Rick Santorum wonders aloud when Supreme Court became an authority on the Constitution

They just won’t let it go, will they?

Speaking to an audience at the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), Rick Santorum seemed genuinely confused as to why America was simply taking the Supreme Court at their word that marriage equality is a thing that exists now:

Over 200 years ago, as a matter of fact.

Santorum — who, by the way, graduated from law school — is but the latest in a long line of likely and actual Republican presidential candidates intent on convincing their base that the Constitution doesn’t say what it totally says. Despite their blather about upholding the principles of the Constitution as set forth by the Founders, calls to change, nullify or abolish the Supreme Court are decidedly anti-constitutional.

These are the same Republicans who had no problem with the Supreme Court having the final say on the presidential election in 2000. For our part, liberals thought the decision was wrongly decided, but we didn’t call for the Supreme Court to no longer exist, or to fundamentally change. We turned our attention to the absurdity that is the Electoral College, which, unlike judicial review, is an element of American democracy that other nations have not chosen to emulate to a significant degree.

You could make a bad argument, as four justices did, that the Supreme Court wrongly decided Obergefell v Hodges. But you can’t argue, as Santorum just did, that the decision isn’t the final say on the matter. It is.

Rick Santorum via Shutterstock (Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com)

Rick Santorum via Shutterstock (Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com)

Santorum isn’t the only conservative losing their marbles over Obergefell decision this week. Pat Buchanan suggested on WorldNetDaily that the decision, coupled with Oklahoma’s decision to remove the Ten Commandments from state capitol grounds, could lead to another Civil War. John Nolte, writing at Breitbart, equated the rainbow flag with the Confederate flag, wondering aloud why a symbol of LGBT equality — excuse me, “the Fascist, Anti-Christian Gay Pride Flag” — is allowed to stay up while a symbol of oppression and hate is forced to come down.

Perhaps it’s due to the fact that social conservatism — particularly as practiced by white people — has enjoyed a great degree of cultural hegemony in America for, well, ever, but there seems to be genuine confusion within the conservative movement as to whether rights are zero-sum. They seem utterly convinced that the extension of equality for those who have traditionally been marginalized amounts to marginalization in and of itself.

When we say that a religious school needs to choose between tax breaks and hiring discrimination, conservatives insist they are entitled to both. When we say that maybe it isn’t such a good idea for the government to endorse a racist, treasonous symbol of oppression, we are told that we just don’t get it. When the Pope tells Christians to stop invoking God in the name of anti-Christian ideals, namely profit for profit’s stake, he is told by those who are supposed to consider him infallible to stay out of politics.

Pat Buchanan is right to say that, in the long term, this claim to privilege is not sustainable. But we aren’t on the brink of another Civil War; we’re on the brink of a full-on racist and religious retreat out of the public sphere, where they should never have been in the first place. To an ever-increasing degree, conservatives will have to content themselves with hating people in the privacy of their own religious institutions, not with public funds or lands.

Just as the Founders intended.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • “When did it become the law of the land that the Supreme Court has the final say on everything?” — Santorum at NRLC

    Answer: Two hundred and twelve years ago. Anything else I can help you with Ricky?

  • terry.hankinson

    ==

  • Likedest
  • Cousin Ricky

    Ew. TMI.

  • The_Fixer

    I don’t think Santorum, in spite of going to law school and passing the bar exam, is anything close to smart and think that he actually believes the crap he spews.

    One can memorize whatever they need to in order to pass an exam, and then promptly forget it. It’s clear that he has no analytical ability whatsoever. He doesn’t know what logic is. And he doesn’t get the concept of separation of church and state.

    This statement doesn’t surprise me. I don’t think that he’s pandering to the base. I just think he is incredibly and incurably stupid.

  • Butch1

    He also belongs to Opus Dei and sent his two sons through Opus Dei school training. The man is religiously obsessed, but to what degree I do not want to find out. These types have no business in government and as soon as his own constituents found out how much of a fool he was, they voted him out of power.

    He’s obsessed with homosexuality, which makes me wonder about some possible skeletons in his own closet. ;-) Any person who is so rabidly against gays as he is has to have a reason to be and a good psychologist worth their salt can guess that this is a man fight off his own demons about possibly being gay himself and has internalized homophobia needing to strike out at gays who are comfortable with being gay.

