Saturday, 7 April 2012

A Lecture from the Constitutional Law Professor

President Obama, discussing the fate of his trademark health care legislation (currently before the Supreme Court), made these statements several days ago:

"Ultimately, I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
"That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law." 

It is difficult to believe that the man who uttered those words actually taught constitutional law at a widely respected university.

First of all, it matters not one jot whether the law was passed by a strong majority.  Though, for the record, the President was dead wrong about that as well.  The law scraped through the house by just seven votes, even though the Democrats held a majority of nearly a hundred in that chamber, and it only earned the Senate's approval after weeks of back room dealing.

Aside from such quibbles however, for Mr. Obama to suggest that it would be 'unprecedented' and 'extraordinary' for the Supreme Court to overturn a law passed by Congress is so remarkable as to make one's jaw drop.

I remember learning in middle school, let alone university, that the Supreme Court's role in the American system of checks and balances is to vet laws for constitutionality.  The Court is there for the express purpose of overturning unconstitutional legislation.

Mr. Obama's statements, which he has since tried valiantly to step back from, were nothing short of ridiculous.

The President's remarks have been notably strident and partisan of late.  He should be careful, lest he shed some of his characteristic gravitas.

No comments:

Post a Comment