Yesterday Supreme Court ruling addresses fundamental questions that date back to the early American Republic. The founders created three competing branches of the federal government (legislative, judicial, and executive) rather than having a monolithic entity that would wield absolute power. Our founders thus believed that three competing branches would provide checks and balances on the accumulation of power. (Readers might find the federalist paper of interest). Now the recent Supreme Court Rulings in the cases of Trump vs Vance and Trump vs Mazar are as follows.
It is not disputed that the President is not above the law in federal cases. George Washington famously said a President is not a king. One question in these rulings addressed whether or not a President is above state law? The court said no.
This is consistent with the core belief that ALL be equal before the law, be they Presidents, CEOs, politicians, or average citizens. I believe that the court was correct in its ruling.
The second legal question is more complex. It centers on if one branch of government (legislative) has unlimited power to infringe on another – in this case, the Executive Branch. Again, in a practical sense, I believe that the Roberts court got this right. For the cases, at stake, the court remanded the issue back to the lower courts. It thus struck a balance between the legislative and executive with no clear victory for either.
The net result of this reveals the genius of our founders. The system they conceive over two centuries ago has managed to maintain the balance between branches of government, even today. This reaffirms George Washington’s belief that in our system a President is not a King. We are people indeed blessed by providence.