    If he is gay and just doesn’t really know it or cannot accept it, I’m sure the gay community would NOT want to have him ever join the community. He’s a religious dolt that has caused much harm and perhaps some day someone will come forward or he will be caught diddling some underage boy. He can’t relate to any adults and he would most likely be a pedophile before being gay anyway. ;-)

  • mhandrh

    OMG — The Republicans just can’t keep their mouths shut can they? They show us every day how stupid and uninformed they are. Unqualified to lead. Haven’t yet learned what most of us learned in grade school. Incorrigible. Willfully ignorant.

  • John B.

    I think they’re equally obtuse, deliberately, playing up to their poorly educated base. Neither has an excuse, both are college graduates and Santorum has a law degree; both have held a major office (Huckabee a governor, Santorum a Senator). As such they know better but also know their base for the most part doesn’t and are easily swayed by their rhetoric.

  • John B.

    No doubt!

  • John B.

    Apparently the state of PA wised up to him pretty quickly and voted for the other guy in the next election, sending him packing. He’s a real tool (and most likely a closet case).

  • John B.

    That’s why the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has not become a part of the constitution. It passed Congress but has yet to every be ratified by 3/4 of the states.

  • Denver Catboy

    Some people assume that Republicans are idiots, but as the article points out, Santorum is a college graduate with a law degree, so he knew exactly when the Supreme Court became the final say in the Constitution…when the Constitution was written.

    Mind you. They aren’t. The Supremes can be overridden by a 2/3rds majority of the House and Senate (or a Constitutional Convention) followed by ratification by 3/4ths of the States, and at this point, you’ve overridden the Supreme Court.

    But ol’ Rick knows that this will never happen. They will have trouble getting the 2/3rds in both houses, and it’ll be impossible to get 3/4ths of the States to ratify the amendment. But he COULD get the amendment ratified if it was only proposed in the Old Confederacy. Maybe the answer is to reconstitute that old thing…and what do you know, there’s enough flags floating around in the South that they wouldn’t need to make more battle flags…

  • ulpu_petelius
  • Butch1

    Ah yes, I had forgotten about him. “Charlatan Extraordinaire.”

  • kurtsteinbach and Harry R. Soho, I am telling both of you, you are welcome to disagree all you want, but stop calling each other infantile names.

  • Harry R. Sohl and kurtsteinbach, I will tell both of you, you are welcome to disagree all you want, but stop calling each other infantile names.

  • Doug105

    Followers of David Barton history.

  • No, you were just so cunty in your wrong reply.

  • kurtsteinbach

    Oh, how mature. What’s a matter wittle baby. are you having trouble understanding English again. Stop reading the “Cliff’s Notes” version of the Constitution and read the actual document. I teach both English and History and have no trouble reading primary documents, but I guess you do. See ya. . . . LMAO at you! BTW, stupid like you is, not my type.

  • Here are some small words for you: fuck off.

    Amendments are not “passed” by 2/3 of the Congress (alone). So, it’s not 2/3 of Congress OR 3/4 of states. They are proposed by 2/3 of Congress AND ratified by 3/4 of states – or just proposed and ratified by 3/4 of states in a two-part procedure.

  • kurtsteinbach

    That’s what i just said, Amendments must be passed by 2/3 of Congress or 3/4 of the states. It can be the legislatures of the states or assemblies gathered in each state for that purpose. Ratifying is a separate process and must be done by state legislatures or a ratifying convention in each state. I guess I have to spell it out in small words for you. . . . No amendment has ever been proposed and passed by ratifying conventions. It’s always happened in Congress and the legislatures, but that doesn’t mean the states cannot do it independent of Congress. I say good luck to them, these conservative idiots cannot even convince people that they are not a bunch of clowns. . . .

  • No. States can, and have, done it without Congress: with a national convention requested by two-thirds of the state legislatures, then ratification by 3/4 of the states.

  • Bill_Perdue, as I told Doug 105, you both need to knock it off.
    Step back, and start ignoring each other.
    Otherwise, we will be forced to place both of you in “time out.”

  • Both of you, knock it off. Take a deep breath.

  • 2karmanot

    Reminds me of that old joke: What is the last thing a bug sees when he hits the windshield.—His ass.

  • Doug105

    And here we go again, you refusing to own up too your own personal attacks.
    I never said I don’t like or even agree with alternet, just that I believe it has a bias as a new source.

  • Bill_Perdue

    So you still think that personal attacks are the way to settle political discussions.

    Mother Jones is run by Democrats. AlterNet is run by Democrats. Why don’t you like Democrat sources. Why do you attack the messengers instead of replying to their charges.

    The Workplace Religious Freedom Act is an attempt to protect cults.
    They agree on that because both are religious bigots. To date Santorum refuses to budge and rebrand. Hillary Clinton rebranded, changed her brand but not her basic right wing approach 72 hours after she announced but from 1996 until a few weeks ago she supported all or part of Bill Clintons piggery, DOMA.

