Supposedly, you are some sort of constitutional scholar. At the very least, you can read, you can write, and despite being merely some sort of guest lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, you once famously referred to yourself as a “Constitutional Law professor.”
Ringing a bell so far, Mr. President? Great.
My Juris Doctor is from the Rutgers School of Law in Camden, New Jersey, and while Rutgers-Camden is hardly Harvard Law School, within the first three days of Constitutional Law class those who did not already know of and understand Marbury v. Madison–perhaps the single most important decision in the history of the United States Supreme Court–were nonetheless introduced to it ad nauseum.
In Marbury, the United States Supreme Court held that federal courts across our nation not only have the authority, but also the duty, to review the constitutionality of acts of Congress–including statutes and treaties–and to designate as void those acts of Congress which countermand the United States Constitution. The term you’re searching for between those ears of yours, Mr. President, is “judicial review.” And, while it has been nearly two years since I opened up a Constitutional Law book and can now debate divorce and family law in South Carolina better than I can the Constitution, I recall enough from law school and bar exam study to know that the doctrine of “judicial review” is now settled law.
In other words, since the landmark Marbury decision came down in 1803 from the very Court you belittle and smear as “unelected” and “activist,” and because of the doctrine of “judicial review” set forth in that holding, federal courts in the United States of America have the power–and duty–to review laws passed by Congress, decide whether or not those laws either comport with our Constitution or countermand it, and either uphold those laws that pass constitutional muster or declare void those laws that do not.
Not a difficult concept, Mr. President. Not a difficult concept for a first-year law student at Rutgers-Camden, and certainly not a difficult concept for a Harvard Law grad who lectured on Constitutional Law at University of Chicago Law School and later went on to deceive a nation into crowning him president of the United States. This ain’t race-baiting or class warfare, Mr. President, but Marbury and judicial review should nonetheless certainly be in your wheelhouse.
President Obama, employing his strongest language to date on the Supreme Court review of the federal health care overhaul, cautioned the court Monday against overturning the law — while repeatedly saying he’s “confident” it will be upheld.
The president spoke at length about the case at a joint press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. The president, adopting what he described as the language of conservatives who fret about judicial activism, questioned how an “unelected group of people” could overturn a law approved by Congress.
“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,” Obama said.
Those statements are so indicative of ignorance of not only Constitutional Law but also basic civics that I don’t even know where to begin.
First, even a second-grader understands that the the United States Government is split into three separate branches in order to insulate one from another and provide checks and balances for each. Of course, it is easy to comprehend how a totalitarian like yourself would have trouble distinguishing the lines between the various branches; after all, you have an established penchant for making illegitimate recess appointments and facilitating regulatory and other extra-legislative mechanisms designed to eschew and usurp the traditional role of the Legislative Branch — it should therefore come as no surprise that you are utterly incapable of understanding why Justices of the United States Supreme Court are indeed unelected.
The Justices of the United States Supreme Court are unelected, Mr. President, to insulate and protect them from the influence and derision of lawmakers and chief executives like you.
Second, that you would preemptively describe as “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” the prospective decision by the Supreme Court that your signature piece of legislation is unconstitutional and therefore void shows that your ignorance is surpassed only by your myopic inability to see past your political ideology and progressive goals. According to the Congressional Research Service’s The Constitution of the United States, Analysis and Interpretation (the 2008 supplement, pages 163-164, in case you’re looking), as of 2010 the United States Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional and therefore void a whopping 163 acts of Congress. You do know what “unprecedented” means, right? The Supreme Court overturning ObamaCare would hardly be “unprecedented” — perhaps it could be “unprecedented, unless you count those previous 163 precedents.” Of course, you and your administration has never been particularly good at counting or math.
Want to know what is “unprecedented,” Mr. President? Congress forcing free Americans into private contracts and penalizing those who disobey. That’s unprecedented. Want to know what else is “unprecedented,” Mr. President? A sitting president of the United States calling out the Justices of the United States Supreme Court during a State of the Union address. That, too, is unprecedented; I can only pray to God that, come Election Day, you have been enjoined from having the chance to do so again.
At this point, Mr. President, just give up. Please. Every time you denigrate the Court and its Justices, who have more legal knowledge in their smallest toenail than you have in your entire body, you look more and more like the dullard that you apparently truly are. No wonder you don’t want to release your school transcripts — any undergraduate student who fails to understand the most basic concept of Separation of Powers and any law student that fails to understand the settled doctrine of judicial review probably did not have marks worthy of tacking on the refrigerator door.
I understand that, ideologically, your signature piece of health care legislation is the perfect progressive fix. I understand how it works. I understand how it slowly but surely interferes with insurers’ ability to assess risk and thus slowly but surely facilitates an increase in premium costs, therefore driving more and more people to clamor for a government fix. It’s a brilliant political maneuver.
But it’s also unconstitutional. In other words, it tramples upon the ideas enshrined in that old document that you swore an oath to uphold and defend.
And when the Justices of the United States Supreme Court tell you as much mere weeks before November’s election, it will not be because they are “unelected,” nor will it be because they somehow don’t understand the legislation. The law simply runs afoul and improperly expands the scope of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, and no amount of “strong majority of a democratically elected Congress” will change that.
Wave the white flag, Mr. President. Or, preferably, you can continue to make a fool of yourself. In my Trial Advocacy class at Rutgers-Camden, after all, we were taught how do deal with opposing counsel who was floundering in front of a judge or jury: sit tight, smile, and just let the other side self-destruct.
Now, Rutgers-Camden is a fine school, but it sure ain’t Harvard. Nevertheless, I’m the one who is sitting tight and smiling.
Good luck with your re-election.
Jeffrey M. Schreiber, Esq.
Founder & Managing Editor, America’s Right