Carly Fiorina Did Refer to a Supreme Court Ruling as the “Law of the Land”

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Last Friday, on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Jan Mickelson asked Carly Fiorina about her use of the term “law of the land” when referring to Supreme Court rulings.

“Here in Iowa, when you say Supreme Court decisions are the law of the land, that sets us off because Iowans got bludgeoned by court decisions here, and we went through Civics 101 and we don’t accept propositions that court decisions are the law of the land,” Mickelson said.

“Actually, with all due respect Jan, I think that is a quote from someone else, not from me. I know there are many Republican candidates, Kasich among them, who have said those exact words, but there is no doubt, there is no doubt that we have a problem with our judiciary,” Fiorina responded.

She shifted to mention how crucial it is to appoint the right justices:

It was interesting that I was having a conversation in South Carolina a couple of nights ago with their Attorney General about the Constitution and one of the things we know is that the 10th Amendment is obviously very important, the 9th Amendment that talks about individual things reserved for the people is important. There is also the privileges and immunities clause in the 14th Amendment, this is something that Clarence Thomas has been telling me about.

I’m not trying to get in the weeds here, what I’m trying to say is there is an argument to be made for judicial engagement to rectify when the law begins to impinge on the personal immunities and privileges of citizens, and I think we are at that point. We are certainly at that point with imminent domain. We are at that point with many things, but it also highlights how critically important it is to have a President who will appoint the right justices.

So one of the things that I will do is not delegate the selection of those people or the nomination of those people to say my general counsel. I am going to spend a lot of time with the people we propose to nominate to the court, and I’m going to see how well they hold up to pressure because people look like they are one thing, and then they will become another thing when they can’t take pressure.

Mickelson then circled back to the original question, “so you never said that?”  To which Fiorina responded:

I am not aware of having said that. I am aware of other candidates saying that. I think this probably came up with the recent decision on gay marriage. My comment on that was we must exert enormous energy towards protecting religious liberty in this country, and that means every state has to pass a religious freedom protection act. We have had those pass in many state, and I stood strong and defended Indiana when everybody was piling on Indiana, but it is clear we have to pass those laws at the state level, as well as, the federal level.

As to the original question: Unfortunately, she did refer to the Supreme Court decision on marriage as the “law of the land.”  She said it to me after a Dallas County Republican event she spoke at in May.

Here’s the video:

“I think the Supreme Court ruling will become the law of the land, and however much I may agree or disagree with it, I wouldn’t support an amendment to reserve it. I very much hope that we would come to a place now in this nation where we can support their decision and at the same time support people to have, to hold religious views and to protect their right to exercise those views,” Fiorina told Caffeinated Thoughts.

“I think this is a nation that should be able to accept that government shouldn’t discriminate on how it provides benefits and that people have a right to their religious views and those views need to be protected. We need to protect religious liberty in this country,” Fioriana added.

Now granted she said this before the Supreme Court ruled, but her statement is pretty clear: “I think the Supreme Court ruling will become the law of the land.”

I have not heard her say that after the ruling, but in anticipation of the ruling, Fiorina did in fact refer to the upcoming ruling as the “law of the land” regardless of how they ruled. Mickelson’s question was an attempt to get at her view of judicial review, not so much her position on same-sex marriage.

In Fiorina’s defense, she gives lots of interviews and is asked a lot of questions. So I’ll cut her some slack. She does need to answer some questions, however.

Regarding the judiciary: Do you believe in judicial supremacy, and if not, what are you willing to do to address a runaway judiciary? Are there things you can do beyond court appointments? What kinds of jurists are you looking for? Do you have a litmus test?

Regarding religious liberty: Do government employees ever have a right to conscience? What will you specifically do to protect religious liberty? What executive action are you willing to take? What kinds of bills will you support? Would you support the First Amendment Defense Act?

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles in Action, a frequent contributor to TruthInAmericanEducation.com, and the editor of Iowa-based CaffeinatedThoughts.com.