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President's Confident Comments Ruffle Feathers

04/04/12

Permalink 01:40:49 pm, by MedBen5 Email , 354 words, 1171 views   English (US)
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

President's Confident Comments Ruffle Feathers

In spite of rumblings that the Supreme Court could strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is confident that the health care reform law will stand, the New York Times reports. On Monday, he said that it would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary” step to overturn legislation passed by the “strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Obama defended his signature legislative achievement, and cautioned right-leaning justices not to practice partisan politics from the bench:

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

The severity of the President’s comments rubbed some politicians and pundits the wrong way – even those who support the law. In The Washington Post, op-ed columnist Ruth Marcus called his words “unsettling“:

“To be clear, I believe the individual mandate is both good policy and sound law, well within Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause… And yet, Obama’s assault on ‘an unelected group of people’ stopped me cold. Because, as the former constitutional law professor certainly understands, it is the essence of our governmental system to vest in the court the ultimate power to decide the meaning of the constitution. Even if, as the president said, it means overturning ‘a duly constituted and passed law.’”

No doubt aware of how his remarks had been received, Obama gave a more measured critique at a press luncheon on Tuesday:

“[T]he 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.”

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