinion if no one enforces that ruling. The Supreme Court doesn’t have a police force; the Supreme Court doesn’t have an army; the Supreme Court doesn’t have people that can enforce their ruling.”

    In other words, DeLay is saying that might makes right.

  • carpenterman

    Modus @ 9:

    Actually, that’s an interesting point. The Court will probably rule that gay marriage is Constitutional, but there’s no guaranty. If the ruling goes the other way, these guys will turn so fast they’ll get whiplash, demanding every one take it as Holy Writ.

  • whheydt

    Earth to deLay…Loving v. Virginia.

  • raven

    DeLay’s “theory” is that people can pick and choose which laws to obey.

    Unfortunately for him, the police, DA’s, courts, and prisons disagree.

    Since he is a convicted felon, one can say that he is a very slow learner.

  • frankgturner

    @ Larry #3

    Or a “Baker’s” SCOTUS.

  • ArtK

    Time to bring back the Bryan Fischer Award. DeLay manages to not only accuse his opponents of what he does, he manages to do it in the same statement!

    And in other news… It was reported today that thousands of irony meters melted down simultaneously. Owners of the remaining meters are warned not to use the word “Constitution” near them, as they have become highly sensitized to the topic.

  • elvenpiratefish

    Historically, DeLay has a point. As Andrew Jackson supposedly said when it came to Native American removal “Justice Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” If the Legislature and the Executive will not enforce a ruling, then there is little the court can do about it. That said, in the current situation that isn’t going to be a factor since the Executive branch has every intention of following such a ruling, and the legislative branch can’t get its act together to stop it. The states can attempt to nullify the decision, as was seen in Brown v Board and other civil rights cases, but as long as the federal government is willing to take action against states that do that the court will win.

  • frankgturner

    @ elvenpiratefish

    I suspect given the trend in acceptance of SSM by the general public that what states as a unit engage in will be limited in its success.


    After a while it is not about “winning” or “loosing” but what has become commonplace. As children grow up in a world seeing SSM they will come to accept it as normal and may even come to be shocked that there ever was a time when it was not done. I say this as I remember my now 17 year old niece and her friends having to have the idea that interracial relationships were once a “thing” when they saw the film “Hair Spray”.

  • Nihilismus

    It is true that under the separation of powers doctrine, the Supreme Court can’t enforce rulings. But under the same doctrine, the executive branch would not be able to make findings of fact in controversies, and thus not be able to punish people for alleged crimes or require them to provide relief to wronged plaintiffs, at least not without being considered tyrannical.

    It works like this. The legislative branch approves budgets and makes laws, including laws limiting executive discretion, providing statutory causes of actions for civilly-wronged persons, and defining crimes. The executive branch, within the discretion that the legislative branch left available, enforces laws by actually running government programs within budget; enforcing injunctions and restraining orders; investigating, arresting, and prosecuting people alleged to have violated the criminal law (including violation of court orders and judgments in civil cases); and carrying out the punishment of people found guilty.

    The executive branch has a lot of power, and will naturally want to view the facts of any situation, and interpret ambiguous language in the laws passed by the legislative branch, in a way that allows it to use its power. And the legislative branch, made up of politicians answerable to majorities of voters, will want to enact laws that will win them reelection, even laws that contradict a written constitution or otherwise disadvantage a political minority; and sometimes the legislative branch simply has not thought through all the situations to which a law would apply, which may result in an unintended application of the law.

    Through a trial and error process over centuries, people have learned to separate the function of reviewing facts and applying existing law (including a constitution) to controversies to a independent judicial branch. Is the executive branch doing something outside the discretion that the legislative branch provided? Both branches will argue the opposite answer, so an independent judiciary will best decide. Between the exercise of its power to arrest criminal suspects and the power to punish criminals, the executive branch must convince an independent court (to a particular degree of certainty) that the person is actually a criminal.

    It really isn’t possible for a judicial branch, by itself, to be tyrannical. The branches, acting together, can do something that is tyrannical. But the judiciary is the last check to prevent a tyrannical situation. The legislature can pass an unwise or unconstitutional law defining a crime, the executive branch can be eager to arrest and punish people for it, but the judiciary can refuse to give its stamp of approval to any punishment that results. The judiciary can say that the law is unconstitutional or that the facts in a particular defendant’s case don’t show that a law was broken. Even if the judiciary is clearly “wrong” about its decision on the law and facts, it hasn’t acted tyrannically. At most, a person who technically broke a constitutional law doesn’t get convicted of it — that’s not tyrannical.

    If the executive branch then decides to go ahead and punish the person anyway, despite not having an independent judiciary “find” that the person was guilty of a law on the books or hold that the law was constitutional, then the executive branch would be acting in a way that makes sense to call “tyrannical”. And if the executive branch blatantly does things outside of the discretion left to it by the legislature, or even if it does things approved by the legislature despite the legislature passing blatantly unconstitutional laws, then that is arguably tyrannical. But a judicial decision, by itself, cannot be tyrannical.

    The judiciary is there to make people feel that there is a check on the other branches and that every person gets an independent fact-finding before they are punished by the executive branch for violating laws passed by the legislative branch. The judiciary adds credibility to the whole process and to the notion that there is a rule of law.

    If the executive and legislative branches just start ignoring judicial decisions, not only would it be tyrannical, but it communicates to the population that there really is no rule of law. The executive branch might still have “might”, but it no longer is following a constitution, and thus, should have no expectation that the people will view the government as legitimate. If the executive branch doesn’t follow the constitution, as interpreted by an independent judiciary which otherwise could give legitimacy to executive branch actions, then the people should perceive it as if the executive body was not even elected in accordance with constitutional requirements (e.g., dates/places for election, number of votes required, qualifications, etc.) — that is, as no more legitimate in enforcement authority as the MPAA is with movie ratings.

    What these conservatives don’t realize is that if they ignore the courts, who, as independent, are best positioned to give credibility to legislative and executive actions, then they cannot expect everyone else to view their actions as valid either. If it really become might vs. right, then they can’t complain when someone coldcocks them for blocking the courtroom door, or when a couple steals a wedding cake from the bakery, or when the courts refuse to convict people for tax fraud for claiming to be married in a state that doesn’t allow their marriage.

  • ebotebo

    Spoken like a true exterminator.

  • ebotebo


  • llewelly

    Secularists often point out that God is not in the Constitution. Wherever God is not, Satan is. Thus, Satan is the tenth Justice of the Supreme Court.

  • noe1951

    If he came from a place that hasn’t taught the constitution for three or four generations – well, that would explain his problems with understanding it. See, it’s not his fault, he just never had no learnin’. s/

  • samgardner

    the 10th judge is judge dredd. So they DO have a police force!