President Barack Obama finally spoke out on the Supreme Court hearing arguments over the constitutionality of his "Obamacare" health care law.
“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,” said Obama, “and I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”
This "warning" is just political posturing. After all, SCOTUS is a group of non-elected, non-political academics who have lifetime appointments. There is no reason for them to listen to anything the president says. The president is wrong in all of his pre-emptive critiques against SCOTUS.
Consider Obama's three main points once you get past all the rhetoric.
1) Overturning Obamacare would set a dangerous "veto" precedent for SCOTUS.
This is an ironic statement from Obama, considering that fact Obamacare is under attack because it would set a predcedent of granting unlimited power to Congress through its interpretation of the Commerce Clause. Chief Justice John Roberts summed it up nicely when he stated, “Once we accept the principle, I don’t see why Congress’ power is limited.”
Obama has simply taken SCOTUS' constitutionally delegated power in the "checks and balances" to declare the constitutionality of laws, which is it's primary function, and called it a veto. This is false.
If SCOTUS accepts the individual mandate's interpretation of the Commerce Clause, the Executive and Legislative Branch will have constitutional precedent to create a market by forcing people to buy a good, and then to regulate it. This is the reason why Obamacare has been largely unpopular.
2) Democratically passed laws popular with the people should not be overturned by SCOTUS.
Obama said, "Ultimately, I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take the unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
He is implying that this is an extremely popular law and if it doesn't pass, it is not his fault. He completely ignores the debate on whether if Obamacare is constitutional or not.
Obamacare forces everyone to have government-sponsored health insurance at the expense of the right refuse. As was stated by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “The law changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.”
Regardless if you are a Democrat or a Republican, you should encourage a healthy debate over if these issues since they will determine the course of legal prescident in this country. The Obama warning to SCOTUS shows he sees this debate as a formality.
3) Not passing Obamacare is an example of judicial activism.
Obama said, "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."
More rhetoric used to assume that this "duly constituted and passed law" was a bi-partisan effort which is being threatened by the "judicial activism" of SCOTUS.
Obamacare was not a bi-partisan effort, that is, not a single Republican voted for it.
The latest poll shows that Americans oppose the law 52% to 41%, while67% think the Supreme Court should strike down the entire law or at least take out the provision that forces people and businesses to purchase insurance.
Remember when Republican Scott Brown took over Ted Kennedy's Senate seat just in time to fillibust Obamacare? No Republican had held that seat since the 1970s and , was elected in the state of Massachusetts where universal health care was piloted under Romney.
Democrats also lost their majority in the House of Representatives as a direct consequence of the anti-liberal nature of Obamacare and the manner in which it was passed, without a single Republican vote. Nancy Pelosi famously said, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”
I think it is fair to say that moderates, Independents, Democrats, and yes, Republicans oppose this law. The alleged "judicial activism" of SCOTUS has nothing to do with the Constitutional problems of Obamacare.
Obama has preemptively accused SCOTUS of abusing its power to overturn unconstitutional laws if Obamacare fails, declared his Obamacare Law as constitutional and any attempt to overturn it as "judicial activism."
His comments today show that he sees issues of "constitutionality" and "bi-partisanship" as merely hurdles to achieving social progress.
Regardless of whether or not SCOTUS chooses to uphold Obamacare or not, it will be their ruling which establishes a "duly constituted and passed law."