Time to Say Goodbye to Judicial Overreach

Nov 10, 2014 by

The Supreme Court has turned the US from a republic into a Constitutional monarchy.

Last week, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear yet another conservative-fueled challenge to Obamacare.

This time, the attack on Obamacare focuses on the phrasing of one sentence in the Affordable Care Act that talks about who can receive subsidies under the health-care law.

That phrasing is in Section 36B of the Affordable Care Act, which gives the government the power to subsidize health-care plans, “which were enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State.”

Basically, as it stands now, US citizens who sign up for health-care insurance under Obamacare through the federal exchange receive a subsidy to help pay for that insurance.

However, the plaintiffs in the case are arguing that, based on the wording of the particular clause, Americans who sign up for Obamacare through the federal exchange AREN’T eligible for the subsidies; only Americans who sign up through state-run exchanges are.

Subsidies are a major aspect of Obamacare, and if the conservative justices on the Supreme Court were to rule against them in this case, millions of US citizens will lose the health-care coverage they got under Obamacare.

The frivolous nature of this challenge to Obamacare is pretty clear, and you would think that the Supreme Court would recognize that, and would have refused to hear the case.

But, given the history of the Roberts’ Supreme Court, we really shouldn’t be surprised that the court decided to hear the case.

After all, the Roberts’ court is synonymous with the judicial overreach that’s turned the US into a Constitutional monarchy.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen time and time again how the conservative justices of the Roberts Court are willing to engage in judicial activism and overreach.

As the Alliance for Justice points out, the Roberts Court has routinely taken up cases that is has no right hearing.

In a report titled, “The Roberts Court and Judicial Overreach,” the Alliance for Justice writes that, “The Supreme Court generally grants certiorari—that is, agrees to hear a case appealed to it—where there is an unsettled question of law or where the circuit courts of appeal have split on the proper interpretation of a given law. In recent years, however, the Court has taken a number of cases outside these parameters, which, in almost all cases, results in rulings favoring corporate interests.”

But the Roberts Court’s judicial overreach doesn’t stop there.

The court has also routinely answered legal questions that weren’t even presented to it, and that were entirely unnecessary to decide the case before them.

For example, in the highly controversial Citizens United decision, the court was initially asked to decide whether the electioneering communications provisions of the McCain-Feingold Act apply to “pay-per-view” movies made by nonprofit organizations.

However, as we all know, the court went well beyond the scope of that question, and instead decided to rule that corporations are just like people, and that their spending of money is just like our speech.

Finally, the Roberts’ court has shown a consistent lack of respect for established legal precedent or the will of Congress.

In the court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, the conservative justices on the court managed to completely ignore decades of legal precedent while essentially gutting the Voting Rights Act which had passed the Senate unanimously just the year before.

And, to make matters worse, in the majority opinion in the case, Chief Justice Roberts was unable to cite any precedent or reasoning for why the court decided how it did. He just did things because he decided to.

So, it’s really no surprise that the Roberts Court has decided to hear a completely frivolous case, because the court has been pulling these kinds of tricks for years now.

In Federalist Paper No. 78, Alexander Hamilton wrote that, “The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. … Whenever a particular statute contravenes the Constitution, it will be the duty of the judicial tribunals to adhere to the latter and disregard the former.”

When our nation’s founders established the Supreme Court and the court system, they did everything in their power to create a branch of government that wouldn’t be swayed by political interests or public opinion.

But, somewhere along the way between 1776 and today, the Supreme Court has lost its way.

Today, we’re left with a court that is all too comfortable overstepping its boundaries, while trying to make new laws.

Our nation’s founders never intended for the Supreme Court to have as much power as it does today.

It’s time to reel in our runaway Supreme Court, and that starts by making it accountable to “We the People.”

Congress should use their Article 3, Section 2 power to regulate the Supreme Court, and to make sure it stays within its boundaries.

It’s time to say goodbye to judicial overreach once and for all.

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.

 

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