MSNBC Host vs. MSNBC Host on Respecting the Final Say of the Supreme Court

Liberal hosts on MSNBC can’t get their talking points in order when it comes to how liberals should react to the Supreme Court.  On Tuesday’s The Cycle, co-host Steve Kornacki insisted that “if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, that does not mean it's unconstitutional.”   To the Salon.com writer, just because the Court would have spoken thus doesn't make it final.

Such open and partisan comments are a stark contrast to those made by MSNBC weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry today. On MSNBC Live following the Supreme Court upholding ObamaCare, Harris-Perry rebuked Kentucky Republican Rand Paul for his attack on the Supreme Court, saying he should respect the Court's word as final. 


Here's what Sen. Paul tweeted and to which Harris-Perry took exception: 

Just because a couple of people on the supreme court declare something to be constitutional does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right.

Harris-Perry took issue, retorting:

When a couple of people on the Supreme Court declare something to be constitutional it is, in fact, constitutional.  It’s how our government operates. It is part of what has been, you know, obviously distressing for folks on the left, for progressives, who have looked at a lot of decisions they have been very unhappy with from the court coming out, whether it was on the immigration decisions on Monday or whether it was about Citizens United.

So, had the court overturned ObamaCare, according to Kornacki, that doesn’t mean the law is necessarily unconstitutional. But now that ObamaCare has been upheld, it clearly is constitutional and the case should be closed to MSNBC.



Added Harris-Perry:

  But the fact is once they are determined constitutional , only the Supreme Court can then make them unconstitutional -- doesn't make them good or bad policy but it does, in fact, make them constitutional.

Of course, Paul's point was not so much that the Court did not have the final word on judicial review but that just because the Court declares something so, that doesn't mean it's morally right or harmless to the political liberty of the American people. Indeed, the Supreme Court once approved of interning Japanese-American civilians (Korematsu v. United States), segregating blacks and whites in public accomodations like trains (Plessy v. Ferguson), and denied the citizenship of African-Americans (Dred Scott case), all immoral, freedom-destroying edicts by the nation's highest tribunal.

See relevant transcript below.


MSNBC
The Cycle
June 26, 2012

3:59 p.m. EDT  

STEVE KORNACKI: I think you have a fair point when it comes to Libya.  He definitely should have gone to Congress, I think you have a fair point when it comes to the kill list, but you talk about the Supreme Court ruling tomorrow, I don’t say, if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, that does not mean it's unconstitutional.

MSNBC
MSNBC Live
06/28/2012


11:25 a.m. EDT

THOMAS ROBERTS: In all seriousness, we’re getting a lot of responses in here.  Melissa your reaction to Rand Paul's because we both got it together.  The Senator saying, “just because a couple of people on the supreme court declare something to be constitutional does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right.”  

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, my jaw dropped. I mean we have been getting a lot of responses, and you know most of them are what you would expect from either side.  Nancy Pelosi having very positive things to say about the decision.  You know, Lindsay Graham, not so much, but this from Rand Paul, to say that because a couple of people on the supreme court declared something to be constitutional does not make it so is simply inaccurate. In fact, when a couple of people on the Supreme Court declare something to be constitutional it is, in fact, constitutional.  It’s how our government operates. It is part of what has been, you know, obviously distressing for folks on the left, for progressives, who have looked at a lot of decisions they have been very unhappy with from the court coming out, whether it was on the immigration decisions on Monday or whether it was about Citizens United. But the fact is once they are determined constitutional , only the Supreme Court can then make them unconstitutional -- doesn't make them good or bad policy but it does, in fact, make them constitutional. Rand Paul was wrong.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.