Obama Bullies Supreme Court

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Obama gave us a preview today of the tactics he will use if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare.

In his first public comments about the case since the justices took it up last week, Mr. Obama appeared to be framing the political argument he would make should he have to face voters this fall after a loss at the high court.

“For years, what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or the lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law,” he said at a news conference. The health-care case is a good example of just that, he said. “And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

White House officials have said they were reluctant to appear to lobby the Supreme Court, which is partly why the president didn’t speak out on the case until after it was argued before the court last week.

Go here to read the rest in the Wall Street JournalThe internet is abuzz with rumors that Obama has been privy to a leak from someone connected with the Court that the vote last Friday by the Supreme Court went against him, and this is his reaction.  I doubt it.   There have been leaks before from the Court, and I do not discount the possibility, but to me this has more of a feel of Obama attempting to bully the Court into rendering a favorable verdict by threatening to make a campaign issue of an unelected Supreme Court.  I suspect that if his remarks have any impact on the Court they will be counter-productive.  Obama has previously sought to use the Court as a political prop and I doubt if any of the justices like it, especially a man like Anthony Kennedy who has, shall we say, an exalted view of the Court in the constitutional scheme of things.  I can’t recall a president before attempting to threaten the Court to get a result that he wanted in a particular case, but this administration has done quite a few unprecedented things, almost all detrimental to the Republic.


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  1. So when the court acts against the wishes of the majority but for the administration Obama loves the court but when it goes against him they are “unelected” officials thwarting the will of the people. Same spin, different day in DC.

  2. “I can’t recall a president before attempting to threaten the Court to get a result that he wanted in a particular case”

    What about FDR’s plan to “pack” the Court with additional justices in order to get favorable rulings on his New Deal programs (aka the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937)? That may not have been tied to any particular program, but the intent was the same, as far as I can tell.

  3. Speaking of activism …
    a professional at racial activism where there had been peace
    and since when is the Constitution a guide? Sounds influential in activism way?
    The thing I don’t get about this statement is the ‘WH reluctance to appear to lobby before arguments’ – appear word spells insincere. The decision planned for June will be made amid spin and whirl of blatant, screaming activism, all appearances aside.
    Speaking of activism is insulting and transparent.
    How about that conference in Las Vegas for 300 people at $800,000 – no group discounts available, economic benefits for the US were? But, that’s probably just a low budget trip in comparison to other work conferences in the interest of the fiscal health of the US. These conference should be held on military bases where there are accommodations.
    There’s a report of some nasty radio talk host defiling a woman in politics with a foul diatribe – but she’s an R so feminists and their president won’t bother to take their activism stand for such an outrage of hate crime from the media. Appearance of sincerity about definitions of law and activism from the main role models of the world.
    Well, I’m going to turn down the heat and shut off the 60W light now to save energy.

  4. Elaine is right. This is in the Dems’ playbook and has been for a long time.
    And or the record, properly understood “judicial restraint” refers to the federal judiciary refraining itself from interfering with states exercising their constitutional police powers, not refraining Congress from exercising powers not granted to it under the Constitution. A cynic might say that Obama is well aware of this distinction but is flirting with the truth. I am not that cynical. I don’t think Obama has a clue.

  5. Elaine and Mike it might amuse you to know that when I wrote this my wife said that someone would bring up FDR’s court packing scheme. I retired at my customary 10:00 PM. When my wife came upstairs to join me she informed me that you both had raised the court packing scheme!

    I put that in a different category from what Obama is attempting to do here. The Constitution does not mandate the size of the Supreme Court. In order to get a favorable Court FDR proposed a Rube Goldberg piece of legislation to increase the size of the Court. In doing so he sustained his first serious domestic defeat in Congress. As bad as FDR’s plan was, bad enough to cause Democrats in Congress to rise up in revolt, it was an attempt to legislatively deal with the situation. Here, Obama is attempting to bully the Court about a particular case that it has under consideration. Any lawyer should know that is manifestly improper. Although as Mike said, I think Obama does not have a clue.

  6. How is Obamacare a “passed law” if the law remains to be written by Sebelius? The individual mandate is slavery to an unelected. Obama is a slave master.

  7. It does not bother me when an elected official insults and threatens the appellate judiciary. They have earned it.

    Reading commentary by lawyer liberals on this subject gives rise to a certain amount of amusement at someone else’s (well-earned) irritation.

    One thing that disconcerts: the phrase “[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes” seems to apply only to transactions where merchandise is shipped accross frontiers, services are contracted for by parties in different jurisdictions, or funds are transferred between one jurisdiction and another. Profs. Fried and Laycock inform us that this phrase applies to any household economic decision which has the potential for a transfer of goods or services or funds between jurisdictions and that the contrary view is unserious. The layman I think can be forgiven for suspecting that ‘constitutional law’ is a verbose scam rather like psychoanalysis.

    Republican lawyers of the stripe of Profs. Fried and Laycock saying that it is an unserious idea

  8. I totally agree, Don. Obama is doing more than just playing politics in advance of a potential adverse ruling. He knows that certain Justices coughAnthonyKennedycough can be influenced by exterior pressures. Now, it strikes me that even Kennedy isn’t buying what Obama’s lawyers were selling, but it is not unreasonable to think that Obama is politicking the judiciary. After all, the votes taken on Friday are not set in stone.

  9. How unlikely is it that “someone” is leaking the votes to the president? The justices should be sequestered on this bill and all their cell phones taken away.

  10. I got a feeling one of Bam’s buddies on the court, likely either Kagan or Sotomayor, leaked it to the White House that the Supremes will side with the administration, 5-4. Bam clearly has no respect for the three separate but equal branches of the federal government and this is simply a power play to show that he, as the nation’s Supreme Leader, can have his way. Intimidation usually works in the public arena, especially when the stenographers in the media take down every word he says as gospel and transmits them to the stupid masses unleavened with any sort of objective analysis.

    Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter in his latest column on Bloomberg says the differences are not constitutional but ideological and concludes:

    “No matter which way the court rules, the question of how best to provide health insurance will wind up back in the laps of our elected representatives. Politics at its best comprises reasoned arguments by reasonable people. When the justices toss this battle back to the politicians, let’s all hope for less shouting and more thinking.”

  11. elm, if there is a leak I would suspect clerks or secretaries. In any court, in my experience, it is difficult to keep anything secret if you know who to talk to on the support staff.

  12. “It does not bother me when an elected official insults and threatens the appellate judiciary. They have earned it. ”

    Few people in Saint Blogs have spoken out more against judicial usurpations than I have Art. However, having a president threaten the judiciary is unseemly, dangerous and an indication that the head of state is completely unsuited for the great office he holds.

  13. I don’t think Obama has a clue.

    And the subject he taught during his twelve years as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School was….

  14. Wasn’t the purpose of an appointment for life to remove the Supremes from the influence of the politicians who would try to influence them. If that no longer applies then maybe it is time to amend the Constitution to set a term of office for elected Supremes.

  15. Instapundit:

    “Obama must be expecting to lose. Because if he wins, this kind of threat will simply allow people on the right to argue that the Supreme Court’s decision was the result of intimidation, and deserves no deference by a new Supreme Court. And how will Obama’s feminist supporters feel, given that those all-important abortion and birth-control decisions also came from an “unelected” Supreme Court?

    “And if I were a Republican member of Congress I’d immediately introduce a proposed Constitutional amendment to elect all future Supreme Court justices in a national vote, with no input from the President. Just for fun . . . .”

  16. You realize, folks, that happily there is one Court which Barack Hussein Obama cannot bully:

    “11* Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; 15* and if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15

  17. “years as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School was….”

    Thinking back to my law school days Art, that could be taken as prima facie evidence that he knows nothing about Con Law!

  18. “We shall go before a higher tribunal – a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.” Thomas Meagher (late B/Gen, Army of the Potomac), statement in court upon his death sentence for leading the fight to free his native land.

    Happily, the sentence was commuted to transportation to Tasmania. The rest is history.

  19. God heals. Everyone knows that. Well maybe Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not. Like the atheist who denies the existence of God and then ceases to exist, Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayer and perhaps Kennedy may refuse to believe that God heals and cause the voters to believe that they are buying healing through Obamacare. Obamacare is a premium to pay for insurance to pay for a doctor to try to cure. Obamacare has some people believing that they can go and contract HIV/ aids, go to the doctor, the doctor will give them a pill and HIV/aids will be cured. A whole generation believe that the doctor can make any disease go away for the price of an office visit, if Obamacare pays for the office visit.
    Recently a new book entitled: 4 myths of the Book of Revelation, has appeared, trying to make the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death, War, Famine and Plague disappear. The writer ought to have entitled it: Obamacare, and forced every citizen to purchase it.
    The little shop of horrors at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue keeps demanding “Pay me, Seymour, pay me”, “I am the great oz”, while God heals. God heals, so, who ya’ gonna call? Holy Ghost Busters. Oberammergau right here in the good ole USA., a little Medugorje, definitely some Lourdes, the Sacrament of Healing.
    Paul Primavera: What you wrote is beautiful. One Hail Mary in Latin.

  20. Av? Mar?a, gr?ti? pl?na,
    Dominus t?cum.
    Benedicta t? in mulieribus,
    et benedictus fr?ctus ventris tu?, I?sus.
    S?ncta Mar?a, M?ter De?,
    ?r? pr? n?b?s pecc?t?ribus,
    nunc et in h?r? mortis nostrae.

  21. “No matter which way the court rules, the question of how best to provide health insurance will wind up back in the laps of our elected representatives. Politics at its best comprises reasoned arguments by reasonable people. When the justices toss this battle back to the politicians, let’s all hope for less shouting and more thinking.” How strange these men want reasoned thinking while denying the rational and immortal soul of the human being. They want less shouting while citizens are being herded into pens and corrals for slaughter. and people should think what they are told to think. If Obamacare says you got no rights, you got no rights(Obama, the rational). Just hurry up and pass it so we can learn what is in it. (Pelosi, the immortal). Tonight your life will be demanded of you.

  22. I’m reading Obama’s comments differently. I think that it’s damage control.

    The average moderate, or swing voter, doesn’t care about ideology. They care about results. They don’t want an incompetent president. If the health care bill fails, what can Obama point to as an accomplishment? A lot of people think that he was wasting his time on health care when he should have been trying to improve the economy. (I think that’s wrong in several different respects, but I’m talking about the moderate voter here.) If he spent four years and only got a partial economic recovery, no health care deal, resolution to one war that was practically over with alreadly and no resolution to the other war that looked like it should have been over with, I just don’t see him claiming the right to lead for four more years.

    He’s already shown that he wants to run against Washington (which should tell you how little this campaign is going to be based on facts). If the health care bill gets slapped down, then he’s got to spin it as the Court overstepping their bounds, with him as the heroic reformer.

    This is where politics can drive you crazy. There are people who don’t want to see the health care reform bill become law, but they’d support the President if it does, and turn away from him if it doesn’t. It was a 100% Democratic creation, but the Democrats are going to blame the Court’s rejection of the bill on Republicans. The President played almost no role in “crafting” the legislation, but he gets all the credit, and is going to get a lot of the blame if it fails. And the whole thing could have sailed through the Supreme Court if Congress had remembered to put a separability clause in it, but they never expected to have to send the Senate version to the House. So the political impact of the Court’s decision can’t really be viewed in terms of actions and consequences in a logical way.

    So I don’t think this is intimidation. It’s the President bracing himself for the humiliation that will follow an unfavorable Court decision.

  23. Pinky: All those things. Obama is poised to seize every piece of private property through Rural Councils, from everyone who refuses to abide by Obamacare. Hilliarycare was to imprison doctors for two years in Federal prison if they refused to abide by Hillarycare. Obama circumvented this by going for the real property of the non-compliant. Obamacare coupled with other of Obama’s Exeutive Orders will fill the coffers of his government just as the gold and wealth filled Hitlers coffers. (The bank in Switzerland is still trying to count all the Jewish gold Hilter shipped to it) What boggles my mind is that after AFTER the National Defense Authorization Act was passed by Congress, Obama himself, removed the part that protected American Citizens, making all persons liable to detention, indefinitely, without chagerres. (Just like in Mexico where they throw you in jail and forget about you. In mexico they really do not care. But obamacare has a plot for criminally accomplishing what his wants to do) Obama will get is way by hook or crook, by threatening, by intimidating, by swindling, by bait and switch. You can take that to the bank. Obama does not need voters. When push comes to shove, it is already too late.

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