While the nation waits for the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, some people seem to be a little confused about the role that the Supreme Court plays in our government. Here is a brief refresher: The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the government’s powers are divided between three branches, with each branch having the ability to keep the others in check. Our legislature makes the laws, the executive branch, from the President down to local law enforcement, carries out those laws, and the judicial branch judges if the actions taken by the other two branches are lawful.
However, it is understandable how some citizens are confused about this arrangement, as our own President doesn’t even understand how it is meant to work. President Obama, who taught constitutional law, recently said that he thought that it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to overturn a law passed by a democratically elected Congress. However, the Supreme Court has over 1,500 precedents of overturning state, local, and federal laws. Declaring a law unconstitutional is not, by any stretch of the imagination, new and unexplored territory for the Supreme Court. It’s part of their job.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court does not have the authority to create laws or policies through their rulings. The Supreme Court’s solemn duty is to deliver judgement based on the law as it currently stands. If the Supreme Court were to ignore the law, and start ruling based personal belief, popular opinion, or the will of the President, then the United States of America would be more of an oligarchy in which we would be ruled by the whim of the Court. Not only can the Supreme Court overturn Obamacare, to do their job, they must overturn it.