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Trump’s Supreme Court Challenge Has a Historical Precedent

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The U.S. Supreme Court.

A key presidential election is approaching. The United States Supreme Court hears a case with powerful political implications. The court rules, but the populist president doesn’t care. Our national commitments–to the Constitution, to morality, to the rule of law–seem at risk.
Then, the president backs down. The nation survives.

This might be the story of President Trump‘s short-lived threat to get a citizenship question on the census in defiance of the Supreme Court. Instead, it’s the story of President Andrew Jackson and Worcester v. Georgia, decided in 1832.

Like the modern relationship between the president and the court, the case dominated public debate, raising deep questions about the endurance of the rule of law. At the height of the crisis, former President John Quincy Adams wrote, “The Union is in the most imminent danger of dissolution.”

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