President Obama took on the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday with a declaration that a decision to overturn the health care law would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary” step of judicial activism. Obama said he was confident, however, that the law would be upheld, report the Washington Post and the New York Times. “I’d just remind conservative commentators that 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,” Obama said. “Well, this is a good example. And I'm pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”Yahoo News writer Susan Graybeal weighs in:
Obama's Health Care Comments are Insulting to the Supreme Court:
I think such language on the part of the president is tacky and insulting, not only to the Supreme Court justices but to the American people as well.
The American public realizes the president supports the health care law and believes it is constitutional. Additionally, I think we understand the notion the Supreme Court justices are "unelected" and the health care law was enacted by an elected Congress. What the president doesn't seem to understand is there are an awful lot of us who also get the idea of checks and balances and that one of the appropriate checks of the judicial branch of government is to make sure that the laws passed by the legislative branch are constitutional.So Obama is being mean, but is he at least being "fair"? That's one of his buzzwords. Is the Supreme Court really acting out of line here in considering striking down Obamacare? The WSJ offers Mr. Obama a lesson in constitutional law:
Obama vs. Marbury v. Madison
Presidents are paid to be confident about their own laws, but what's up with that "unprecedented'? In Marbury in 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall laid down the doctrine of judicial review. In the 209 years since, the Supreme Court has invalidated part or all of countless laws on grounds that they violated the Constitution. All of those laws were passed be a "democratically elected" legislature of some kind, either Congress or in one of the states. And no doubt many of them were passed by "strong" majorities.Also at the WSJ, our pal James Taranto had this to say:
President Obama made a statement today whose ignorance is all the more stunning for his once having been a part-time professor of constitutional law. . . . Unprecedented? . . . Did he sleep through the Harvard Law class on Marbury v. Madison?
For that matter, did he sleep through his own 2010 State of the Union Address, in which he upbraided the Supreme Court for striking down portions of the Taft-Hartley and McCain-Feingold laws, both of which passed Congress by wider margins than ObamaCare did?Even Politico is skeptical of the president's challenge, or at least the timing:
Obama, the left take on Supreme Court
Obama made an unusual pre-emptive [sic] strike Monday that previews the Democratic strategy if the high court nixes all or major parts of his signature domestic achievement. his volley, coming less than a week after the oral arguments wrapped up and while the justices are still deliberating, injects a high-level dose of politics into the most anticipated ruling since the court settled the 2000 presidential race.
His message was simple: The Roberts Court is on trial. . . .
But the approach, while cheered by the left, risks aggravating justices who recoiled at the president's last attempt to take them to task for a ruling he didn't like.Obama isn't doing himself any favors here. His statements can't possibly hold any sway over the justices themselves, and make the president look like he's whining. I'm sure some on the left are happy to see him out throwing political punches, but those people are already going to vote for him in November. I'm sure he isn't worried about pissing off conservatives--they're already chomping at the bit to put anyone BUT Obama in the White House, but how is this supposed to help him with independents? He should be sticking with the emotional appeals: save the children, help the poor, stop pushing grandma off a cliff. Challenging the authority of the Court is the wrong move, at least until a decision has been made.
UPDATE: Speaking of aggravating judges ...
Althouse: 5th Circuit reacts to Obama's remarks on the Supreme Court case and orders response on whether the Administration thinks courts may strike down a federal law.