In late June, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) reversed the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal. Many on the Left lost their businesses, and untold numbers more were left dazed and confused by the decision. Was the termination of a pregnancy the real issue, or was it something more fundamentally rooted in the US Constitution?
Over the last year, the Biden administration has worked to undermine the meaning of words. In the most recent example, they’ve asked if a recession is really a recession. In a further attempt to undermine the nation’s high court and justify skirting around the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, the White House is now suggesting the arbiter of the Constitution did an unconstitutional act.
Can the Founding Document Override the Supreme Court?
On Wednesday, August 3, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the 6-3 conservative majority made an “extreme decision to take away a constitutional right.” She then declared the decision to overturn Roe was an unconstitutional act. To justify her thinking, Jean-Pierre said abortion was a freedom held for 50 years. What she didn’t say was before the justices in 1973 unilaterally decided the matter, it was not a right for nearly 200 years.
To get around the ruling, President Joe Biden took it upon himself to attempt to override the decision. He signed an executive order that may violate the Hyde Amendment, which bars the federal government from funding abortion with limited exceptions. The president’s order allowed the feds to ensure a woman could cross state lines to get the controversial procedure in a state where it’s legal. The issue is, there’s no law banning anyone from interstate travel. So, why the action?
Role of the Supreme Court
The Constitution created three equal and distinct branches of government that serve as checks and balances on one another. It gave the SCOTUS justices the final say on whether a law is constitutional or not. It would seem the White House disagrees with the founding document and the absolute law of the land.
Still, the framers gave the judicial branch the power to act as a check on the other two. It can declare a law or executive action unconstitutional, and the Senate places a check on it through the appointment and confirmation of justices. The court’s role is to assure the others don’t violate the Constitution.
What the justices did in Dobbs in overturning a precedent they believed was a previous error. The conservative justices follow a principle called originalism, which asks what the founding document meant at the time of its creation.
In short, the conservative justices held the 1973 ruling dismissed the 10th Amendment in Roe and legislated from the bench in violation of the separation of powers. They stated the Constitution did not list abortion as a specific right any more than it does education. Therefore, it’s up to the states to individually decide the matter.
So, can the executive branch override the SCOTUS and decide arbitrarily whether a ruling is unconstitutional? That’s not what the Constitution says, but you decide.