Skip to comments.Obama's Attack on Supreme Court is Pre-Emptive Strike
Posted on 04/04/2012 5:22:36 AM PDT by Kaslin
WASHINGTON -- President Obama's complaints about the Supreme Court's critical review of his health care law suggests that he has a real problem with the Constitution's separation of powers doctrine.
He also seems to have a problem understanding that the court is a "co-equal" branch of government. Its powers are set forth in the Constitution. This is not some obscure government body that can be lectured about its duties and insulted as nothing more than -- in Obama's words -- "an unelected group of people."
Just a few days after the highest court in the land heard three days of oral arguments on a lawsuit brought by 26 states against the health care mandate, Obama seemed to be issuing a not-so-veiled warning to the justices, some of whom appeared to suggest that they may be prepared to strike it down.
Obama, in very blunt language, was essentially lodging a pre-emptive attack on the justices -- rare for a president in a pending case -- flatly telling them that striking down his mandate would be an unacceptable act of "judicial activism."
"I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is that the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint -- that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law," he said in a Rose Garden news conference Monday.
"Well, this is a good example. And I'm pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step," Obama added.
And if the judges didn't get his message, he added that it would be an "unprecedented, extraordinary step" for the court to strike down the mandate in a law passed by "a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
Excuse me, Mr. President, but the vote by which a law was passed is irrelevant to whether it is unconstitutional or not. As it happens, the law was passed by the slimmest of margins along party lines.
This is a president who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, who graduated from Harvard Law School, who was president of the Harvard Law Review.
Did he miss the class that dealt with the separation of powers doctrine? Did he forget the lecture in Constitutional Law 101 about the Supreme Court's inherent authority as a co-equal branch of government?
There is nothing in the Constitution that suggests the court is an inferior branch of government because the justices are "unelected" and the president and members of Congress are elected by the people.
Indeed, in Article III of the Constitution, it clearly states "The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme court ..."
And there are no restrictions on the court's purview. Indeed, it says, "The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States."
And what's this business about "unprecedented" if the court should strike down Obamacare? That's what the court has done in countless cases throughout our history, striking down laws that violate the Constitution -- from Marbury v. Madison in 1803 to anti-free speech laws in campaign finance reform.
Maybe Obama skipped his law class on the day it took up the Supreme Court's decisions in 1936 when it struck down 16 pieces of New Deal legislation. At least President Roosevelt had the decency to wait until he had won re-election before attacking the court on that one.
Obviously, the president knows full well that the court under Chief Justice John Roberts has overturned a lot of laws in some major cases.
There was the historic ruling striking down the handgun ban in the District of Columbia in which the court said the Constitution's "right to keep and bear arms" means exactly what it says.
There was the deconstruction of much of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms that imposed severely unconstitutional restrictions on political freedom of speech.
And there was the decision in the Citizens United case that corporations were just like people and should be free to contribute money to the candidates of their choice.
That ruling really stirred the president's ire in his 2010 State of the Union address. In an unprecedented public display of presidential petulance, with the embarrassed robed justices sitting before him, Obama charged the court had "reversed a century of law" that would "open the floodgates for special interests" to influence the outcome of political campaigns. Justice Samuel Alito could be seen mouthing the words, "Not true."
Obama's feigned outrage didn't last long. His campaign set up a super-PAC to accept business contributions from Wall Street and the like that his fundraising handlers hope will push his total contributions to the $1 billion mark.
Still, Obama's outburst, months before the court will hand down its health care ruling, was a rarity in presidential posturing.
"Though past presidents have occasionally inveighed against judicial activism, legal analysts and historians said it was difficult to find a historical parallel to match Obama's willingness to directly confront the court," The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
This was a performance dripping in politics, and Obama was preaching to the choir to energize his party's base at a time when polls show voters aren't very enthused about their choices in this election.
The nearly $2 trillion health care law is widely unpopular, especially the mandate that forces uninsured Americans to buy health insurance they do not want or cannot afford.
Obama says he expects the court will uphold the law, and the White House says there is no "Plan B." They had better get one soon, because this mandate is going down.
That it's duplicitous premise has not been fatally attacked here at FR surprises me, and I say that as a man many years removed from academia.
And the true evil of said premise lies not in it's attempt to hoodwink the uninformed re the Supreme Court, but in its brazen frontal assault on the essence of our republican form of government !
Nominees for direct elections for offices from dog catcher to Congress are decided upon by US citizens via a simple majority vote.
Henceforward, those elected are empowered to act on our behalf in their respective posts until such time as their term of office expires.
To wit: under our Constitution, the citizenry elects Senators from each state to represent us in the upper house for terms of six years.
