The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Obama v. The Constitution

Rich Galen

Wednesday April 4, 2012


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  • President Barack Obama does not like the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Ok, that's an overstatement. This one is closer to the truth: President Barack Obama does not like the U.S. Supreme Court as led aby Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts.

  • Remember a couple of years ago during his State of the Union address when he wagged a rhetorical finger in the face of the Justices sitting about 20 feet from him because he didn't like their ruling in the Citizens United case which has had the effect of establishing Super PACs?

  • This week, the President demonstrated his continuing distain for that pesky Article III branch, the Federal Judiciary, by issuing a thinly veiled warning to the Supreme Court not to tinker with Obamacare by declaring all, or parts of it, Unconstitutional.

  • According to Reuters, the President said:
    "And I'd just remind conservative commentators that, for years, what we have 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."

  • The Justices are unelected, but they are not self-appointed. Anyone who has suffered through watching a Supreme Court nominating process can see, even if the President does not, that the Congress understands the importance of granting someone the vast power inherent in a lifetime appointment to a court of only nine Members.

  • We can only wonder what Obama, had he been President in 1954, would have thought about the famous Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education which struck down the concept of states being allowed segregated public schools under the doctrine of "separate but equal."

  • That case reversed an earlier case (1896), Plessy v. Ferguson in which the Court ruled states DID have the right to allow, and even promote, segregated facilities based solely upon race.

  • Obama has previously demonstrated a distain for the Legislative Branch - even when he was a member of it. If it were not for Joe Biden running up to The Hill to smooth Democrats' feathers ruffled by Obama's taking them for granted or, worse yet, demanding they do his bidding, it is likely that the two parties in Congress would united in the face of a common opponent: Barack Obama.

  • Prof. Jonathon Turley suggested in a USA Today column that Obama's having made three "recess appointments" during what was, in essence, a long weekend, was "an abuse of power."

  • In the early days of his Presidency he stacked the Executive Office of the President with "Czars" who had no responsibility to the Congress because they were not confirmed by the Senate. They oversaw Cabinet Departments which are responsible (if not responsive) to the Congress. A clear end-run around the requirement for Senatorial Advice and Consent.

  • In Obama's America we would go back to 1214 - a year before King John of England was forced to sign the first iteration of the Magna Carta establishing some of the earliest limits on Royal (read: "Executive") power.

  • Obama has claimed to be a Constitutional scholar or, at least, that claim has been made on his behalf. Thus, as we discussed last week the doctrine of "Judicial Review" was established in the earliest days of the Constitution in Marbury v. Madison (1803) should be familiar to him.

  • It is also amusing and ironic to note that Barack Obama now finds himself in the same Scorn-the-Court Tent as his political soul mate, Newt Gingrich.

  • Last December, when Gingrich was riding high in the polls, he announced that he was, according to the LA Times:
    "determined to expose the myth of 'judicial supremacy' and restrain judges to a more limited role in American government. 'The courts have become grotesquely dictatorial and far too powerful,' he said in [one of the Iowa debates.]"

  • Gingrich was widely jeered for his position on Executive Supremacy, but that same position, when taken by Obama less than three months later, appears to be nothing more than fodder for thoughtful, chin stroking analysis by his Washington-based professional apologists.

  • Gingrich and Obama: Joined at the lip.

  • Unlike just about everyone else in Your Nation's Capital, I have no idea how the Supreme Court will rule on Obamacare. Trying to deign where each Justice will come out based upon their questions (or lack of) reminded me of covering Municipal Court in Marietta, Ohio 45750 as a young reporter and thinking "this guy's going to get off because juror number 4 has not made eye contact with the City Prosecutor."

  • We had better start paying closer attention to King Barack's assaults on the Constitution or we may wake up one day and find he has effectively torn it up.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Brown and Plessy as well as to an article about Gingrich's Supreme Court theories and Jonathon Turley's look at recess appointments.

    Also an amusing license plate Mullfoto and a very useful Catchy Caption of the Day.

    -- END

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