The week before America is to celebrate the 238 Anniversary of its Independence Day, the world learned House Speaker John Boehner has decided to engage the White House in a Constitutional showdown by suing the Obama Administration over its ongoing unilateral use of Executive Power. On the one hand, the Right argues President Obama is legislating from the bully pulpit by selectively enforcing, changing or creating laws. On the other hand, the Left argues Republicans are impeding government to point the President is forced to test the limits of his Executive Powers. Although there are incidences where it is likely the Supreme Court will rule against the Obama Administration, it is important to recognize Congress did invite this inevitable showdown by makings itself increasingly irrelevant and slowly legislating its Constitutional power to the President over the past half-century out of convenience as Congress has increasingly been unable to act in a timely manner.
Certainly, the legal path is both a costly and time-consuming one, but America’s Founding Fathers created an independent judiciary, so government could rise above the politics of the day when facing an unbreakable stalemate. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict whether or not what decisions are handed down will allow our political system to function better, but having the courts resolve a number of ongoing issues is apparently something the political system needs. At the very least, taking the legal route forces Republicans and Democrats to change tactics and, hopefully, soon discover the only winning option involves cooperation and compromise. Given the many grievances our bipolar political system has amassed over the past few years and the willingness of our Supreme Court to take on cases with far-reaching effects, this means the Supreme Court will likely be very active for some time just dealing with cases inspired by political deadlock.
Furthermore, the Court has already ruled against the Obama Administration for its inappropriate use of recess appointments while it has sought to reign in police powers by recognizing the right to privacy when it comes to cell phones, which hints at future decisions that will modernize the interpretation of privacy rights, i.e. Fourth Amendment, for the digital age. At the same time, an Oregon Federal Court deemed the inability of individuals to challenge their inclusion on the so-called “no-fly list” as unconstitutional, because it fails to honor the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. It is, of course, ironic that the US government has been fighting an updated understanding of our privacy rights to include our digital footprint as the US government is trusted to protect the rights of American citizens, thus it should be fostering evenhanded treatment of all Americans with the use of all authority when foreign nations and private entities do not as it did during the Civil Rights era.
Beyond addressing our government’s failure to balance national security interests with civil liberties, the courts have been ruling in favor of those seeking to legalize gay marriage and it is likely the Supreme Court will rule in line with those decisions. That said, the Supreme Court is showing a preference toward interpreting the rights of all “individuals,” which the Justices erroneously declared corporations to be individuals in the Citizens United case; therefore, the Supreme Court must find a way to balance the First Amendment rights of those who view legalized gay marriage as an affront to their religious traditions and those couples who feel their Fourteenth Amendment rights are being violated. Moreover, we can expect the Supreme Court over the next few years to make more and more decisions that will affect our political system and society in very significant ways. It seems the American People will be relying on Third Branch of government as counterbalances the exercise of Executive power and the dysfunction of the Legislature.
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