Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted on Friday: “any Supreme Court nominee of mine will make overturning Citizens United one of their first decisions.”
Any Supreme Court nominee of mine will make overturning Citizens United one of their first decisions.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 22, 2016
It’s obvious Sanders doesn’t understand the balance of power in America’s constitutional republic. Nor is it likely that he’s read the U.S. Constitution. He seems to think the Supreme Court can make laws and overturn laws. It can’t– only Congress can.
Randal John Meyer, a legal associate at the Cato Institute told The Daily Caller News Foundation, “Senator Sanders seems rather confused about Supreme Court practice. Supreme Court Justices do not issue court decisions on their own. A Court opinion, to be considered the definite law, must be affirmed by a majority of the sitting Justices—five of nine.”
“In fact, even to overhear a case where overturning Citizens United would be an option, not only must that issue be squarely presented before the Court, but four justices would need to agree to hear the case. While Senator Sanders may be able to make some impact on those votes with the change of a single Supreme Court appointment, it is by no means a guarantee that such a person would be able to garner the other four votes necessary to overturn any case, let alone such a recent one.”
Twitter users quickly began mocking Sanders, some were less kind than these:
@BernieSanders You seem to not understand how cases reach the Supreme Court, which makes me really doubt your grasp of government.
— John Olson (@pilotolson) January 22, 2016
@BernieSanders huh? Come on staff,that is not how court decisions and timings are made. Civics 101.
— DrewInDetroit (@bridgespeaks) January 22, 2016
Sanders has long opposed the Court’s decision on the Citizens United and advocates that only public funds fuel political campaigns.
Yet, he might want to brush up on the basic fundamentals of American history, and the limited roles of each branch of government as delineated by the Framers when writing the Constitution.