It the last few days we have heard President Obama ranting about the Supreme Court. This is not anything new. You may also recall his unprecedented calling out of the Supreme Court as the justices sat in front of him during his State of the Union speech attacking them over the Citizens United v FEC case.
The Great Reconciler has also done this in other venues. After Paul Ryan released his budget last year, President Obama invited him to a speech on the budget and with Ryan sitting there devoted his speech attacking the Ryan plan. Very classy. Is this what we hoped and changed for?
Obama and the Constitution
What is most disturbing to me is what Obama is saying about the Supreme Court’s role with regard to the Constitution. What he is saying is approaching downright ignorance and yet he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. What did he teach his students? Where are these students today? Are they some sort of Manchurian Candidates to be unleashed with their own new-found ignorance upon us as lawyers and judges? Are we watching a bad science fiction movie?
‘I am confident,” announced the president of the United States, “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.” – President Barack Obama, earlier this week.
Unprecedented? What exactly is unprecedented? What is extraordinary? Striking down a law? That capability of the Supreme Court was established by the Marbury v Madison case in 1803. One hundred fifty-eight acts of Congress have been overturned by the Supreme Court since Marbury. Sounds like a lot of precedent to me.
A strong majority? ObamaCare was passed by a margin of 219 to 212. What would a weak majority be? Actually, since we often hear our liberal friends cry out for bipartisanship, let me point out that there was bipartisan opposition to ObamaCare. Every Republican and thirty-four Democrats voted against it. Only Democrats voted for it.
Passed by a democratically elected Congress? Is there another kind of Congress than a democratically elected one? Also, in order for a review by the Supreme Court, a law by definition has to be passed by Congress. Otherwise it is just a bill and has no effect on anyone. Doesn’t constitutional law professor Barack Obama know any of this? Isn’t he embarrassed to be saying such things? It is clear that most American citizens, sixty-seven percent by some polls, think the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Do they understand the Constitution better than a man who took an oath to preserve, protect and defend it?
I think an effort should be made to find every student who sat in one of Barack Obama’s constitutional law classes. Give them a test on their comprehension of the Constitution. If they fail, force the University of Chicago to refund their tuition for that course and send them to take Hillsdale College’s Constitution 101. It’s a free ten week course and perhaps the students can help out by donating their refunded tuition money to Hillsdale.
We should all be very concerned that this kind of thinking is being taught in our law schools and will one day come back to destroy the Constitution. Some on the left are trying to call any invalidating of ObamaCare as judicial activism on the right. Adhering to the founding principles and the original intent behind the Constitution is not activism, it is the sworn duty of the justices. If you want to know what activism sounds like, go no further than the words of Associate Justice and former chief counsel of the ACLU Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the court should do a “salvage job,” not undertake a “wrecking operation.”
It is judicial activism for the court to try to salvage Congress’ work. It violates the separation of powers. It is the job of the judiciary to interpret the law not make the law. If they interpret the law to be unconstitutional it is not their job to fix it. That’s Congress’ responsibility, but Ginsburg knows full well that the Congress that passed this monstrosity isn’t there any more and will not be there again any time soon. There is a new Congress that was swept in, to a large extent based on the outrage over ObamaCare. Ginsburg is afraid that if the Supreme Court doesn’t salvage it, sending it back to Congress would put the final nail in the coffin. RIP.
That’s my opinion; I’d like to know yours. Please comment below.