Skip to comments.NBC Accuses Federal Judge of Bringing Politics Into Courtroom By Questioning Obama
Posted on 04/05/2012 5:11:27 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams accused a federal judge of bringing politics into the judicial process simply by ordering the Justice Department to explain controversial comments President Obama made against the Supreme Court: "Politics are ideally supposed to stay out of the nation's courtrooms, but that's not what happened this week in a federal courtroom in Texas."
In report that followed, correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The political controversy spilled into a Texas federal court, where the rules are designed to filter out politics, interrupting arguments about a challenge to part of the Obama health care law." Williams noted how Judge Jerry Smith "put a Justice Department lawyer on the spot" to explain the President's attack on the court system and made sure to point out that Smith was "a Reagan appointee."
Williams explained: "On Monday, asked about predictions that the Supreme Court might strike down the health care law, the President used terms normally invoked by conservatives to attack decisions they don't like." After playing a clip of the comments in question, Williams did mention: "The President did dial back his remarks yesterday, saying simply the courts have shown restraint in overruling acts of Congress..."
With the President's comments stirring controversy, Williams tried to bring the story to an end: "...some say everyone should now cool it." A sound bite followed of American University Washington Law School professor Stephen Wermiel, who concluded: "President Obama really stepped into a controversy by criticizing the judicial activism of the court, but I can't imagine the circumstances under which a federal judge would then order the Justice Department to explain the President's views."
Professor Wermiel is also the author of "Justice Brennan, Liberal Champion."
NBC largely ignored the fact that President Obama injected politics into the Supreme Court proceedings with his Monday comments. The only coverage of the misstep on the network prior to Wednesday night was a single news brief by Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday's Today: "President Obama predicted Monday that the Supreme Court will uphold his health care reform law when that ruling is announced in June. The President seemed to challenge the justices directly when he warned that overturning the law would hurt millions of Americans and amount to an overreach by the court."
Here is a full transcript of the April 4 Nightly News report:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Politics are ideally supposed to stay out of the nation's courtrooms, but that's not what happened this week in a federal courtroom in Texas. One of the judges took issue with some of what President Obama said this week at the White House about the big health care case that's now in the hands of the Supreme Court. Our justice correspondent Pete Williams has more.
PETE WILLIAMS: The political controversy spilled into a Texas federal court, where the rules are designed to filter out politics, interrupting arguments about a challenge to part of the Obama health care law. Jerry smith, an appeals court judge, put a Justice Department lawyer on the spot yesterday about a comment earlier this week from President Obama.
JERRY SMITH: I'm referring to statements by the President in the past few days to the effect, and I'm sure you've heard about them, that it is somehow inappropriate for what he termed unelected judges to strike acts of Congress.
WILLIAMS: On Monday, asked about predictions that the Supreme Court might strike down the health care law, the President used terms normally invoked by conservatives to attack decisions they don't like.
BARACK OBAMA: For years, what we've heard is 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. Well, it's a good example.
WILLIAMS: He said it would be unprecedented to overturn a law passed by a majority in Congress. Judge Smith, a Reagan appointee, demanded a letter from the government by noon tomorrow stating its position on the power of the courts to strike down laws. Republicans in Congress pounced too. The Senate's Minority Leader Mitch McConnell circulated a list of 169 times the Supreme Court has struck down federal laws in part or completely. The President did dial back his remarks yesterday, saying simply the courts have shown restraint in overruling acts of Congress, but some say everyone should now cool it.
STEPHEN WERMIEL [PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW]: President Obama really stepped into a controversy by criticizing the judicial activism of the court, but I can't imagine the circumstances under which a federal judge would then order the Justice Department to explain the President's views.
WILLIAMS: Unknown in all of this is whether the justices were listening. Most legal experts say even if they were, it won't make a difference in what they do. Pete Williams, NBC News, at the Supreme Court.
Hells bells, if the Zimmerman/Trayvon case lands in court, what has NBC brought to the court?
nobody watches them any more but parasite trash on welfare , food stamps and free stuff. . 48% of our population!! romney will lose so bad. These republicrats just wont learn. Did you hear pretty boy Rubio (who has no substance and stands in front of a mirror all day) wants AMNESTY!!~!!????You can’t make that up. Get these illegals OUT OF HERE!! IM sick of paying!!! Put the employers in prison and watch those rats abandon ship carrying those babies on their backs!!!across the mud hole Rio Grande . Get the hell out of MY country!!
Somebody tell Brain Wiliams that this is the United States. In what sense is it “politics” , as Brian Williams contends, for somebody to contest the constitutionality of a law establishing a cabinet position having life or death power over a subject class of people ?
Obama’s contention that it would be unprecedented for the Supreme Court to declare such a law unconstitutional was so stupid that a federal judge just couldn’t believe that the Bamster meant what he said. It was with the utmost restraint that he asked Obama’s Justice Department to explain their boss’s ridiculous comments.
How often do you have to replace those kneepads, Brian?
So now we can add lack of evidence that Ozero ever learned anything at that law school we have no evidence he ever attended.
Really!? What about politicking staying out of the “news” reporting?
Maybe if NBC did some investigation they would discover that the rulings of this particular court, the 5th Circuit, have been ignored by the Obama Administration in the past. They are the ones that ruled the drilling moratorium to be unconstitutional and the Administration continues the moratorium to this day.
It wouldn’t be preposterous to assume that these guys at the Peacock Network (Williams, Matthews, Schultz, etc) actually “fantasize” about Obama at night.
Their flagrant public displays of Obama worship and affection are very abnormal.
These people are beyond help and beyond arguing with. Just ignore them. NBC is garbage. I won’t be watching the Olympics.
Like I said - 7 months of pure unadulterated no attempt at credibility propoganda.
I know how you feel. I tend to agree with you. I want to vote for a Republican presidential candidate but the GOP is making it impossible to do it. I'm mulling over not voting for Romney and just writing in Sarah Palin, Newt or even my own name!
As for the GOP disappearing after the 2012 election -- good riddance to it. Conservatives like myself and others will no longer tolerate the GOP's continual betrayals. Let the GOP die. A new and real conservative party will form very quickly and the RINOs can then openly climb into bed with their liberal Democrat lovers -- which they have been secretly desirous of doing for years.
War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.
The lying Lynch Mob Media, caught doctoring a tape of a police call, is questioning the ethics of a Federal judge? Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
This photo is truly disturbing! Obama, with the classic narcissist head up so I can look down on you and Williams bowing like he’s Jesus. Sick.
Check out my blog for more Obama outrages: The Obama Clarifier http://obamaclarifier.blogspot.com/
Exactly. Wasn’t it bambie would said the democrats overwhelming supported this bill.
That's why he needs a teleprompter - to keep him on track. He spoke from what's *within his heart* when he spoke to SCOTUS.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.