Time and again we have seen Republican presidential hopefuls display their ignorance of the United States Constitution – or of even how our system of government works. Heck, some of them, like Ted Cruz, can’t even figure out how the Senate works.
Or take Ben Carson the other day:
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. So if the legislative branch creates a law or changes a law, the executive branch has a responsibly to carry it out. It does not say they have the responsibility to carry out a judicial law.
And who does he think determines the constitutionality of those laws? That’s right: the Supreme Court.
So he’s right about one thing: We do have to understand how the Constitution works.
Carson, lamentably, does not. But then, of course, neither does any Republican in Congress, seemingly.
I’ve been thinking about what Mike Huckabee said to a group of Evangelicals at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference on April 30. Everyone made a big deal about how he says he “speaks Jesus” but that was not the important bit.
The mainstream media probably did not want you to notice it, but this was the part that mattered:
I respect the courts, but the Supreme Court is only that — the supreme of the courts. It is not the supreme being. It cannot overrule God. When it comes to prayer, when it comes to life, and when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, the court cannot change what God has created.
Obviously, the Supreme Court can overrule God. As should be obvious to Huckabee, the United States Constitution, and not the Bible, is the law of the land.
Just as obviously, Huckabee does not respect the courts. Or he would not have said such a thing to begin with. It’s like when people say, “With all due respect…” No, no respect is intended. You think the other person is an idiot.
Mike Huckabee thinks the courts are meaningless if they don’t rule the way he wants them to rule. That they have somehow de-legitimized themselves as though modern conservative ideology is the litmus test for every law passed since March 4, 1789, when the 1st United States Congress convened.
If that were not absurdity enough, he issued a direct challenge to the Supreme Court:
“Somebody’s got to be willing to take on the institutions that challenge and threaten our ability to believe as we believe, because when religious liberty is lost, all liberty is lost.”
Here, he is echoing Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who said in 2013, “The church and people of faith and values need to rise up” if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality. “We just simply cannot allow this to become the law of the land.”
In fact, it is Staver who, earlier this spring co-authored a pledge not to obey any Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, and he told a gathering that he expected every GOP candidate for president to sign it.
Mike Huckabee has already done so. So has Rick Santorum, another perennial White House hopeful. The list of key signers is a literal hate group who’s who.
According to Staver, “We’re going to ask every presidential candidate — Republican and Democrat — to sign on to this pledge and it’s going to be very telling if they don’t.”
It will certainly be very telling. It will tell us who respects the United States Constitution and intends to obey the laws of the land – until now allegedly a pre-requisite for every Republican (or so they have told us) – and who does not.
And consequently, who is ineligible to be President of the United States. After all, that is part of the presidential oath of office, to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
And according to Article 3, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court’s “judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States.”
All these men are members of the political party that has been calling President Obama “lawless.” These same figures who are now lining up to proclaim they will refuse to obey a pro-marriage equality ruling from the Supreme Court.
Obama has to obey the laws of the land, but they do not?
Apparently not. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, said recently, “Talk about a Civil War, we could have another one over this.”
Well hey, they didn’t want to give up their slaves either, and we fought a war over that one as well. Guess what? They gave up their slaves, even though God told them they could have them.
The Supreme Court overruled God then, too.
Because talk is cheap, and because there is absolutely no risk at all to their well-being, these people who don’t understand how the Constitution works are talking martyrdom, like the Martin Bormann-like David Lane, and Sandy Rios of the American Family Association.
This sort of talk is like a porn addiction to them. It no doubt makes pissant little bigots feel important as well.
Yet even Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee have joined the martyr chorus. Rand Paul, as is well known by now, has neo-Confederate associations, so you can hardly expect him to pay much respect to the Constitution (unless it’s the Confederate Constitution).
Right Wing Watch has observed that “Some activists are calling for an anti-gay version of Rosa Parks.” A fascist Rosa Parks is as much a logical impossibility as a conservative revolution or a constitutional conservative. Rosa Parks fought for freedom from bigotry, after all, not freedom for bigotry.
Conservatives have never been comfortable with the Constitution. It is, after all, a liberal document. It doesn’t preserve the status quo. Rather, in proclaiming that political power derives from the will of the people, it shatters it.
So none of these excuses to attack the Constitution are all that surprising. They’re not the first and they won’t be the last. But you would think all these attacks would draw some attention at least from the mainstream media.
Even so, there might be some awkward moments when the eventual Democrat and Republican candidates debate, and the question comes up: Which of you has vowed to violate the rulings of the Supreme Court, and therefore, the United States Constitution?
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.