By Kevin Mooney — Even if the individual mandate included within Obamacare is overturned, the administration and its leftist allies stand poised to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitution itself. This effort began in earnest with a front page hit piece on the New York Times that ran July 24 of last year. Reporter Adam Liptek claimed that under Chief Justice John Roberts is more conservative now than it has been in decades.
The article is built around a database created by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that gauges the ideological complexion of court rulings and the leanings of individual members. “In the database, votes favoring criminal defendants, unions, people claiming discrimination or violation of their civil rights are, for instance, said to be liberal,” the report explains. “Decisions striking down economic regulations and favoring prosecutors, employers and the government are said to be conservative.”
But the perspective here is a bit skewed. For starters, it is misleading to conflate decisions that overrule precedent with some form of activism. Contrary to what is often taught in law schools, the actual U.S. Constitution and what is known as U.S. constitutional law are often two very different items. Recent court rulings that overturn earlier decisions divorced from the text’s original meaning are more about restoration and less about activism. Moreover, Liptak places far too much weight and faith in Justice Anthony Kennedy as a reliable constitutional vote.
Another key episode here concerns President Obama’s attack on the U.S. Supreme Court included as part of his 2010 State of the Union Address. Here Obama disparaged the majority’s pro-First Amendment ruling in the Citizens United decision. Not since Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to pack the court has there ever been such an overt assault on the judiciary.
Former Attorney General Edwin Meese, as always, has a keen understanding of what President Obama, and leftist pressure groups, are up to.
“What he [Obama] is really doing is leading an effort to undermine the Constitution as the primary document which forms the basic principles of our government and the structure that should be followed by the executive branches as well as the other two branches,” Meese explained during a talk at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The former AG also said that a recent New York Times article also written by Liptak, which demeans the Constitution, was also deliberately timed with certain actions undertaken by the Obama Administration.
“The Constitution has seen better days,” the article begins.
From here, Liptak goes on to describe how the Constitution is no longer a compelling model for other countries. He even quotes sitting U.S. Supreme Court Association Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to drive the point home.
“I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she said. As an alternative, Ginsburg recommends looking to South Africa’s constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or the European Convention on Human Rights.
Justice Ginsburg’s attack on the validity of the U.S. Constitution came under fire in an article by Americans for Limited Government’s Mark Wohlschlegel who pointed out that, “Madam Justice Ginsburg either is ignorant or chooses to willfully overlook the very fundamental purpose the U.S. Constitution was created for — it is not a document designed to empower the government to protect its people, but rather one that was designed to protects its people from their government. That bears repeating — the Constitution was designed to protect the American people from their government.”
Wohlschlegel underscores the real danger in the politically motivated attacks on the Roberts Court. At their core, they are designed to undermine the very document that protects individual freedom and limits federal government power by delegitimizing the Court which is specifically created to protect those liberties.
Keep this in mind, when you hear and read warnings from the left and their sycophants in the media about a dangerous turn of the Court. The shots across the bow have been fired in the New York Times, expect the drumbeat to intensify as the Supreme Court nears a decision on the fate of Obamacare.
Kevin Mooney is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinMooneyDC.