It has become evident that President Obama has a history of disrespecting the SCOTUS. After yesterday’s joint press conference, Obama brought into play an issue which he described as “conservative concerns about judicial activism.” He uses the phrase as an intimidation tactic in order to ensure the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the health care overhaul. If not, he calls it “judicial activism” and credits Conservatives who have been unhappy when SCOTUS rules were not in their favor.
“I’m confident 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.” Sure Mr. President, but that majority consisted of primarily Democrats before what Sean refers to as ‘the Conservative victory’ of 2010 at which point the House of Representatives went from being controlled by Democrats, to a Republican majority.
So, a Supreme Court decision that President Obama disapproves of is ‘activist’ but what he does approve of are ‘constitutional?’ “I just remind conservative commentators that for years what we heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. Unelected group of people would somehow overturn a dually constituted and passed law.”
Speaking of ‘judicial activism,’ let us not forget that President Obama has had the pleasure of electing two judges to the Supreme Court, one of which, Justice Sotomayor, was an integral part of drafting Obamacare. Justice Sotomayor refuses to remove herself from the pending Supreme Court healthcare mandate decision, and Obama has not asked her to, despite her undoubtedly bias views.
Not only that, but did our President forget about the purpose of the three branches of government? He is the Executive branch; he signed Obamacare…now it is time for the judicial branch to assess its constitutionality.
This little rift, however, is not the first time our President has been disrespectful to our nation’s highest court. Two years ago during his State of the Union Address, Obama again insulted our Supreme Court in a reference to the Citizens United Campaign Finance decision. “The supreme court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests,” he said. Justice Alito was clearly seen shaking his head in dissent and disbelief, mouthing ‘that’s not true.’
**ADDED BREAKING NEWS: At roughly 4:30pm News broke that a federal court of appeals is “ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law.”
-A 3 panel (all Republican) US Court of Appeals Judges for the 5th Circuit are coming back swinging after Obama’s comments yesterday (discussed above).
CBS News reports that the three-judge appellate court is responding to the comment that overturning the law would be “unprecedented” because “the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional. The three-judge appellate court appears to be asking the administration to admit that basic premise…The panel ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power, the lawyer said.”
Looks like President Obama and Eric Holder have a busy few days ahead of them as they figure out how to respond.