In a recent interview with right-wing radio host Steve Deace, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed that lawmakers may flout court decisions they happen to disagree with:
A president has certainly got to respect a ruling of the court, but if the ruling of a court is wrong, and it’s fundamentally wrong, and you have two branches of the government that determine that it’s wrong, then those other two branches supersede the one. . . . The two branches of government, legislative and executive, have every right to make it clear to the Supreme Court that their interpretation is wrong. And whether they do that by constitutional amendment to spell it out to the court, or by passage of further amplification of law, there are many means, I think, at hand to do that.
Huckabee is, of course, wrong about the separation of powers — and embarassingly so. While Congress does have the authority to overrule court decisions that wrongly interpret its own acts, the whole point of having a Constitution is that it draws lines that can’t be crossed by elected officials. What’s the point of announcing that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” if Congress can ignore any court decision preventing it from establishing a religion?
Indeed, even Huckabee doesn’t agree with Huckabee’s stance on the separation of powers. He has been an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act, even touting the absurd view that the health reform law is unconstitutional. Yet if the President and Congress are free to ignore court decisions declaring acts of Congress unconstitutional, than it really doesn’t matter what the Constitution has to say about health reform because Congress passed the law and the President signed it.
In the end, it seems Huckabee doesn’t care much about what the Constitution actually has to say. He’s just reading out of the same right-wing playbook that says that the Constitution means whatever he wants it to mean.