Bachmann Wants To Override The Supreme Court On Abortion

Ladies and gentlemen, the current GOP candidate moderate position on abortion is respecting the existence and authority of the Supreme Court, stacking it with anti-abortion justices instead of just using Congress to pass a constitutional amendment. (Which is somehow "respecting the constitution.")


At a South Carolina forum convened by Senator Jim DeMint yesterday, Mitt Romney represented that view. He said that if "the Congress say[s] we're going to push aside the decision of the Supreme Court and we instead are going to step forward and return to the states this power or put in place our own views on abortion" it would "create obviously a constitutional crisis," but "That's not something I would precipitate. What I would look to do would be appoint people to the Supreme Court that will follow strictly the constitution as opposed to legislating from the bench. I believe that we must be a nation of laws."

But Michele Bachmann said, "If the Supreme Court, by a plurality of the justices, may impose their own personal morality on the rest of the nation, then we are quite literally being ruled by those individuals as opposed to giving our consent to the people's representatives."

One of the questioners was Princeton professor and National Organization for Marriage chair Robert George, who kept pushing Section 5 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution as grounds for banning abortion federally. (It says the government "shall deprive any person of life ... without due process" and that "Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.")

There was also this moment of constitutional brilliance in a discussion of the constitutionality of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act:

GEORGE: And do you believe that the national Constitution forbids states from doing that?

BACHMANN: I believe that it's inherent in the Constitution.

GEORGE: In the national constitution?

BACHMANN: Yes, I do.

GEORGE: So to say it's inherent sounds like there's not a particular provision you can point to?

BACHMANN: Well, I'm sure you could enlighten me as to that provision.


GEORGE: Well, I wanted to know what the provision was.

Can't we just make one up?

Bachmann Says She'd Confront Supreme Court Over Abortion Rights [Huffington Post]
GOP Presidential Forum [Transcript, CNN]


Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

I know, I know, Bachmann's crazy and blah blah.

But let's use this as an opportunity to discuss something interesting: the politics of the Supreme Court.

The SCOTUS has always been an interesting and political body throughout the history of the US. From Marbury v. Madison, where the SCOTUS literally gave itself the power of judicial review, to FDR "packing the courts," to the modern day dance with the Tea Party, we see that the very notion of judicial review itself, as well as the SCOTUS's role in checks and balances has always been at least somewhat controversial.

That's not to say that Bachmann is in any way correct. Yet, it's an interesting example of how populist Americans view democracy: rule by the many no matter what. It's obviously anathema to what the Federalists said (rule by the many is scary as fuck), but it's not necessarily anathema to a Jacksonian democracy or even classical democracy.

What is the role of an appointed court in a functioning democracy? We take it for granted in the US that there will always be a powerful high court in functional representative government, yet the courts in many Westminster/parliamentary systems are relatively weak.

In any case: to hell with these people. The formula has worked. Shut up and stop trying to make us into Derp-Athens.