04.04.2012 in Courts, Featured, Politics, SCOTUS by Bill Wilson 41

Obama’s court intimidation scheme nothing new

By Bill Wilson — In a recent press conference, Barack Obama suggested “overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress”, referring to the health care law, was “an unprecedented, extraordinary step”.

Even if that were true, what is not new is Obama’s latest court intimidation scheme.

For one, it’s not the first time he has brazenly lashed out at the Supreme Court. In his 2010 State of the Union Address, Obama blasted the Court after it struck down restrictions on McCain-Feingold campaign speech and expenditures as a violation of the First Amendment.

He even went so far as to mischaracterize the Court’s ruling in Citizens United with the entire nation watching, with the justices sitting right in front of him. He said, “the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.”

That was when Associate Justice Samuel Alito famously mouthed the words, “Not true” to Obama’s assertion.

The ruling actually had nothing to do with foreign donations to candidates, nor did it lift the federal ban on corporate donations to candidates. It affected whether third party organizations in the United States could independently spend money electioneering during campaign periods.

But that didn’t stop Obama. He simply did not like the Court’s ruling, so he falsely painted the decision as some sort of foreign coup de tat.

Of course, this is not the first time a president has lashed out at the Court.

Earlier in American history, Andrew Jackson blasted the Court’s decision in Worcester v. Georgia by supposedly saying, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”

Later, Franklin D. Roosevelt infamously threatened to pack the Court with additional, compliant justices after it ruled against his Mussolini-inspired National Industrial Recovery Act. That was a law that would have nationalized the entire economy into government-sanctioned cartels.

Fortunately, the Court had overturned it in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, writing, “There is a view of causation that would obliterate the distinction between what is national and what is local in the activities of commerce.”

After Roosevelt’s threat, the Court notably flipped its interpretation of the Commerce Clause, overturning precedent and issuing the exact opposite opinion just seven years later in Wickard v. Filburn. This was perhaps the most dramatic expansion of Congress’ power in American history, and it began a 70 year experiment with authoritarianism.

In that case, the Court finally invented the doctrine that even if commerce was not taking place among the several states — even if it was a farmer who was growing food merely for his own consumption — it could still be regulated.

In fact, the premise for Obamacare and the individual mandate rests on that proposition — that even those not engaged in commerce may be regulated. A favorable ruling by the Court on Obamacare would actually be the natural extension of that doctrine.

An unfavorable ruling, however, would actually return to the earlier precedent set forth in Schecter.

So, for Obama to get on his high horse and complain that such a decision would be “unprecedented” is just pure nonsense.

By his telling of history, where the Supreme Court would be “unprecedented” in striking down a duly enacted law, ignores the entire 209-year history of jurisprudence since Marbury v. Madison. That was when the Court famously asserted the implicit power of judicial review to strike down acts of Congress that exceeded constitutional authority, writing in the words of Chief Justice John Marshall that the Court’s role was to “say what the law is”.

Obama is supposedly a constitutional law professor? What was he even teaching?  Has he read any history of the Constitution?  If we take him at his word today, it would appear all he read were the Cliff’s Notes.

But let’s leave aside Obama’s seeming ignorance of what the Court’s traditional role has been in the Republic. He knows what judicial review is. The fact is, Obama had no problem when the Warren Court undid precedent — he even praised it while suggesting it did not go far enough, lamenting that the Court “could not break free from the essential constraints placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”

And now, because the Court is signaling it may be returning to some of those constraints, Obama is attempting to intimidate the Court by delegitimizing it. That is what is truly behind this intimidation. Which is what you’d expect from a thug dictator like Hugo Chavez or Robert Mugabe, not from the President of the United States. Overtly attacking the Court in such a shameless way is beneath the dignity of his high office.

It may be nothing new, but that does not make Obama’s attack on the Court any less contemptible either.

