Comments about ‘Letters: Separation of powers’

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Published: Tuesday, March 5 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The answers to your questions are No, No, and No. Every administration files briefs with the Supreme Court laying out their position on various issues. They always have, they always will.

Ogden, UT

@Don S. Robertson

President Obama is NOT out of line to announce a legal position on the issue of who is eliible to marry, nor is he trying to promulgate a campaign to sway the decision of the court regarding their deliberations on the constitutionality of changing the definition of traditional marriage. He is not attempting to change the definition of traditional marriage; he is merely trying to make marriage available to all people, subject to appropriate limitations (the gender of the person to whom another person has sexual and affectional affinity is not one of them). He is not attempting to force a decision on the subject, nor is he attempting to require a particular decision from the justices.

The administration merely submitted a legal brief setting forth the reason to uphold the equal protection provisions of the Constitution when addressing the subject of marriage. In other words, he is protecting and defending the Constitution. That is what he swore to do when he took the oath of office.

Burke, VA

Members of the Supreme Court have a lifetime appointment barring any criminal activity on their part. Regar4dless of who is applying pressure from whatever source, the jusitces of the court have pledged to uphold the Constitution as they interpret it. Certainly issues before the court both past and present have, unfortunately, been influenced by political leanings of members of both political parties. But any influence that is allowed to alter the rulings from the bench are the fault of the justices, not those who wish, hope and strive for the court's decision to follow their beleifs.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT


Study history please.

When hasn't the president tried to influence the other branches of gov? And vice versa?

What Obama has done isn't any different than what the other 43 presidents have done.

Pleasant Grove, UT

I don't see anything wrong with filing a brief. His public campaigning is unseemly, but he crossed that line long ago when he railed on the Supreme Court during the State of the Union address. Propriety never was his strong point. I suppose he has to give the special interest groups their money's worth.


If the premises of the letter are correct, then wouldn't Congress also be acting with impropriety by not only issuing briefs but actually hiring lawyers to argue the case?

Or does the fact that they are on the same side you are on add legitimacy to their actions?

Amicus briefs have always been submitted to the Courts. Politicians from the President in down have submitted them and such actions have never been found to be improper.

Just because you dislike Obama does not mean everything he does is a violation of his role and duties.

Eugene, OR

Translation: Prop. 8 is on the verge of being overturned, so I'm going to whine about it.

salt lake city, utah

Oh come on Maudine.."Just because you dislike Obama does not mean everything he does is a violation of his role and duties."...of course it does.

Tooele, UT

Re: "President Obama is NOT out of line to announce a legal position on the issue of who is eliible to marry . . . ."


But, it will be interesting to observe what he does when the Supreme Court declares that sophomoric, clearly unsustainable legal position to be erroneous, and upholds the constitutionality of DOMA.

My guess is, he'll find some other dodge to justify going AWOL on his actual duty, just as he's done on immigration, the budget, support of the military, the Benghazi debacle, environmental regulation, border enforcement, voter-intimidation, and many, many other issues.

The President feels no moral compulsion to attend to people he disagrees with or to obey rules or laws that interfere with his politics. Not only does he refuse to take "no" for an answer, he can't even accept "yes," if he feels there's more politics to be cynically milked from an issue.

That makes a separation-of-powers fight with the Supreme Court inevitable, over this, or one of many other Democrat vote-buying "big-tent" political issues.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

I believe in marriage equality for all consenting adults (love is love), but this seems misguided. It is not the Court’s job to overturn laws which the Constitution is silent on. If the Court is smart they will kick this right back to the Legislature and We The People.

If we learned anything from Roe v Wade it should be that when Courts try to make public policy, they often create more problems than they solve. Plus, this sort of judicial activism undermines both democracy and the principles of self-government and needs to stop.

Sadly, it probably won’t as over the last few decades both political parties are engaged in an arms race of activism, nominating judges who first and foremost believe in an ideology. Judicial restraint and deference to the elected branches of government (unless the Constitution has clearly and unambiguously been violated) is typically low on the list of sought after qualifications.

Is it any wonder that in ~98% of all close decisions, we know exactly where each judge will end up ahead of time?

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT

For some (probably sane) reason, the Constitution allows more than it disallows. This causes heartburn for people on both sides of various issues, depending on personal beliefs and individual interpretation of law. Get used to it. If you don't like how the Supreme Court rules on this issue, wait a few months; the justices will confront another issue on which they happen to agree with you. If you don't like this system, perhaps you could move to China or North Korea or Iran, where the courts are told by the Party, the dictator, or the Supreme Ruler how they should judge.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

The Constitution is mum on the definition of "marriage".

