Pres. Obama Tries to Pressure The Supreme Court
I found it truly strange that Pres. Obama would scold the Supreme Court before they made a decision on Obamacare, but it’s even stranger that WaPo liberal columnist, Ruth Marcus, who adores Obamacare and Obama, would scold the President.
Obama’s assault on “an unelected group of people” stopped me cold. Because, as the former constitutional law professor certainly understands, it is the essence of our governmental system to vest in the court the ultimate power to decide the meaning of the constitution. Even if, as the president said, it means overturning “a duly constituted and passed law.”
Of course, acts of Congress are entitled to judicial deference and a presumption of constitutionality. The decision to declare a statute unconstitutional, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in 1927, is “the gravest and most delicate duty that this court is called on to perform.”
But the president went too far in asserting that it “would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the court to overturn “a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” That’s what courts have done since Marbury v. Madison. The size of the congressional majority is of no constitutional significance. We give the ultimate authority to decide constitutional questions to “a group of unelected people” precisely to insulate them from public opinion.
I would lament a ruling striking down the individual mandate, but I would not denounce it as conservative justices run amok.
It seems clear to me that Obama was sending a message to the Supreme Court Justices. It amounts to verbal bullying. I swear, his arrogance knows no bounds.
Here is part of what Pres. Obama said:
“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,” he said. “Well this is a good example and I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”
Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress.
As Marcus points out, it has not been “unprecedented and extraordinary” for the Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by Congress.
As RedState points out as well, Obama didn’t always feel this way:
In 2003, the United States Congress passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 by substantially larger margins than Obamacare. When the Supreme Court refused to strike down this law, which was passed by a “democratically elected Congress,” then-Senator Obama threw an absolute hissy fit about the fact that the Supreme Court had upheld the clear will of Congress (and the vast majority of the American people).
I’m not quite as optimistic as some that the Supreme Court will throw out Obamacare. My feeling is that they will split the baby and throw out the mandate, but not the law, which is will be an utter mess because the mandate is what pays for the law.