Constitutional Law Experts React to White House Miller's Rejection of Judicial Supremacy
Feb 16, 2017 02:04 PM EST
White House Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller's rejection of judicial supremacy garners the attention of some constitutional law experts. The White House official appeared on Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday last weekend to express concerns over a court ruling that suspended President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration and called it a "judicial usurpation of power."
In the interview, Miller stated there is no such thing as judicial supremacy and what judges did was to take the power that belongs squarely in the hands of the president. Following this, constitutional law experts offer to give its sentiments with some expressing strong rejections while others giving sympathetic views on the matter. A Harvard law professor notes Miller could be channeling Trump and is engaged in a performance to earn the praise of his boss. The argument seems valid as Trump was seen praising Miller thereafter his controversial statements.
If so, constitutional law experts view it as a worrying sign and claims "the new Administration poses an unprecedented threat to democracy and our constitutional order," a law professor at New York University said. Experts further that Miller's words raise suspicion the Administration is setting a stage for a potential claim of power as an equal branch. Under a constitutional case cited by an expert, Marbury v. Madison, federal courts have the duty to review the constitutionality of presidential and congressional actions. There is also the distinction between constitutional theory and constitutional law in practice.
According to a Yale constitutional law expert, Miller described judicial supremacy as a crude version of departmentalism but in practice, judicial supremacy means judges are allowed to step in when the executive branch overrides constitutional rights. It's valid to say the executive has an independent obligation to determine the Constitution and laws required if that was the intention of Miller. But to say "the President is entirely free to disregard a court's determination already violates the longstanding norms of our constitutional system," another law expert said.
Meanwhile, other constitutional law experts justified it by saying it could be that Miller disagrees with the courts' decision on the legal merits because he thinks the President has unreviewable authority. Experts say sometimes rejecting judicial supremacy are within the bounds of mainstream constitutional law and practice while others like directly disobeying a judicial order already exceed boundaries. There are different ways to construe the White House official's remarks but only he can put to rest the widespread concerns brought about by his words. If there's something to be learned out of this and that is to provide basis when statements reflect a legal matter.