Free Markets, Free People


Obama’s criticism of SCOTUS hardly “scholarly”

There are times when even I’m a bit surprised at what manages to work its way out of our President’s mouth.  After all, included in what little we do know about the guy is the claim that he was a “Constitutional lawyer”.  He even taught that in Chicago to law students, or so we’re told.

Yet yesterday, in a press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada he was asked about the pending Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare and said:

“I am 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.”

I can’t imagine a more supremely arrogant and yet profoundly ignorant statement than that.  Of course, at least in my day, most school children would have understood the ignorance of that statement.

I’ll illustrate it for you if necessary by adding a bit to his words:

“I am 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 that allows whites to lynch blacks.”

Obviously he’d be clamoring for the SCOTUS to overturn a law like that.  And he wouldn’t hesitate to condemn the “strong majority of democratically-elected” officials that passed such a law n the first place (and lets pretend this was signed before he assumed office – you know, Bush did it).  Strong majorities (in the case of ObamaCare it was 219 to 212) passing anything are irrelevant if what they pass is in conflict with the Constitution – period.

In the hypothetical most of us would immediately identify the fact that a) murder and lynching are not within the power of any majority to sanctify and certainly not a power granted in the Constitution and b) it is the job of the Supreme Court to strike down laws that are unconstitutional regardless of how strong the majority voting for it.

I can’t imagine a supposed, or at least self-described, Constitutional scholar making such an ignorant statement to begin with … but there it is.  He then followed it up with this:

“I just remind conservative commentators that for years we have heard 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. Well, this is a good example and I am pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.”

Smartest guy in the room?  I’m sorry, but that just doubles down on ignorance.

As we’ve discussed (most recently on the podcast) it isn’t the job of the Supreme Court to do the job of Congress.   Instead, its job is  to determine whether or not what Congress has done is compliant with the limits the Constitution places on it.  That’s it.  There is nothing which requires the Supreme Court to “fix” laws that Congress has passed.  

Justice Kennedy alluded to this when he said that the removal of the individual mandate would completely change the law in a way that was clearly not what Congress intended.  Thus the “conservative” thing for the court to do would be to strike down the entire law and tell Congress to go back to work.  Of course the Democrats and Obama know that if the entire law is struck down, the likelihood of it being “fixed”, given the Republican House, are remote.  Thus we hear the usual nonsense about “judicial activism” and the other garbage Obama tossed out above making the rounds on the left.

Then there’s the remark about “an unelected group of people”.  My goodness Constitutional scholar, they’re “unelected” and appointed for life for a reason.  And that reason is to remove politics, as much as possible, from their deliberations and allow them to focus entirely on the law and Constitution.  Obviously, it seems, politics haven’t been kept out of the Supreme Court, but for the President to take a juvenile shot like that at the Court while it is in deliberations is fairly outrageous.

Bottom line: If those Obama quotes now illustrate “Constitutional scholarship” in this day and age, this Republic is in very deep trouble.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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33 Responses to Obama’s criticism of SCOTUS hardly “scholarly”

  • First, how many times did a democratically elected Congress kill this steaming mess? Second, it BARELY passed. Third, as you note McQ, it is the Supremes’ role to check excesses by Congress that do violence to the Constitution. Forth, all the “activism” and “judicial restraint” BS is just the usual Collectivist word torture. The only people eating that crap are other Collectivists.

  • I wonder if Sotomayor and Kagan appreciate his opinion of their relative position to his contrasted to the Constitutional authority they thought they had. That Baracka, he’s so fierce.

  • “I just remind conservative commentators that for years we have heard 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.
    >>>> And all I hear from the left is how judicial activism is fantastic and necessary, so go suck a lemon you cretin. I’d pat myself on the back for calling this play a couple days ago, but that’s like predicting that water will be wet. Fred Flintstone….I mean Kagan must’ve tipped the boy-king off that his “signature achievement” was in trouble.

  • As an interjection of reality into a hyperbolic use of words, I doubt that “most school children” (assumedly including elementary and high school students) “would have understood the ignorance of that statement”. Although this is an effective rhetorical statement, to lead into a predictable political statement, it lacks the semantic integrity for a genuine political argument.

    President Obama’s comments were not made in light of a Supreme Court’s emphasis strictly on the Constitution, instead of politics. In contrast to your claim of Obama’s ‘ignorance’, I would say the he is very aware of the some Justices’ political agenda—characterized by their connection to the Tea Party and the Heritage Foundation.

    • @tadcf Pffffftttt…!!! “Political agenda” = Constitutional scholarship. I was REALLY impressed with what a dim bulb a Wise Latina(tm) can actually be. She did not know elementray facts in this controversy, much less show any legal chops.

      • @Ragspierre What are you saying? Are you questioning the qualifications of an appointee who started out pre-hearing implying that her gender and ethnicity would allow her to render better decisions? Or that such opinmions would be superior to prior opinions, or even laws especially when those laws were written by white anglo saxon males?

        • @looker You mean Critical Race Theory orthodoxy…??? Yep. That is what I mean. She has “constructs” that remove her from the constraints of rational thinking. See? Plus, she’s freaking ignorant of the fact that NOBODY goes without treatment at an emergency room. A-FLUCKING-mazing.

