Rolling Stone published an interview with President Obama yesterday in which he discusses what would happen to the Supreme Court – and to the American people – if Mitt Romney wins the election and gets to fill the next Supreme Court vacancies.
When asked if Roe v. Wade would be overturned, the president responded:
I don’t think there’s any doubt. Governor Romney has made clear that’s his position. His running mate has made this one of the central principles of his public life. Typically, a president is going to have one or two Supreme Court nominees during the course of his presidency, and we know that the current Supreme Court has at least four members who would overturn Roe v. Wade. All it takes is one more for that to happen.
President Obama also criticized Chief Justice Roberts’ ruling that the Affordable Care Act, while a constitutional exercise of Congress’s taxing power, was not constitutional under the Commerce Clause.
The truth is that if you look at the precedents dating back to the 1930s, this was clearly constitutional under the Commerce Clause. I think Justice Roberts made a decision that allowed him to preserve the law but allowed him to keep in reserve the desire, maybe, to scale back Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause in future cases.
Although it was mentioned in the interview, the Court’s ACA decision also limited Congress’s ability to set basic program requirements in federal-state partnerships like Medicare.
If Mitt Romney fills the next vacancies on the Court, the far right Justices will be able to aggressively roll back congressional authority. It is through Congress that the American people are able to address national problems like healthcare, the environment, worker safety, and the economic safety net. And it is through Congress that the American people are most effectively able to hold corporations accountable for their actions when they harm the American people.
But it is through Mitt Romney’s Supreme Court that the far right would severely weaken the power of the American people to act through Congress.