The Beauty of Checks and Balances

Whenever the President or Congress does something unconstitutional, everyone starts to panic, running around like chickens with their heads cut off. "Did you hear?" they say, "President Bush just abolished the 5th amendment!" "We're totally living in a fascist police state!" "Argghhhhhh!"

Meanwhile, I always sigh and say, "just wait until it gets to the Supreme Court. If it doesn't get reversed, then you can start worrying." Today, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supremes held that detainees at Guantánamo Bay can challenge their detention in US civilian courts, proving wrong all the hysterical people that assume that just because the President does something that it will be deemed legitimate by the rest of the branches.

What we really need to worry about is if a President ignores a ruling by the Supreme Court or is actively defiant of them (See Andrew Jackson, FDR). Then we'll have to worry about tyranny. But as long as the legal gears keep turning, just take a breath, consider all the angles, and wait.