Can the US President overrule the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court ruled on June 24, 2022 to abolish Roe v Wade, thereby removing a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

President Joe Biden spoke out against the decision, saying it was up to Americans to take a stand.

The Supreme Court ruled to abolish Roe v Wade


The Supreme Court ruled to abolish Roe v Wade

Can the President overrule the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court is the highest level that makes federal decisions in the US, and once a ruling is made, the President has no power to overturn it.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, Biden held a news conference and said, “Let me be absolutely clear: the only way we can secure a woman’s right to vote and the balance that exists is for the Congress protecting Roe v. Wade as federal law.

“No executive action by the President can do that. And if Congress, it seems, lacks the vote – votes for it now, voters need to make their voices heard.”

If a piece of legislation is brought back to the Supreme Court, it can reverse its decision, but it would generally take newly elected officials to make that change.

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The decision was taken by a 6-3 vote to overturn a half-century-old law that gave women autonomy over their bodies.

And while Biden can’t change the Supreme Court decision, he urged voters to take a stand in the polling booths in November.

“In my view, this is a sad day for the country,” Biden said, adding, “but that doesn’t mean the fight is over.”

How can a Supreme Court judgment be overturned?

Although the Supreme Court ruling is virtually final, its final decision is not always set in stone.

The bill can be passed to Congress, where it would require a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress to pass.

According to NBC News, this is the first time in US history that a constitutional amendment that has had so much public support has been overturned and one of the few times in history that a right has been taken away.

Former President Donald Trump-appointed Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh supported the majority opinion that Justice Samuel Alito wrote, saying the Roe court’s decision sparked “a national controversy that has embittered our political culture for half a century.” .

The opinion was also supported by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.

Alito continued, “We feel Roe and Casey need to be overridden. The Constitution does not refer to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which defenders of Roe and Casey now primarily rely – the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause.

“It is time to heed the constitution and hand the abortion issue back to the people’s elected officials.

He ended by calling the original Roe decision “enormously wrong and deeply damaging”.

A woman’s right to an abortion could come down to November’s election, and Biden warned that the only way to overturn the ruling is to elect more pro-choice officials to Congress.

“This fall, we need to elect more senators and representatives to put women’s suffrage back into federal law, elect more heads of state to protect that right at the local level,” Biden said.

He continued: “We must restore the protection of the roe as the law of the land. We must elect officials who will do this.

“This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal liberties are on the ballot. The right to privacy, freedom, equality, they are all on the ballot.”

Congress can overrule the Supreme Court by a two-thirds majority


Congress can overrule the Supreme Court by a two-thirds majorityPhoto credit: Getty

When did Congress reverse the Supreme Court ruling?

Since the founding of the US, there have been a few instances where Congress has intervened to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision.

Some of these cases are:

  • Dred Scott vs. Sanford (1857) – The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that slaves were property and that African Americans, whether enslaved or not, could not be US citizens. Congress intervened after the Civil War and introduced the 13th and 14th amendments, which abolished slavery and made all U.S.-born or naturalized people citizens.
  • Tobacco Regulations (2000) – The Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 majority against the Food and Drug Administration’s right to regulate tobacco, saying they lack authority. Congress reversed that decision in 2009 by passing the bipartisan Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control in Families Act, which allowed the federal government to regulate tobacco products.
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  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (2007) – The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Lill Ledbetter in a lawsuit against her employer, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co, where she worked for nearly two decades before finding out she was being paid significantly less than her male colleagues. The Supreme Court argued that too much time had elapsed between the point at which the discrimination was committed and the filing of the lawsuit. The ruling was reversed in 2009 and then-President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, making it easier to file wage discrimination lawsuits. Can the US President overrule the Supreme Court?


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