Executive and legislative disagreements with the Supreme Court | Khan Academy
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Executive and legislative disagreements with the Supreme Court | Khan Academy

– [Instructor] In many videos already, we have talked about our
three branches of government in the United States, but
what we’re going to do in this video is focus a little bit more on the judicial branch. As we’ve talked about, the judicial branch’s main goal
is to be the final authority on the United States Constitution. And the main check that they have on the legislative and executive branches is that they can deem
things that are happening in the other branches, say a law that gets passed by Congress or an executive order from the president, as being unconstitutional. They can also interpret the
laws that have been passed. And so that’s where they get their power. Now another interesting thing
about the judicial branch that we’ve talked about
is unlike the executive and legislative branch,
where these folks are elected on a semi-regular basis,
the Supreme Court, these are lifetime appointments. Once someone is nominated by the president and then confirmed by the Senate, they’re in the Supreme Court for life. And so the question is is when the Supreme Court does something that say, the president
or a member of Congress disagrees with, what can they do? Well, there’s a couple of options here. One option, let’s say
that a clause of a law is deemed unconstitutional. So let’s say that there’s a law here and this part of it, the
US Supreme Court says, “No, that’s not consistent
with the Constitution,” sometimes, the legislature
might decide to, hey, let’s try to pass another law that clarifies that clause
in a way that is in line with the Constitution, or
we’ll do a whole other law that’s worded different,
but it has the same purpose. And so the legislative
branch can’t overrule the judicial branch, but they
can try to revise their laws to get more in line with their intent but not get the negative judicial review. The president also has some levers. There’s examples in
history of the president just outright ignoring a judicial verdict. For example, Thomas Jefferson,
during the Embargo Act during his administration, this is during the Napoleonic Wars, and those warring nations
were taking advantage of American vessels and seamen,
and Thomas Jefferson decided, hey, we don’t want to have
trade with those countries. There are aspects of those
that the Supreme Court, including some Jefferson appointees, decided were unconstitutional
but Jefferson just kind of kept executing the way he wanted to. You fast-forward a few decades to the beginning of the Civil War, President Lincoln decided
that, hey, there’s some people causing some trouble and
we need to detain them, and we know there’s a constitutional right of habeas corpus that says
that people should be allowed to go to court to decide
whether the detention is legal, to decide whether they should be detained, but President Lincoln decided
to suspend habeas corpus in certain parts of the country, which the Supreme Court
was not happy with. But he decided to just go ahead with it with the argument that it was necessary to preserve the Union. And perhaps the most famous
example of a president not being happy with
verdicts of the Supreme Court was FDR, as he took office in the midst of the Great Depression. There’s a whole series of federal programs that he was trying to pass, and the Supreme Court started
to strike down many of these, saying that, hey, this was not the role of the federal government,
or this was overreaching by the executive. And so FDR was not happy with this, and so he actually proposed
to the legislative branch the Judicial Procedures
Reform Bill of 1937, which essentially said, hey, as soon as a Supreme Court justice is over 70 and a half years old, I
should be able to appoint another Supreme Court justice, up to six, and it turns out there
were exactly six justices who had already reached that age, so he essentially wanted
to pack the Supreme Court with six new justices
that would agree with him, that would allow him to do what he wanted. The legislative branch did not pass his Judicial Procedures
Reform Bill of 1937, but some historians think
that it had the impact that he wanted, because it seems, and we don’t know for sure,
after he even tried to do this, the judicial branch seemed
more friendly to FDR. So maybe they said, “Hey, you know, “maybe we don’t want to
mess with this guy too much “because eventually he
might be successful. “Instead of having nine
Supreme Court justices, “we’ll have 15.” People sometimes call
this the switch in time that saved nine. But to get an appreciation of
how people thought about it, I have some political
cartoons from the time, and these are fun to just
pause and take a look at it. So this says Trying to
Change the Umpiring. So this is the Supreme Court,
President Roosevelt here, and he’s saying “Listen. I
don’t like your decisions. “From now on, you’re
going to have to work with “someone who can see things my way!” and you can see all the different
bats that he tried to use and they were all ruled out by the umpire. The NRA, the AAA, these are all different government institutions or programs that FDR was trying to set up in order to fight the Great Depression, as part of his New Deal. And they say, “New Deal Acts
declared unconstitutional.” I have another political
cartoon right over here, and it’s from that same period in time. Do We Want A Ventriloquist
Act In The Supreme Court? And you see Uncle Sam here
and then you have FDR, and it looks like he’s
got his hand controlling these puppets and it says,
“Yes, yes, we all vote yes!” and even FDR did not get his way with his court-packing plan
as it’s sometimes called, let me write that down,
his court-packing plan, as I mentioned, some historians
believe that it did help influence the court being a
little bit friendlier to him, and a somewhat irony of it
is at the end of the day, because FDR served so
many terms in office, he was able to make eight out of nine Supreme Court appointments. So in a lot of ways, he did determine the inclinations of the Supreme Court for many decades to come well
after his administration.


  • germanshepherddoglov

    The real question is do lower courts other than the Supreme Court actually check over Presidential actions. I.e. can a Federal Circuit judge rule a Presidential Directive unconstitutional.

  • Nyasa Jain

    Good content….
    By the way guys …just visit prof Dave Explains once his channel is really good ….u won't regret it…

  • Vicki Bee

    The only people who disagree with it that I know are those in the ACLU, who think the Guantanamo defendants who paid to have my loved one and thousands others murdered should get a slap on the wrist as punishment instead of the death sentence. Which incidentally is what they gave Eric Bennett and 2,988 other people and appeared to think it was funny they did it. And the Supreme Court DIDN'T violate the 8th Amendment when they decided about Capital Punishment.

  • Raja Rao

    your math videos kept me alive. i didn't want to keep on living and i almost died of an ear tumor. mad respect to you. on another note, if you give me your social security number and shout me out in your next video, i might do a collab on fortnite with you :))

  • Sangeeta Tandon

    Please read this comment
    I want to know how you got to MIT
    Is it important to have any other achievement like in sports or music/dance/theatre to get there?

    Please reply!!

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