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President Obama attacks the Supreme Court
Posted by Ron on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:14:37 PM
This post is a long time in coming. I almost wrote it two weeks ago when President Obama, in answering a press conference question, astoundingly asserted that the Supreme Court could not overturn a law like Obamacare. Especially not, he said, if such a law passed with a "strong majority." His comments were so erroneous, so dishonest and so blatantly political as to defy description. But I will try. In the days that followed this story breaking my other job and income tax hell intervened, and this post got delayed. As it worked out, I'm glad it did.
First a couple facts. As many high school students know, ever since
Marbury vs. Madison in 1803
, the doctrine of "judicial review," which includes the power to strike down a law by declaring it unconstitutional, has been precisely the prerogative of the SCOTUS. We should probably remember that President Obama was never a tenured professor of law at the University of Chicago, as is often reported. He was only a guest lecturer. And one who doesn't really know very much about the Constitution, it turns out.
The reason I'm glad I waited to post this is that when public figures make mistakes of this magnitude, it often results in brilliant and insightful commentary coming from our best and brightest political opinion writers. This epic gaff by the President was no exception.
The normally quite reserved Pete Wehner
wrote this piece for Commentary
, which concluded with this observation: "....intellectually, this is the week where Barack Obama jumped the shark. In a deep, fundamental way, he is no longer a serious man. Nor an honest one. His public words are now purposefully bleached of truth. And that is a painful thing to have to say about an American president."
The always brilliant Charles Krauthammer did not disappoint with
this column from the Washington Post
. In it, The Hammer points out that the unusual thing would not be for SCOTUS to strike down Obamacare. The oddity was that Congress passed the abomination on such a narrow, partisan vote in the first place. He goes on to detonate the President's "Strong majority" comment with this strong rejoinder: "'Strong majority'? The House has 435 members. In March 2010, Democrats held a 75-seat majority. Obamacare passed by seven votes." Ouch.
writing right here on Townhall
, points out the real reason The President launched into this bout of fact-free political riffing. He is preparing to run against the Court this fall if the Obamacare ruling goes against him. Can you blame him? I mean if you had Barack Obama's record, and you we running for public office, wouldn't you want to talk about
Over at Politifact, usually friendly ground for Democrats, they broke down the President's comments. Their conclusion:
Even the left had to admit The President had stepped in it. Noted liberal law professor Laurence Tribe, who was one of Mr. Obama's teachers at Harvard, said The President, "
No matter what the court does, we find that when polled
even half of
want all or part of Obamacare to be struck down
(along with 73% of independents.) And I'll bet most of those polled have actually heard of Marbury vs. Madison. Looks like most of the folks crying if the law goes down will be working at the White House.
The controversy even ended up involving a member of The President's own cabinet. Apparently Judge Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was miffed at Mr. Obama's thinly veiled threat against the court. He ordered government lawyer Dana Lydia Kaersvang to bring in a letter explaining the DOJ's position on the doctrine of judicial review. Intelligence challenged Attorney General Eric Holder, much to my shock, actually complied with the judge's request. It would've been typical of him to just ignore it. Of course the letter Mr. Holder wrote didn't address the judge's main point,
as the Heritage Foundation points out here
, but I guess we should give him partial credit for at least writing it.
I've got an idea! Maybe the AG and the President might want to checkout Hillsdale College's excellent 10 part online seminar, Constitution 101. It's a free course on the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the relationship between the two.
Anyone can sign up right here
. Seems like it might be time for both Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder to take a little refresher on that venerable old document they swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend. I'm signed up and it's outstanding.
The Constitution. Isn't that what this is all about anyway? For nearly 100 years now, the overarching argument in our country is do we follow it? Or do we just use it, like the Pirate Code, as guidelines? Conservatives have argued that we should follow the Constitution as written, while Progressives have been working, step by step, to weaken it's ability to limit government. Limited government was the Founder's goal. They wanted to provide just enough government to protect us from each other, while not having so much that we had to protect ourselves from it. Libertarians like me, and other conservatives, think we should follow the Constitution as written. If we find it lacking, the Founders also provided a mechanism to amend it.
In this fine article from NRO, Michael Barone
points out that many Americans are now quite awake to this conflict, and are participating in it. That's what the Tea Party movement is all about. We have drawn out into the light what Progressives have been trying to do out of sight. A lot of what the upcoming election is about revolves around this question.
A free, secure and successful future for the country we all love depends on us getting the answer right.
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