    Humphrey was a supporter of LBJ’s war of aggression against Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Decent people opposed Humphrey, that war and the repression by Democrats of protesters in 1968. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYp1JgwotXU

    Just like decent people opposed the Bush/Clinton/Obama wars. HRH HRC supported those wars. And still does. http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/24/politics/hillary-clinton-airstrikes/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkS9y5t0tR0

  • Doug105

    You’ve never erase your personal attacks and don’t lie about it you make them often, part of the reason you hide your history no doubt.

    Mother jones as a source? Ya, right tell me another one. Agreeing on a bill doesn’t make them allies its how our goverment is intended to work, Your jumping to that conclusion displays a like of rational thought on you part. And the recently released emails show her making pro-LGBT decisions as far back as 2003. But ingore that it doesn’t fit with your agenda. Instead of looking for stories the prove you bias, try read more sources to get a more rounded picture. And don’t think I didn’t notice you skipping over the original Intention of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act was which was to address a SCOTUS desion that Native American ritual use of peyote was illegal under DEA rules.

    Ps while I read Alternet from time to time and agree with some of the writing I wouldn’t consider it an unbiased source either.

  • If the Congress then should pass a clarification of the law, then the Supreme Court looks at the text and tends to follow the clarification. Roberts’ opinion in King vs Burwell shows this attempt to interpret “established by the state”. Should the Congress pass a clarification of meaning to agree with Scalia, then Roberts would follow that meaning.
    I had in mind GE vs Gilbert in 1976. Rehnquist wrote the opinion on discrimination of company health plans that exclude pregnancy not sex discrimination because “Sex has nothing to do with pregnancy”. Whereas Congress scared the future Reagan-appointed chief justice by passing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act on Halloween 1978. I came across this opinion of the Nixon-Burger Court while I was researching for my master’s paper in 1983 for my Penn State MBA.
    The gist of my statement is that a “final” say may not be final, although it is likely final. So, there is not an absolute final. There could be a change in the ruling. On the other hand, when the flag-burning hysteria cause the Congress to pass an identical law that my favorite justice Brennan wrote to overturn in Johnson vs TX in 1989, the Court simply invalidated it. I remember that Independence Day going home in the rain and counting how many flags were out in the rain!

  • When is 1803? What is Marbury v Madison?

    I sure hope that was a Daily Double.

    Santorum went to law school. There’s NO WAY he doesn’t know this. He’s just pandering to people who don’t.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I see you didn’t erase your personal attack. The road to political isolation is paved with personal attacks. Now that we know how your operate maybe you can answer a few questions.

    Now that you know that HRH HRC has been a right wing religious nut and a political ally of Santorum for at least a decade, what do you question about her motives? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/09/hillarys-prayer-hillary-clintons-religion-and-politics

    And does the fact the she’s a graduate cum laude of the Wal Mart School of scabbery make you question her motives? “Clinton served on Wal-Mart’s board of directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas. And the Rose Law Firm, where she was a partner, handled many of the Arkansas-based company’s legal affairs.” http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×2158262

    David Nassar of the AFL-CIO’s Wal-Mart Watch said “We respectfully disagree with former President Clinton’s characterization of Wal-Mart as a benign, benevolent corporation striving for self-improvement either during Sen. Clinton’s tenure on the board or at present…” and “while we don’t have any insight into what Sen. Clinton advocated for while on the board of Wal-Mart, we do know that Wal-Mart has made no meaningful progress regarding the company’s poor business practices, including gender discrimination, low wages, inadequate health care, overseas sourcing or environmental degradation…” ABC New Jan 24 2008

    And what about her last minute attempt to rebrand and cover her leays of full or partial support for Bill Clinton’s DOMA? “Hillary Clinton evolved on same-sex marriage within the first 72 hours of her presidential run, as her campaign said Wednesday that the former secretary of state now backs marriage equality as a US constitutional right.

    The about-face, dropped as Clinton was preparing the second of two progressive-leaning appearances in Iowa, represents a significant – if not completely unexpected – shift from her previous statements that same-sex marriage should be legislated state-by-state rather than on the federal level.” http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/15/hillary-clinton-gay-marriage-presidential-campaign?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

  • That’s it, as set forth in Article V of the Constitution. It has to be both Congress and the states.

  • “If the Constitution as amended, the Supreme Court has the final say as to why is constitutional with regards to the new constitution.”

