We're a little late to the party but we are having just too much fun with this particular subject.
Why it's not smart to make impertinent remarks regarding the courts' right to judicial review: you just might get assigned a homework project. Check that. You don't get that homework, rather your BFF does.
In the escalating battle between the administration and the judiciary, a federal appeals court apparently is calling the president's bluff -- ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom.(italics, ours)
The order, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, appears to be in direct response to the president's comments yesterday about the Supreme Court's review of the health care law. Mr. Obama all but threw down the gauntlet with the justices, saying he was "confident" the Court would 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."
Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented -- since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional. The three-judge appellate court appears to be asking the administration to admit that basic premise -- despite the president's remarks that implied the contrary. The panel ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power, the lawyer said.
Epic. Smackdown. We don't believe we've seen an administration taken out to the woodshed in this fashion before.
And the fact that Holder's homework assignment is even spec'ed-out in this manner is one of the most awesome things we have seen in quite some time. (What... I can't even double-space this thing?)
But what is with Obama? We don't ever remember a chief executive who is so into picking fights with other people. Rush Limbaugh, Catholics (and by extension everybody else who believes in the fundamental concept that whom you choose to have sex with is an entirely personal undertaking as well as is the act of paying for the contraceptives applied for said undertaking) and now the Supreme Court.
Reagan, Bush the Elder, Clinton, Bush the Younger... we don't recall seeing such insecure, petulant and frankly, un-Presidential behavior from the Commander-in-Chief.
And now for the predictable walk-back:
So today, in his appearance before the Associated Press–the ultimate friendly audience–Obama tried to walk back yesterday’s blunder in response to a softball question:
MR. SINGLETON: Mr. President, you said yesterday that it would be unprecedented for a Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by an elected Congress. But that is exactly what the Court has done during its entire existence. If the Court were to overturn individual mandate, what would you do, or propose to do, for the 30 million people who wouldn’t have health care after that ruling?.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, let me be very specific. We have not seen a Court overturn a law that was passed by Congress on a economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce — a law like that has not been overturned at least since Lochner. Right? So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre New Deal.
And the point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress. And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this.
Now, as I said, I expect the Supreme Court actually to recognize that and to abide by well-established precedence out there
Economic issue? We thought this was supposed to be about health care. But no matter: as John Hindracker of Powerline points out at the link above, there have been plenty of instances whereby the Supreme Court has struck down economic-based laws and statutes including the sweeping 1990 Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act.
Oh, well. We've probably been taking far too much joy in this but continual episodes of self-inflicted foot-in-mouthitist have a train-wreck quality to them. Especially, when it involves a, you know, constitutional scholar.
And we can't wait to read what the miserable hack came up with for his take-home assignment tomorrow.
Remember, 3 pages, single-spaced.