“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.”
I know, I was shocked when I read it too, ladies and gentlemen. It’s hard to believe that such vitriol, such unhinged rage, would be directed at the august, untouchable body that is the United States Supreme Court. Reading it, you would assume it was said by some radical out on the fringe; at worst, some radio shock jock looking to get his name in the news. But, loyal readers, horror of horrors, this verbal assault was unleashed by none other than the President of the United States — and the White House is so bald-faced about it that they’ve posted it online for all to see. We do indeed live in dark times.
In case you didn’t notice, I was laying it on a little thick there. But my sky-is-falling character that far from the real world reaction to the president’s remarks. The Wall Street Journal called the statement “astonishing,” and suggested the president needed “a Remedial Course.” Charles Krauthammer in National Review accused the left of attempting to bully the Court into submission. The, shall we say, less respectable right-wing was even more apoplectic. Rush Limbaugh accused the president of manipulating his ignorant followers (I have a personal policy of not linking to Rush Limbaugh, as doing so drives up his traffic, but you can find the transcript by searching for “Obama Understands Judicial Review”). Judge Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit demanded that the Justice Department write him a three-page paper on the power of judicial review, because apparently judges and high school civics teachers are pretty much the same thing.
These attacks are pointless and partisan. There is about as much chance that these people honestly believe Obama opposes judicial review as there is that the Nets will win the NBA championship. A lot of the criticsim has specifically been focused on the word “unprecedented.” Well, of course the president thinks overturning Obamacare would be unprecedented! If he thought there was precedent for doing so, it would sure be a tough constitutional sell. Obama said as much when he clarified his remarks at the AP lunch. I admit Obama’s phrasing was terrible, but not nearly so bad as the politically motivated misreadings it has prompted.
Photo credit: Flickr user Violentz
This week: Ann Romney suggested of her husband: “We better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out.” This evokes the enjoyable idea that Mitt Romney is an alien in a Mitt Romney suit, which actually would explain a lot.