    No. If a State constitution is amended, the Supreme court can find that it violates the Federal /US constitution, which is supreme.

    If we change the Federal/US constitution, it cannot be found “unconstitutional” because it’s right in the constitution.

    “Any amendment that contradicts the text of the Constitution itself or
    an earlier amendment will simply nullify the earlier text. The Supreme
    Court presumes (logically) that if an amendment conflicts with an
    earlier part of the Constitution, it must have been the intent of the
    people that the later amendment take precedence.

    The best example is the Fourteenth Amendment, which was passed during the Civil War. It says, in part: “Representatives [to Congress] shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.” This obviously conflicts with Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, which apportions representatives based on whole number of “Free persons,” and three-fifths of “all other persons” (i.e., slaves).” – Matt Yan, Civil and Commercial Attorney

  • SheriKThomas484
  • Wrong.

    Per Cliffs Notes: “amendments can be proposed either by Congress, with a two-thirds vote of both houses, or by a national convention requested by two-thirds of the state legislatures.

    Amendments are ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or by conventions in three-fourths of the states.

  • Doug105

    As the saying goes – The road to hell is paved with good intentions – and I have my doubts about what some who helped craft this bill intended.

  • Bruce Hackel

    Jon, You are right on with this article. Thanks

  • Bill_Perdue

    That’s a non political personal attack. But, if it’s all you’ve got, we’ll understand.

    But, tell us, exactly why do you think HRH HRC and Santorum co sponsored the anti-LGBT Workplace Religious Freedom Act?

  • angryspittle

    Uh, in 1803 in an interesting case called Marbury v. Madison?

  • Doug105

  • Bill_Perdue

    Santorum, like all christer bigots, branded and rebrand, is an idiot who wants to stand in front of the freight train of change and try to stop it.

    His next words will be ouch.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Isn’t it odd that Santorum and Hillary Clinton have so much in common.

    Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been
    an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are
    part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her
    collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and
    former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that
    connection. ” … Clinton’s prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or
    “the Family”) … The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by
    the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the
    powerful understand their role in God’s plan. …With Santorum,
    Clinton co-sponsored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act…
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/09/hillarys-prayer-hillary-clintons-religion-and-politics?page=3

    Actually, it’s not odd at all, just another proof that the two parties have more in common than not.

  • Butch1

    It’s hard to believe he can “turn-off” his knowledge to play the fool with his religion stand with some of his outlandish positions. He has been known to participate in exorcisms as well. What he has done to his state to win over his right wing base is absolutely embarrassing and he should be ashamed of himself; he is no dummy.

  • kurtsteinbach

    But, a White House tour is the only way any of these idiot Rethugniconartist GOP POTUS nominee candidates will ever get anywhere near the White House or the President. And any citizen or tourist can do that, even an idiot. . . .

  • kurtsteinbach

    That’s not how the amendment process works. Either a 2/3 majority must pass any amendments to the Constitution or 3/4 of the states, not both. Santorum is pandering to Evangelicals, they’re hateful, fake-Christians. Just remember what Santorum really is, the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex, and you’ll be fine, and remember to keep sharing what Ricky really is. . . . LOL!

  • emjayay

    Fundamentalist religion seems to, even if it’s supposedly Catholic. Like Rhodes Scholar Bobby, for example.

  • Doug105

    Special history class.

  • Doug105

    ..

  • Charlie

    And just how does Santorum think he’s going to get 2/3 majority in both houses of Congress and 3/4 of all 50 states to ratify an amendment that takes legal rights away from tax paying citizens? He is a TOTAL idiot pandering to the hateful so-called Christians.

  • kurtsteinbach

    The only thing that can be done to make same sex marriage illegal now, is an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution and its Amendments are the Supreme law of the Land, and the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of the Supreme Law of the land. The only way to overturn this SCOTUS decision is a Constitutional Amendment. The reason is because this SCOTUS found the reasoning behind denying same sex marriage to be inherently faulty, defective, and discriminatory, so an amendment is the only way to change that. It’ll never happen. . . .

  • GayEGO

    Uh duh, Ricky Sanitarium, a presidential candidate? He doesn’t think very well, I don’t think he will make it.

  • texcynical

    The Supreme Court has final say as to whether something is constitutional or not. If the legislature make changes to a law, the Supreme Court has the final say on whether those changes are constitutional or not. The Supreme Court has the final say. If the Constitution as amended, the Supreme Court has the final say as to why is constitutional with regards to the new constitution.

  • Robert Schaefer

    Actually, SCOTUS dos not have the final say. If they rule something unconstitutional, WE THE PEOPLE an amendment the Constitution. IF they rule on the basis of statute, we can change the laws.