    • @tadcf If he was AWARE he wouldn’t make comments about “appointed” as opposed to “elected”. Because by doing so, he is implying that “elected” officials and their judgement is more important than the judicial opinions. He is free to threaten the Supremes if he likes, but the Constitution trumps him, and if he’s such a ‘scholar’, he KNOWS that.
      ===============================================================
      As to being aware of their political agenda, yes, I’m QUITE sure of that, he’s appointed two of them himself. But I’m SURE HIS appointees are totally above politics, whereas those OTHER justices, well, they surely aren’t. Keep swinging, you might connect eventually.

    • @tadcf And if the chilluns DON’T know this stuff, that’s because of the sterling education they are receiving from other “scholars” of the ilk that taught Mr. Obama, and, clearly, yourself. Clearly your of the mind that justices who agree with you are always upholding the Constitution, and those that don’t are not. Perhaps it would be quicker if we did away with the court, and asked the President, and of course, you, for your ruling.

    • @tadcf And if the chilluns DON’T know this stuff, that’s because of the sterling education they are receiving from other “scholars” of the ilk that taught Mr. Obama, and, clearly, yourself. Obviously you’re of the mind that justices who agree with you are always upholding the Constitution, and those that don’t are not. Perhaps it would be quicker if we did away with the court, and asked the President, and of course, you, for your ruling.

    • @tadcf You really have to wonder if these politicians ever actually understood the words they were mouthing when they were sworn in.

      • I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend “my legacy over any provisions within” the Constitution of the United States.

      • @Neo_ Let’s take Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi as recent examples – NO.

      • President:I…state your name. Pledges: I…state your name President:do hearby pledge allegence to the frat. Pledges: do hearby pledge allegence to the frat. President: With liberty and fraternity for all Pledges: AMEN!

    • @tadcf ” In contrast to your claim of Obama’s ‘ignorance’..”———Are you claiming that Obama’s statement that overturning his pet project would be ” an unprecedented, extraordinary step” is not ignorant?

      ————————–Obama may have taught the Constitution, and sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, but that don’t mean he has to like the Constitution.

  • Drudge was asking if Obama was leaked the initial vote (showing a picture of Obama and Kagan).

    Any thoughts on this speculation?

    • @myweeklycrime I would expect that any leaking would come from clerks, not from a justice. Too blatant. Besides which, it is still very early days in their decision-making process. They will write and cite, and circulate their stuff around to each other. Minds can be changed a lot between now and June.

      • @Ragspierre Well, we’d better hope that the ‘threat’ was not a ‘demonstration of power’ coming on the heels of a leaked vote not to overturn. Baracka the First, effectively having his ‘triumph’ now and showing us all he had mastered the Supreme Court before their verdict. “Respice post te, hominem memento te”

  • Boy, Obama must have REALLY been pissed about Brown v. BOE!

  • “They killed Trayvon and now they are trying to take away our health care.”

    • @martinmcphillips The “White Hispanics” are trying to take away health care?

    • @martinmcphillips Speaking of St. Treyvon…..NBC’s weaksauce “apology” for doctoring the 911 tape:
      “During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.” …… what a fricking disgrace.

      • @The Shark These steps will look remarkably, some might say identically, like our previous production methods and reporting.

  • The Left has a mutually reinforcing dynamic at work here. Because liberals believe conservatives are all these terrible things, they do not bother acquainting themselves with conservative arguments. And because they do not acquaint themselves with conservative arguments, they are able to go on believing that conservatives are all these terrible things.—Dennis Prager

  • Well children – whatever we think, the US Appeals court,. 5th circuit court seems to think the President’s comments indicate a certain, disdain, and have demanded the Administration make it’s position clear NOW.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504564_162-57408827-504564/appeals-court-fires-back-at-obamas-comments-on-health-care-case/
    =========================================================
    Mabye, Tadcf, you’d like to contact them, and explain YOUR ruling opinion that it’s all political hackery.

    • @looker From Allapundit…”They ordered the DOJ to submit a three-page letter stating its position on judicial review by noon on Thursday, even though the Department’s lawyer conceded that Marbury v. Madison is good law and even though Obama himself never went so far yesterday as to say that the Supreme Court lacks the power to overturn laws.” She-ite…!!!!

      • @Ragspierre “I want 3 pages, single spaced on what you did while you were President….it’s due Thursday. Now, sit. down. Mr. Obama.”

  • Oh, SSSSSSAAAAAANPPPPpppp….

    From the 5th Circuit (one of the best)…
    ———————————————————————————————————–
    The panel is hearing a separate challenge to the health care law by physician-owned hospitals. The issue arose when a lawyer for the Justice Department began arguing before the judges. Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law.

    The DOJ lawyer, Dana Lydia Kaersvang, answered yes — and mentioned Marbury v. Madison, the landmark case that firmly established the principle of judicial review more than 200 years ago, according to the lawyer in the courtroom.

    Smith then became “very stern,” the source said, telling the lawyers arguing the case it was not clear to “many of us” whether the president believes such a right exists. The other two judges on the panel, Emilio Garza and Leslie Southwick–both Republican appointees–remained silent, the source said.

    Smith, a Reagan appointee, went on to say that comments from the president and others in the Executive Branch indicate they believe judges don’t have the power to review laws and strike those that are unconstitutional, specifically referencing Mr. Obama’s comments yesterday about judges being an “unelected group of people.”

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