Questioning the Supreme Court’s Supremacy

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court opened what promises to be a term of exceptional significance. It is widely expected that the Court will consider the constitutionality of the recently enacted health-care law, and it may examine laws that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. But outside the Court, there will be a struggle of far greater significance: a fight over whether the decisions of the Court are the final word on the meaning of the Constitution.

The most dramatic challenge to the Supreme Court’s authority as the ultimate constitutional interpreter has come from former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who gave a speech at the Value Voters Summit earlier this month asserting that the constitutional judgments of the president and Congress are entitled to as much respect as those of the Court. Mr. Gingrich promised that, as president, he would challenge the Court’s role as the final arbiter of constitutional meaning — he would even ignore a Court decision if he strongly believed that the Court’s judgment on an important issue was contrary to the true meaning of the Constitution.

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