The Court v. The President: Who has a bigger historical impact?

A glimpse of The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court

President Obama and Congress

President Obama and Congress

By Jennifer Pacini

The Basics

The Chief Justice, John Roberts is the Head of the United States Federal Court System. The Chief Justice is the spokesperson for the Judicial Branch and when the court reaches an opinion—when in the majority—picks who writes the opinion.  The Chief Justice currently sits on a court with 8 other Justices. The main goal of the Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution and insure that no law will violate it.

The President, Barack Obama is the head of the Executive Branch and leader of the United States Armed Forces.  His executive powers allow him to appoint federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory, and judicial officials along with much more.

The other day we got the opportunity to sit in the Supreme Court. Many of us could not name all of the Justices or even the Chief Justice, yet we all know who the President is.

This got me thinking…

Who has a bigger historical impact?

Presidents have been the face of our government. They are in the eye of the media consistently. When a president gets elected hundreds of thousands will flock to Washington D.C.( like we have) to see the inauguration.  When a Justice gets appointed, they are sworn in in the Senate. There is not a huge public ceremony and it is only broadcasted for a short amount of time.  If we measure their historical impact by recognition, then the President would win.

However, there are more factors at hand.

Looking at the amount of time they spend in office can also play a role.  Justices hold their position for the rest of their life. The President, at a maximum will hold their position for eight years. The Supreme Court clearly has more time to make a larger impact on our nation.

We all know that the President and Congress work together to get bills passed and put into law. They can easily check one another. The Supreme Court can decide if a law is constitutional or unconstitutional. If the Court does decide that a law is unconstitutional, then that is that. The Legislative and Executive Branches can propose to amend the constitution but they can not reverse the decision. They can also propose new legislation in order to satisfy the constitutional challenge. When the Court rules that a law is unconstitutional it becomes precedent; meaning that all lower courts most follow the same standard in similar cases.  This gives the Court the final say on what can or cannot be in law.

I think that the Court has a larger historical impact on our country; they decided what is constitutional and what is not. They defend our most fundamental rights and set precedent for the future.  Even though our presidents are the face of our country and have a  countless list of duties,  I still believe that historically the Supreme Court has a larger impact.

What do you think?

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