Our Law Professor President
Barack Obama has decided to take on the Supreme Court with his rhetoric regarding the health care oral arguments. Stating confidence that the Court will not overturn a law enacted by a duly elected legislature, self-proclaimed University of Chicago Law Professor, Obama, apparently failed to teach his students a mainstay of constitutional law. Since 1803, in the case of Marbury v. Madison, the concept of judicial review has been part of Court jurisprudence. While it may be true that the Supreme Court cannot strike down laws it disagrees with, it can and does strike down laws that violate the Constitution. Granted, the following day he tried to clarify his comments from the previous day and said that he was referring to economic legislation, not legislation in general.
Regardless, Obama, besides being a little deficient in constitutional law when he goes off the script, needs to revisit some recent history. As I remember the scenario, there was not overwhelming support for Obamacare among the public, or in either the House or Senate. To hear Obama tell the story, he makes it sound as if it passed 435-0 in the House and 100-0 in the Senate ignorant of the fact that no Republican voted for it in either chamber and there was a significant number of Democratic defections. Secondly, the “law” was passed as part of the budget reconciliation process because Obama and his Democratic lackeys in Congress (Reid and Pelosi) knew it could not pass on its own merits. And yes, previous Presidents used the budget reconciliation process to pass legislation, but never to the degree where 17% of the US economy was basically re-ordered.
I realize that in the insulated, strange little world known as the liberal mind that the idea of limits on congressional power under the Commerce Clause is a totally foreign one. Thus, we now have the hand-wringing of the liberal academia and vitriol of the from the media talking heads like Paul Begala, Jeffrey Toobin, Rachel Maddow, and E.J. Dionne (to name a few). Maureen Dowd recently weighed in with the alleged illegitimacy of this Court and trots out, yet again, Bush v. Gore and Citizens United as two examples of conservative judicial activism. And here is where the insulated liberal mind comes into vivid view: when the Warren Court was at its most active, that “activism” was perceived as “just” and having the guts to do what a legislature would not do. Yet, for all the actions by the Warren Court- affirmative action, reproductive rights, capital punishment, banning prayer in school and a Nativity scene in front of a courthouse, etc.- by and large, conservatives have come to live with what the Court has ruled, although conservatives by no means agree with any of those or other items. But to the liberal, they cannot conceive a world where the government does not have to intervene and save us from ourselves.
Obama spoke of unelected officials over-ruling legislative action. However, almost unnoticed because of the Obamacare oral argument coverage in the news, Obama’s EPA- a collection of unelected bureaucrats- formulated regulations that will essentially prohibit the construction of new power plants that use coal, one of the cheapest methods of power generation. These regulations are to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and hopefully lower the average temperature of the earth by .00001 degree- or something like that. The point is that Obama, the law professor, has no objections to unelected officials carving out reproductive “rights” from thin air, nor does he object to unelected officials establishing regulations that may kill the coal industry in America.
Additionally, Obama reveals his true colors when he is caught going off the script. In response to the question regarding Obamacare and the Supreme Court, all he had to say- like practically every President before him- is “It wouldn’t be prudent of me to comment on a current case before the Court although I am confident we will prevail.” But, he couldn’t say that. Instead, he had to give us a professorial lecture on precedence and judicial activism. And then get it wrong. After Monday’s ramble, one has to feel sorry for the students that came into contact with Obama in the classroom at the University of Chicago’s Law School. Likewise, wouldn’t a true constitutional scholar have reservations about forcing religious institutions to provide contraception as part of their health care insurance? Wouldn’t a true constitutional scholar and law “professor” have even considered the fact that this just might be in violation of the First Amendment?
Now, the media has swarmed to his defense and are saying that his answer was not an attack on the Court. Instead, they offer up the example of FDR and his court-packing plan as a true attack. Again, they- like the President- are ignorant of history. Wasn’t it Barack Obama who chastised the Supreme Court to their faces in his State of the Union address? Even then- and these were scripted comments- he got the basics of Citizens United wrong and twisted that decision to his unique interpretation.
I fully realize, based on the evidence I have seen, that Obama- the constitutional scholar- leaves a lot to be desired. His only writing from his tenure as Editor of the Harvard Law Review defending that publication’s affirmative action guidelines is so replete with double-talk and grammar and syntax errors that a real professor would mark it with lots of red ink. Even the fact that he called himself a “professor” is a matter of debate. Technically, he was a “senior lecturer,” a point that Hillary Clinton noted in her campaign against Obama in 2008. As for that lone writing from Harvard, it is somewhat proof positive that it was affirmative action that landed that job for Obama because, based on that excerpt, it sure wasn’t his writing style. People fluff resumes all the time and maybe that was what Obama was doing when running for President. But if his recent willingness to take on the Supreme Court is any indication, his weaknesses as a constitutional scholar are certainly evident. Every time Obama has deviated from the script and teleprompter with its sound bites- whether in an open mic with Russian leaders, at a press conference, or at a fund raiser- he illustrates just how dangerous another term could be. It also provides, if the GOP actually does not waste the opportunity, a great strategy going forward. If Obama can be forced into these policy Freudian slips or scholarly faux pas, then he can be revealed for what he is- a shill for liberals, a blank slate being written upon constantly by his liberal allies from his past and present. The bottom line is that he would should greater character strength by stating what has become obvious- Barack Obama has a strong disdain for this Supreme Court and, ultimately, for that little pain in his butt, the United States Constitution.