Those Senators, under authority of Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, must either approve or reject - via a 2/3 majority - any nomination by the Executive for:
Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.
Nominations for the offices above under A2S2 must therefore, in fact, pass the muster of a 'super majority' (2/3) of our elected Senators to assume their respective posts.
How then is the latter not an example of the very basis of our Founders' desire that we be a Republic ? !
And how is Øbama's brazen attack on the Court's legitimacy not a frontal assault on the very basis of the Republic itself ? ?
Do his “Wise Latina” and the softball player count as part of that bunch of unelected people?
I have to disagree SWAMP. What Obama is doing is somewhat clever. He is using the very same rhetoric that we on the right have been using for some time. Let’s be honest with ourselves. We conservatives have criticized numerous courts for enacting liberal laws through “judicial activism”. Obama is mocking us publicly, and I fear he may score some serious political points with his mockery. What we on the right must do is explain to the public the difference between “judicial activism” (which is what liberal judges engage in) and correctly interpreting the Constitution (which is what conservative judges do.) If we don’t answer Barry’s taunts with clear, reasoned arguments, he may win the battle, at least the battle of public opinion.
“I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is that the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law,”
Let’s see if I have this straight. According to Obama, it is more appropriate that every single American citizen is forced to live their entire lives under the legislation passed by a temporary congress. The congress that took control of my physical being was in office for 2 years and Obama is now saying that I should have to live with federal control of my body and not have any recourse...
As I see this entire thing playing out, I am more and more impressed with the brilliance of our founders. The disparity between the terms of the house and senate, offset by the lifetime appointments of the USSC Justices is really pretty amazing.
Of course, if our representatives and justices don’t care about the constitution, the founders’ brilliance is lost....as is our Republic.
“As a narcissist, he derives his power from popularity, not law.”
That’s why he has no power with me and mine, he has all the popularity of a Rattlesnake with rabies...if there was such a thing as a Rattlesnake with rabies.
"Boatload" of speculation on that. Hussein getting in front of his next wedge issue, in that 'a too Conservative Court took away your healthcare', added to his laundry list of 'mean old GOP' excuses.
I'm thinking this guy is so pathetic McCain could beat him.
Now THAT is why I love Free Republic.
I find his hubris astounding.
Keep pissing into the soup of the USCC & then expect them to follow you like a puppy??? This follows his disrespect for them at a State of the Union speech. He sure thinks he is entitled to act like Chavez.
I sincerely hope that they vote to can the whole “law”—all 2700 pages.
If nothing else, on the basis that the bill was given to legislators on with no time to READ what they were going to have to vote on. There have to be some standards about how quickly a bill can be shoved under your nose & you have to vote.
I also hope that it comes out that Kagan is a mole on the court and that she is the leak to Obama, fueling his rage over their questions & failure to rubber stamp whatever he wants.
I don’t know how the country can legally deal with Kagan. She should have recused herself, but now I understand why she didn’t. She possibly is a mole for anything and everything Barry wants to hammer.
the most obvious thing he could be hiding would be admission to one or more of those schools as a foreign student.
True. But we argue against courts that uphold UNCONSTITUTIONAL law. Barry is criticizing the possibility that the Court might perform it's intended function. Not the quite the same.
They were cool with all this so long as Obama was going to march 50 million new paying customers into their arms at gunpoint.”””””””
As a life-long bookkeeper, I don’t see having any number of customers frog-marched into my business a plus if I am going to be told to serve them at a loss.
A LOSS is a LOSS is a LOSS.
Handing me more customers, more work, more regulation & ending up with a loss isn’t what private business is all about.
The Government operates at a loss, but they can demand more money for operations via Congress.
A private business cannot do that.
Already, parts of Obamacare are causing people I know in the medical profession to rethink what they will be doing in the future. Bartering for services is getting more and more attention.
More patients + fewer people to take care of them + less money paid for those services is a recipe for disaster-—just exactly what Obama wants. CHAOS.
Those of us over the age of 55 will be in dire jeopardy.
Those who are younger have been indoctrinated—not educated—and they will never figure it out.
Only a B in basketball? I’m shocked, I tell ya!
Here’s a /s for you and ms.
Obama campaign’s big blunder
I’m very happy about all of the Leftists attacks on the court this week.
ESPECIALLY the style - the style of this attack is exactly what woul dpiss off a wobbly vote - FOR Obeymecare.
He may be an a** - but no way would he launch these attacks if he won.
In fact - these attacks are almost threats. The people have a case against him that any vote now is coerced.
You’ve got to realize just how ignorant or stupid many of the Obamabots are. They aren’t capable of enough abstract thought to understand what they’re doing.
That would have to be pretty pathetic.... You're right!