web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The President And The Supreme Court: Philosophy And Politics

Share Button

Much attention has properly been paid to President Obama’s unprecedented remarks about the Supreme Court, which, he worries, may find his signature health care law unconstitutional. It will be recalled that the president spoke after the oral argument in the case in which the justices asked many highly critical questions about the constitutionality of the law and comments from many legal observers that the law is in trouble. There were also intriguing suggestions that a preliminary vote by the justices had a majority in favor of striking down the law or parts of it and that this news was leaked to the president’s aides, prompting his warning to the court. But as extraordinary and significant as it was for a president to threaten the Supreme Court while it was in the process of fulfilling its constitutional duty, there is more to the story.

The statement of the president of the American Bar Association is instructive:

President Barack Obama’s remarks…speculating about the Supreme Court’s potential decision in the health care legislation appeal are troubling. Particularly worrisome was his suggestion that the court’s decision in this case could serve as a “good example” of what some commentators have cited as “judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint” by an “unelected group of people.”

It is incumbent on all our elected officials – including those aspiring to hold office – to continually demonstrate that the courtroom is not a political arena. It is a measure of a free society that individuals are able to openly disagree with court decisions, but we should expect our leaders to refrain from partisan statements aimed at judges fulfilling their constitutional role and responsibilities.

The statement alludes to the fact that while presidents and other political leaders in the past have been critical of certain decisions of the Supreme Court, this was the first time in memory that the criticism was leveled in the form of a veiled threat that a particular decision would be used as an issue in an upcoming election campaign – before the case is even decided. The ineluctable message from the president was “Decide my way or I will drag you through the mud of a nasty political fight.”

Frankly, this smacks of a decidedly improper effort to influence a court into making a particular decision. Mr. Obama is a lawyer, an officer of the court, so there are some serious ethical questions about his comments.

Two more points. Many have argued that the president’s statements were not only designed to intimidate the justices to vote his way but also to lay the groundwork for campaigning against a “conservative majority” on the court should his healthcare plan be rejected. Thus, they say, Mr. Obama’s outburst was likely meant to get one of the five conservative justices to vote his way, and failing that he would he would at least have his anti-conservative ploy in place for his reelection campaign.

A savvy attorney suggested to The Jewish Press, however, that more than likely the leak about the preliminary vote was not that there was a 5-4 conservative-liberal divide to strike down the law. Rather, the vote was 6-3, with one of the votes to strike down the law coming from a defecting liberal justice. President Obama’s tirade was designed to at least get the liberal justice back on the reservation so as to preserve his campaign argument even if his health care law went down.

Finally, it should be appreciated that the president’s attack on the court was in sync with much of his background. His early career as a “community organizer” was nothing if not dedicated to arguing that the law oppressed the needy and the politically impotent and needed to be overcome or changed. As we noted last week, years ago Mr. Obama criticized interpretations of the Constitution that defined it as what the government could not do to a citizen rather than what it had to do for a citizen. Of course, the former is what the very words of the Constitution proclaim.

The president evidently views the Supreme Court as a real threat to his view of the proper role of government and he’d like the justices to get out of the way. But that’s not how this democracy works.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The President And The Supreme Court: Philosophy And Politics”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Editorial Board

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

To be sure, American policy had long opposed the growth of Israeli settlements, but at the same time U.S. policymakers acknowledged that in any negotiated agreement there would be land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians to accommodate the large numbers of Israelis living in the settlements.

The issue of affordable infertility treatment has long been one of particular importance to the Orthodox Jewish community and we support the leadership of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who again successfully championed this significant cause.

So it always struck us as hypocritical that Israel was expected to release cold-blooded killers almost as a matter of habit while the U.S. balked at letting Pollard go.

The Department of Justice acknowledges that individuals can claim an exemption if they can demonstrate an adverse impact on their religious beliefs.

In the larger sense, Mrs. Lubling came to epitomize an Orthodox community dedicated to taking care of its own.

There may not have been much else President Obama could have realistically done, but the headline writers at the Times obviously felt the need to massage a front-page story that took a less than giddy approach to Mr. Obama’s policymaking; how else to explain the story’s headline – “As Sanctions Start, Russia Feels a Sting”?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-president-and-the-supreme-court-philosophy-and-politics/2012/04/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: