April 4, 2012
If you’ve been following the news, you know SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) had hearings last week on three things involving the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act.
On day one they heard arguments to determine if they could hear arguments . . . it was one of those “it’s a tax!”, “no, it’s a penalty” things that involved defining the parameters of the argument based on past legislation and the wording of the law.
The second day had arguments about the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate (you MUST buy health care or pay a penalty). The most profound bit of that was the question “can the government create commerce so they can regulate it” and that whole thing didn’t go very well for the government. Their guy came across as far less than competent and prepared. The final guy arguing for striking down the mandate was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I’ve listened to this bit more than once. The guy is brilliant.
The last day was on another bit in the legislation involving Medicare/Medicaid. That didn’t go so well for the defense either. In all, as CNN attested, the current administration got their collective butts kicked. It made me smile.
So POTUS (President of the United States) got all officious and up in the face of SCOTUS and said there was no precedent for SCOTUS to reject what the legislators had created, that it was totally constitutional, any rejection would be completely politically driven . . . blah, blah, blah. The next day he backtracked a bit but essentially said the same thing, how dare SCOTUS take into question the constitutionality of this “essential” piece of legislation.
This political faux pas caused great humor, commentary and apoplexy (2)(3)(4)(5) among the constitutionally more savvy set as they compared POTUS’s history as a student and professor teaching the Constitution against the completely false assertion that SCOTUS has no power to overturn legislation that lacks a constitutional base. In all, I find it pretty amusing. If you want a sampling of what’s out there beyond what I’ve listed here, plug this into your search engine and start reading obama constitution professor supreme court.
POTUS’s inadvisable comments caused another court to exercise a little judicial outrage. The federal judge in another case assigned the administration some apparently much needed homework.
…a federal appeals court judge in Texas — troubled by Obama’s remarks about the propriety of unelected judges striking down acts of Congress — ordered a Justice Department attorney to give him — within 48 hours — a three-page letter, single spaced, specifically referring the president’s statements and what they mean.
5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith said he wants to know the position of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department on the concept of judicial review.
“I want to be sure that you are telling us that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice do recognize the authority of the federal courts through unelected judges to strike acts of Congress or portions thereof in appropriate cases,” Smith said.
The judge made the request during oral arguments in a separate challenge to another aspect of the federal health care law…
So we’re all waiting to see what the administration submits, if anything. More hilarity is sure to ensue.