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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What America Thinks: Is the Law Really the Law?

Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis was jailed last week for refusing to follow federal law and distribute marriage licenses to same-sex couples due to her religious beliefs. Her actions quickly became a subject for political debate. So we decided to find out what America thinks.

Turns out, it doesn’t matter to voters who you are: The law is the law, even if you’re the president. Most recently, in light of Davis’s case, just 26% say an elected local official should be able to ignore a federal court ruling that he or she disagrees with for religious reasons. Earlier this year, just as few said the president should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if they are standing in the way of actions he feels are important for the country. Only slightly more (33%) said states should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if their elected officials disagree with them.

Voters really put their foot down for the law – and the constitutional balance of powers - when it comes to the commander-in-chief. Just one-in-five think a president should be able to change a law passed by Congress if he thinks the change will make the law work better. 69% think he needs Congress’s approval first. More than half of voters agree that, on issues considered important to the nation, the government should only do what the president and Congress agree on rather than the president acting alone if Congress doesn’t approve.

And when it comes to the highest law of the land, voters want hands off: Just 40% think any changes should be made to the U.S. Constitution, while 59% think it should be left alone.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.