But, the Declaration of Independance says:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

My quess will be that the SCOTUS will rule banning anyone their liberty to the "pursuit of Happiness" will be found un-Constitutional...and Gay marrige will be approved.

Hence, the silent but growing Republican Support FOR it.
[some Republicans don't want to be found once again on the loosing side of history.]

Rough couple of years for ultra-conservative Tea-Partiers.

The economy is improving,
Osama Bin Laden is dead,
Obamacare passed and has been found Constitutional,
Mitt Romney lost, and Obama was re-elected,
the House and Senate lost Republican seats,
assault weapon bans are in the works,
and gay marriage seems likely to to pass.

It's know wonder they feel the end of the world is fast approaching.
Fortunately it's only the end of THEIR world that is fast approaching.

Salt Lake City, UT

Face it, change is hard. Change is especially hard when we thought we were on the "right" side (read: "winning" side) and now it would appear that society has changed its mind on the issue in record time. Only 10 States now allow gay marriage, so the odds that the court will issue a wide ruling overturning 40 other State laws is minimal. However, the handwriting is on the wall that what many thought was right is now wrong. Best guess on the coming rulings: Prop. 8 is dead and Doma is as well, but in a more limited way that will still allow the States to decide the issue.

Eagle Mountain, UT

I love this very idea that the Justices can be swayed by 10 second sound bites or 30 second commercials.

Something tells me if they were so easily swayed, they would not have landed in the Supreme Court.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Nope. Nothing wrong with a President lobbying for a decision. Any more than there's anything wrong with any party filing an amicus brief.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Rough couple of years for ultra-conservative Tea-Partiers . . . . The economy is improving . . . ."

Wait, wait. I thought the President just told us we're facing an economic Armageddon because he's only going to have $15B more to spend this year than last.

You're not suggesting our President may have lied to us, are you?

I'm shocked!

Deep Space 9, Ut

To "Open Minded Mormon" I hate to tell you this, but the Declaration of Independance is not law. It is an important document, but is not a document containing laws or regulations for the US. Nowhere in the US Constitution do we grant the right to persue happyness. Gay marriage should not be allowed because it destroys society's view of marriage and eventually destroys that institution. With gay marriage you will end up with more children born out of wedlock, which increases poverty rates.

Lets talk about some of Obama's other accomplishments:

2 downgrades in the US credit rating
$6 Trillion in debt and counting
Legal imprisonment of US citizens without a warrant
Legalized warrantless searches of email.
$2.6 Trillion cost of Obamacare up from original $900 billion original estimate.
Highest number of people receiving food stamps
Least transparent government in history
Legalized drone strikes on US Citizens
Average US income is $4000 less than before Obama
Lowest labor participation rate in the past 31 years
Longest period with high unemployment since the Great Depresion.

Why look to Obama to save the US, when his policies have a 5 year track record of failure?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"Why look to Obama to save the US, when his policies have a 5 year track record of failure?"

Why look to Obama to save the US, when Bush's policies have a 8 year track record of failure?

In fact, instead of repubs like you, complaining about how Obama, why don't you list and demonstrate how YOUR policies are any different? Why aren't YOU folks coming up with popular and effective solutions?

Momma always taught me that if you don't have any solutions then don't you complain.


Repubs like to complain about Obama for continuing the policies which the GOP created. Spend spend spend war war war, heck even Obamacare was the GOP's health care solution in the 90s.

It's no wonder why the GOP is becoming so irrelevant politically. They're difficult to differentiate from the Democrats. And those who aren't are just too darn crazy and out of touch with ideas that no one in the right mind supports or likes.

Politics 101, come up with realistic and popular solutions. The GOP has failed at this. And it showed last year, when Mitt was beaten down into submission by Obama.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Each Branch of government has its own duty. The President has no authority over the Court or over Congress. His duty is to execute the laws of this country that are passed by Congress. Of course, he thinks that his duty is to be supreme ruler and that Congress and the Court are only minor branches of Government. The truth is that the Presidency is the least important branch of government. He cannot decide if a law is good or bad and he can't legislate. He is bound by his oath to execute the laws of the land, so he can't even choose which laws to execute and which to ignore (as if an oath would ever stop Obama from doing what he wants). Failure to execute the law and failure to limit himself to his authorized duties brings into play the specter of impeachment.

The Court is bound to rule everything brought before it against the steel rule of the Constitution, not the rubber rule of public opinion. This Court has four justices who bow to public opinion.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Maverick -- may I disagree on one point?

You say: "Why look to Obama to save the US, when Bush's policies have a 8 year track record of failure?"

Actually, that is wrong. It's now a 12 year record of failure. Obama has been forced to live with, and try to work around, some of the Cheney policies that were carved in stone.

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