  • Moderator3

    Happy birthday.

  • UncleBucky

    “Deliberately obtuse”!

    That’s an interesting phrase. Reminds me of the state of mind of a continual 9 year-old trying to test the limits of whether he gets smacked down or not… :P

  • UncleBucky

    Ricky is still “spreading” his sanctorum all around…

    But my question is, how goes with him the sweater vest fashion statement?

  • UncleBucky

    Yea-buddy!

    So, if we could ennumerate the times when social progress threatened this element (yeah, I know — always!), could we then create a chart of eras, social progress advances, historical events, popping up of nut case religionISTs, and the denoument of each clash?

    Thumperism has always seemed to me to be reactionary…

  • UncleBucky

    Quite likely, but the better question is, IS CIVICS, US Government, Sociology and Constitution class parts of NCLB? √

    Betcha not…

  • UncleBucky

    We’re getting back to the nullification battles… Jeez, these Kocher/GOPer/Bircher/southernIST/neo-Confederate/thumperIST/liebertarian/NRAer hot “dogs” don’t give up, eh?

  • The Supreme Court does not have the absolutely final word. Congress can still pass clarifications to overturned legislation. It’s just not likely. Today is my birthday, so I am no longer the same age as Sanctus Sanctorum. It’s bad enough both of us graduated from Penn State in 1980, let alone the same age two months out of the year!

  • Betty Schaefer
  • StevesWeb

    I use bleach to get rid of Santorum stains

  • Indigo

    Maybe Santorum had a religious exemption from attending seventh grade civics class.

  • You’re being much too nice about it. He’s a liar. Period.

  • “we’re on the brink of a full-on racist and religious retreat out of the public sphere”

    At most, it will only be temporary. You’re talking about an element of American society that has been with us from the beginning, and is probably never going to go away completely. They pop up periodically when social progress starts to make them feel threatened, sometimes even become the dominant element in American politics, then, when they’ve alienated the majority, they crawl back under their rocks.

    As for Santorum, he’s as dishonest as the rest of them.

  • kurtsteinbach

    I regularly invite people to Google, “Santorum” and even post a link to the entry. . . .

  • FLL

    Your suggestion that a “religious school needs to choose between tax breaks and hiring discrimination” is in the air. Today’s NYT features an article penned by the Times’ editorial board: “Illegal Defiance on Same-Sex Marriage” (link here). The Times article points out that county clerks are serving the public, and

    “government employees do not have a constitutionally protected right to pick and choose which members of the public they will serve, no matter their religious beliefs.

    The Times article ends with a general guideline that also addresses your example of the religious school deserving tax breaks only if they stop discriminating:

    “The Constitution’s protection of religious freedom simply does not include the right to discriminate against others in the public sphere.”

  • ComradeRutherford

    “”When did it become the law of the land that the Supreme Court has the final say on everything?” — Santorum at NRLC”

    It’s called the Constitution, something Conservatives HATE.

  • Butch1

    Agreed.

  • My opinion is ‘they’re deliberately revising it.’ They do seem to want to tear down the wall between Church and State and make sure it’s their church doing the ruling.

  • 2patricius2

    When did Santorum become an authority on anything? He even sounds silly when comparing napkins to paper towels.

  • Zorba

    Perhaps Dickinson School of Law should seriously consider repudiating and revoking Santorum’s law degree. Every time he opens his mouth, it reflects badly on them.
    And, I’m sorry (well, no I’m not, really) but every time I see the name “Santorum,” I cannot help but remember Dan Savage’s definition of it. :-D

  • Butch1

    Then they are the worst kind of “christians” there are.

  • Butch1

    I think you have a point; I also think none of these religionists should ever get into the White House. It’s always religion first with them, then the country. They have either forgotten their American History or are deliberately revising it.

  • Rex Thorne

    He’s lying to wingnuts. These right-wing leaders know they’re not telling the truth. Everything they say is for their base of poorly-educated religious extremists.

  • Actually, I think Mike Huckabee is even more deliberately obtuse.

  • Butch1

    I’m beginning to wonder . . .

  • Butch1

    It’s clear that this person should never and I do mean never get near the White House; not even on a tour! He has to be the most obtuse person I think I have ever seen. Does religion really do this to you or was it his choice to be this dense?

  • There’s no effin’ way Santorum doesn’t know about Marbury v. Madison. Which means he’s cravenly pandering to the Know Nothing far-right Faux News-watching GOP base — as are most of the GOP candidates and leaders these days.

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