One hopes that even if he does not embrace the likely ruling against Obamacare’s constitutionality, he at least complies with it. If not, we may well have an extraordinary constitutional crisis on our hands just months before the election.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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  • colleenf

    The depth of the sickness and evil of this president knows no bounds.
    He will do anything to anyone at any time to get what he wants….and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

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  • S A

    This mastermind disciple of Saul Alinsky, Comrade Barry Soetoro Hussein OweBlahMao (a.k.a. King Louis XVI), fancies himself the Mulatto version of FDR!  He sounds just like an English speaking Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro.  NOBAMA 2012!!!!!

  • Kenny G

    The faster we get this Usurper out of office AND get a republican majority in the senate, the faster we can return Constitutional Law to the annals of propriety. For Heavens Sakes, Let Freedom Ring. Long live Liberty and Justice in this country–I pray.

  • Pixielou55

    This is just a hint of what we will see this year … in order to keep the communist in office. They WILL NOT let anyone else get in as long as he has 4 more years. We will see the dems stoop to lows we have never seen before … wait we are already seeing that now!

  • Budnme4ever

    If we re-elect this clown, then we deserve him!

  • Pinebomber

    Thanks for providing a laugh for me today.  No I’m not laughing with you, I’m laughing at you.  Always convenient to forget a universal health plan was originally a GOP idea, but lets not let facts get in the way of your nice story.

  • Jwatersphd

    Certainly. Also, where’s the usual right wing griping about “activist judges?” I suspect a little review of Wilson’s writings will reveal plenty of indignation about courts overturning authoritarian repressive laws that were passed by “elected representatives.”  

  • WhiteFalcon

    It is time for the Supreme Court to grow a spine and strike down this unconstitutional law in its entirety. Do you folks think they will have the guts to do it.? All they have to do is to do it and they would gain tremendous credibility.

  • Ruby F

    I know it won’t be pretty. It is going to be like hell

  • Ruby F

    Whether we elect him or not the Media will give it to him anyhow.  You wait. It is all the media.

  • Wtram46

    Isn’t it amazing how spoiled brats cut up and throw fits when they don’t get their way??

  • Wtram46

    Isn’t it amazing how spoiled brats cut up and throw fits when they don’t get their way??

  • J42ERRY

    JUST A LIBERAL THUG IF ITS NOT MY WAY ILL THREATHEN YOU

  • Frank629

    aw c’mon  now how many things does he have to do to prove he wants to be a dictator. He will rail against this now if the court finds obamacare unconstitutional . He will figure that with the compliance of the MSM he can use this as a selling point to the sheeple to get him votes in NOV. He will (if elected)(GOd forbid) then dissolve the supreme court down to nothing but a figurehead operation. he is one coniving operation .ONE THAT MUST BE MONITORED OR ELSE  GOD HELP US.

  • Frank629

    your obama is a commie just like you and you can shove that where the sun don’t shine. Now go back to your occupy meeting and smoke your bone .

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SV35DH3NPTSGGNREYTATTKMBHY del

    Got to get the arrogant idiot out of our government before he destroys more of of our freedom, economy and once great nation.  What a piece of drek squatting in our white house!

  • Rcsdw

    everyone look up the work Defer, He defers to the Court. Does not mean he gives up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=777364885 Helen Mosbrook

    He was never a professor; he was only an instructor, and not a very good one either.

  • colleenf

    You are exactly correct.

  • stopspending4

    you and the liar in chief keep trying to blame it on someone other than the pres and dems. even if the Repubs started the conversation on health care reform, they had the good sense to vote against this massive plan. Obama is such a coward he can not even take credit for the legislation that he spent the first 18 months of his presidency giving bribes and threats getting it done. Now he tries to say it is not his fault??? He certainly was bragging when he was able to get it passed by hook or crook (mostly crook)>

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JKLLPVKKSWYRHLZH3LDQMZRW6A dean

    I knew when Obama asked the court to hear the case on constitutionality of Obamacare before the election I figured he was up to something but I couldn’t figure out what.  It is a win/win the way he sees it.  If the law is over-ruled he is going demonize the court and the republicans and if it is not over-ruled he will put on his crown and pranch around like a king.  Vert conniving, he is. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JKLLPVKKSWYRHLZH3LDQMZRW6A dean

    Keep your guns cleaned and your powder dry people.  We will need them shortly to clean out OUR White House.

