Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Remember, he taught constitutional law

For someone who taught constitutional law and who has sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution, you'd think that President Obama would have a passing familiarity with the subject. Here's the president talking about the Supreme Court and the possibility that Obamacare will be overturned:
For starters the president expressed confidence that 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.”
I'm not a Harvard-trained lawyer who lectured at the University of Chicago, but I did go to high school and learned all about Marbury v. Madison, which established the role of judicial review in limiting Congress and the President from passing laws that were unconstitutional, regardless of how strongly the Congress felt about the law.

Putting aside the absurd claim that Obamacare was passed by a strong majority (219 to 212 in the House and only by circumventing the usual procedures in the Senate), is the President really claiming that it is unprecedented for the Court to overturn a law passed by a democratically elected Congress?  Again, I never went to law school, but I have paid a bit of attention to the news over the past few years and have watched hundreds of episodes of Law and Order.  Also, I have one of those Google machines on my desk that allows me to type in phrases such as "federal laws overturned by supreme court".  When I did this I was provided with the number of laws passed by Congress that were later overturned by the Court: 158 between 1789 and 2002.  (Mr. President, if you're reading this, here's the link so you can update your lecture notes).