What Happens If a Supreme Court Ruling is Ignored?

What happens if a supreme court ruling is ignored? Unimaginably, states would rarely disregard a supreme court ruling. With their significant legal weight and consequences attached, noncompliance could bring devastating lawsuits or US Marshalls at your door.

Paulsen and Whelan assert that the Constitution means whatever five Supreme Court justices deem it to mean; accordingly, government actors must comply with their interpretation.

State’s Rights

Once a Supreme Court ruling on a constitutional matter has been rendered, its verdict is considered virtually final and can only be altered through amending the Constitution through an uncommonly used process called amending Article V, which requires two-thirds of both houses of Congress and majority state legislatures to pass an amendment amendment vote before being approved by three-fourths of all states through their ratification processes.

If a President were to disobey such a ruling, there could be serious repercussions from the Supreme Court – they could find him guilty of contempt of court which is punishable as an offense and force him into complying with it. Unfortunately for states though, their rights may not be as clear.

Read This Gist: Is There No Indictment After 180 Days Mississippi? 4 Great Hints for You.

Cooper v. Aaron indicates that state legislators and executive officials are “bound by Oath or Affirmation” to uphold the U.S. Constitution; however, their interpretation of this clause could differ, making it hard for them to justify disregarding Supreme Court decisions.

If the Supreme Court’s decisions are disregarded, it could result in anarchy and weaken its authority. Our founders intended for the Court to be an arbiter of federal law and check on state power; so it would not be fair or logical if Congress or Presidents restricted its scope or prevented it from exercising its mandate.

Judicial Decisions

When the Supreme Court renders its verdict on a constitutional matter, its decisions are usually final and can only be altered through constitutional amendment or new decisions by the same Court. As such, presidents find it very hard to ignore court rulings they disagree with – though this does not exonerate them of legal responsibility; there are numerous checkpoints set up that can hold them accountable, including impeachment or removal from office for violations.

Opposing a Supreme Court ruling may seem like an appealing idea, but doing so illegally and with disastrous repercussions for both the state in question and for the nation as a whole. Failing to enforce such rulings creates turmoil within political systems and divides voters further causing chaos and confusion within voters’ lives while at the same time undermining integrity of judiciary branch and rule of law in that particular state.

At one time, overturning an earlier Supreme Court decision was generally seen as wrong and they deferred to precedent in cases they disagreed with. Today however, that deference to precedent is slowly diminishing – for example when they denied review for two cases involving same-sex marriage, it sent the clear signal that they no longer felt bound by Baker v Nelson, which ruled against same-sex marriage in 1972.

Judicial Nullification

The Constitution grants the Supreme Court the power of judiciary review, meaning it can strike down laws it deems unconstitutional. Failure to heed their decisions would create constitutional crisis and compromise checks and balances essential for democracy.

There have been instances in which juries used their power to nullify laws, usually to stop an accused from receiving the death penalty or lesser charges. One prominent instance occurred when white Southerners in “A Time to Kill” refused to convict two men charged with raping a black girl because the law violated their religious beliefs.

New Hampshire’s recent decision to require judges to inform prospective jurors of their right to nullify laws is both exciting and daunting; hopefully other states will follow suit and force federal courts to be more transparent with this important part of trial processes.

State governments may technically ignore Supreme Court rulings, but doing so would likely create chaos and undermine coequal branches of government. Furthermore, Presidents would likely face charges due to their dependence on legal advice provided by Office of Legal Counsel on how best to interpret and apply federal laws.

State’s Response

As one of three equal branches of government, states are expected to abide by decisions of the Supreme Court. States that ignore its decisions could face legal consequences; for example if New York refused to comply with an American Marshalls decision regarding concealed carry permits from the court then this may erode both their authority as well as harm the separation between federal government and state governments.

However, if a state disagrees with a Supreme Court ruling they can either appeal it through the courts or work towards changing any relevant legislation that led to it. This aspect of American politics must be respected as it serves an integral part of both Constitutional and American government.

As a general rule, Supreme Court decisions are binding upon all other courts, legislatures, and executive branches of government. However, certain exceptions exist and they have the power to overrule lower court rulings when their errors are clear and substantial; their power lies within the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause which establishes federal supremacy over state law.