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Obama Challenges Judicial Independence

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 4, 2012

In a remarkable show of audacity, narcissism and/or disdain for the three independent branches of American government, President Obama once again attacked Supreme Court’s its authority.  His first attack came during a State of the Union Address when he publicly rebuked the Supreme Court for one of its decisions.

ABC News has reported that during a White House press conference on Monday, Obama questioned the Supreme Court’s authority relating to Obamacare stating that it would be “an unprecedented and extraordinary step” to overturn his prized legislation passed by “a democratically elected Congress.”  He went on to state that he believed it would be “….or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and — and passed law.”

For a president who was presented as an expert on Constitutional law, his foray into the Supreme Court’s Constitutional power is either a sign of ignorance or lust for power.  The Constitution specifically gives independent and specific powers to each of three branches of government as checks and balances against any one branch usurping power it was not granted under the Constitution.  Further, it is the Supreme Court’s specific duty to overturn laws created by the Congress should it find those laws to be unconstitutional.

The negative responses to the President’s inappropriate comments have been strong since Obama is treading on dangerous grounds.  In an unusual step for a federal judge, Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals demanded a response from the Administration on this issue.  During a case involving the federal government, Smith took a Justice Department lawyer to task on the President’s comments demanding of the Justice Department:

I would like to have from you by noon on Thursday …  a letter stating what is the position of the Attorney General in the Department of Justice in regard to the recent statements by the President –  stating specifically, and in detailed reference to those statements, what the authority is in the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review.”

Judge Smith also asked: “Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?”  This question is so obvious that the fact that he needs even be raised brings into question Obama’s understanding of the Constitution.  The American people deserve a straightforward answer on this issue.  However, given this President’s unwillingness to answer to the American people in the past and the mainstream media’s acquiescent to any action that he takes, any substantive response is not likely.

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