GOP Congressman Says Supreme Court Doesn’t Actually Get To Decide Whether Laws Are Constitutional

Still smarting over last year’s ruling upholding Obamacare, freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) dismissed the idea that the Supreme Court decides whether or not laws are constitutional.

“Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s constitutional,” Bridenstine said in a Daily Caller interview posted Sunday. After accusing Democrats of “stacking the courts in their favor” — five of the current nine justices were appointed by Republican presidents — Bridenstine dismissed the idea that Congress must write laws within the boundaries set by the Supreme Court. “That’s not the case,” the Oklahoma congressman said.

The interviewer, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni Thomas, didn’t have the heart to correct Bridenstine’s peculiar view of the Court’s role.

BRIDENSTINE: Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s constitutional. What that means is that that’s what they decided on that particular day given the makeup of the Court on that particular day. And the left in this country has done an extraordinary job of stacking the courts in their favor. So what we have to do as a body of Congress is say, “look, just because the courts” — and I hear this all the time from Republicans — they say that the court is the arbitrator and after the arbitration is done, that’s the rules we have to live under and we can go forth and make legislation given those rules. That’s not the case. A perfect example if Obamacare. Obamacare is not constitutional, the individual mandate.

Watch it:

There is certainly good reason to doubt the way this Supreme Court reads the Constitution — Citizens United alone proves that point. Our current court gave sweeping legal immunity to wealthy corporations. It took away Lilly Ledbetter’s right to equal pay for equal work. It shrinks reproductive freedom because women may “come to regret” the choices they make if they have control of their own bodies. And it appears poised to strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.


But the idea that this particular Court distorted the Constitution to uphold Obamacare does not even pass the smell test. In the words of Judge Laurence Silberman, a leading conservative who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, the case against the Affordable Care Act has no basis “in either the text of the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent.”