  • Christine

    When are the American People going to understand that this president does not like the U.S. Constitution, does not respect it, nor does he want the Justices to determine that Obamacare violates the constitution.  His blatent disregard show very clearly that he has an over reaching agenda as far as health care is concerned and that is the eventual single payor system and he will stop at nothing until that objective is accomplished.

  • jlouiea

    whiteFalcon, You said a mouth full. All they have to do is their jobs-strike it down, it does not belong.

  • jlouiea

    Pinebomber, What are you saying, the GOP had a universal health plan that was just like the Obamacare plan? If so, then you must be saying you managed to read the 2,700 page document and compared it to the GOP’s idea? If you say you read it, yea right, then you are one of the very few, if any, who have read it! Well, have you!
    To compare the thing(2,700 page thing) is to be able to make that statement otherwise you dear sir, “You are a Gas Bag!”

  • Mpfoster44@yahoo.com

    Obama is playing right of “Alinsky’s” play book to destroy America! He has created so much division in this country, I can’t believe so many people are fooled by his rhetoric???

  • Highsider

    Don’t try to re-define the term “Activist Judges”, waterspud.    The term means judges who ignore the existing law or the Constitution they must fulfill, to promote an idealogical/Political goal.   You can document no such thing in our Supreme Court Justices, with the possible exception of Kagen not recusing herself.    Without documentation, you are only sharing your halitosis.

  • Norglo

    Pardon, but he will put on his Dictator robes.  We are just beginning to see what 4 more years with him as President will be..  And he will make the Presidency aka Dictator a lifetime job, just like all Dictators do. 

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  • Nanna

    KennyG:  You know, if they actually “removed” him from office, before the election, we would have another problem.  Who do you think we would have taking over?  And is he “as bad as”, the usurper in chief?  It becomes more and more of a nightmare, don’t you think?

  • Nanna

    jlouiea:  Actually, to be fair. Mitt Romney… a Republican, forced this same tyoe of “health Care” (not), on his state.  I think that may be what Pinebomber is referring to.  But in any case, the Republicans are no better than the DemonRats.  NO, I am not a dem.  I am an independent, who votes her beliefs and consciense.  I truly believe, we need to vote ALL the old school people out, be they Dems, Repubs, Conservative etc.  We need a whole lot of new blood in and a WAY smaller government.

  • Nanna

    Highsider:  You are forgetting Sotomayor.  She also, is an activist Justice.

  • Jwatersphd

    i’ll ignore the silliness of making fun of my online name to respond. Also the derision about “halitosis.” I suspect you know as well as I that judicial interference with legislation, by declaring it unconstitutional, can be framed as “activism” or just doing their job. I’m not re-defining it. I’m accepting the definition of the right wing who coined the phrase as far as I know. And i suspect you also know that the vast majority of accusations of judicial overreach have been made by the right wing. So, when we see something like Bush v Gore or the current case framed as righteousness, it’s ironic. If the irony is lost on you, that’s too bad.  

  • Highsider

    No, Waterspud, what I know and what you are attempting to ignore, is the fact that since early in the nineteenth century, one of the high court’s most important jobs has been finding and declaring “unconstitutional” legislation that has been passed by constitutionally ignorant, lawmakers.  Your representation of this as “interference” or “activism” (neither of which it is) simply exposes your wish that our form of goverment was different.

  • Highsider

    Probably so, Nanna, but the case for Sotomayer recusing herself from the Obiecare desision can’t be made as forcefully.

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