Ben Carson on Supreme Court and Executive Branch Overreach — We Need to Drive a Stake in the Ground

Carson: "They have to be willing to stick a stake in the ground and they have to be willing to challenge ... and defund [even the president's breakfast]."

By Alan Eason Published on February 18, 2016

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the efforts of liberals to swing the Supreme Court to the left with a non-conservative replacement focuses a laser spot on the problem of judicial activism. It is a debate that in recent years has come to a head. In recent dissents, Justice Scalia battled judicial activism tooth and nail. His absence in the Court now exposes the country to ever more overreach and “legislation from the bench.”

President Obama’s recent reference to his own “responsibility” to appoint a replacement (presumedly much more activist) and the Senate’s “responsibility” to confirm it also demonstrates how unbalanced things have become. Concurrent with the expansion of the power of the Executive branch (by both parties) and the power of the Court, the place of the U.S. Congress has been diminished. Many on the Left seem to expect Congress to simply back up what the other two branches do, rather than taking its constitutional role of enacting laws and policies directed by the people it represents.

The seriousness of our current situation brings to mind some comments made a few months ago by Ben Carson. The GOP candidate had just released his new book on the U.S. Constitution, A More Perfect Union, and took questions at The North Texas Presidential Forum in Dallas, Texas, in October of 2015. (See The Stream coverage of Carson there, “What Makes Ben Carson Tick?“)

Two of the issues Carson and moderator Dr. Jack Graham discussed were the problem of judicial activism and the overuse of executive orders by President Obama.

The clip here is a portion of Carson’s answer to the question by Graham: “About this problem of judicial activism that we have — what is the solution to that and what kind of judges would you nominate, including to the Supreme Court?”


Carson: “That is going to be crucial and it is one of the reasons that it is important for us to get the right kind of judges next time.” He continued,”What we are going to do is look for judges who actually understand the Constitution as demonstrated by their activities in the past, not by what they say in an interview.”

Carson went on to say, “You can’t have checks and balances if one branch of the government becomes the peanut gallery as the legislative branch has become right now … that allows the executive branch and the judicial branch to overstep their bounds.” He then discussed what he considers the most needed attribute: courage.

“Courage is what is needed now — they have to be willing to stick a stake in the ground and they have to be willing to challenge …”

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