Monday, April 2, 2012

Obama Thinks a 219-212 Vote Should Be Enough To Change the Constitution

Obama made these comments today about the Obamacare Supreme Court case:

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.

And I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.  Well, this is a good example.  And I'm pretty confident that this - this court will recognize that and not take that step.

There are a couple of things wrong with this.  First, Obamacare only passed the House 219-212 with a whopping 34 Democrats voting against it.  If it weren't for the huge 2008 landslide, it wouldn't have passed at all, given how unpopular it is with most Americans.  62% of Americans think the individual mandate is unconstitutional.  So if the Supreme Court decides the law is unconstitutional there doesn't seem to be any reason for them not to strike it down.  The 219-212 vote was nowhere near the 2/3rds needed to amend the constitution (who have needed 291 votes for that). 

Another thing wrong with all of this is that Obama supposedly taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago for 12 years.  Has he forgotten about Marbury v. Madison, an 1803 decision in which "an unelected group of people" overturned a duly constituted and passed law?  Really, he seems to be questioning the entire concept of judicial review by the Supreme Court here.

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