Column: President Obama seems to think that he can look directly past the whole Supreme Court checking the other branches thing
Apr. 13, 2012
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
President Obama took his lack of respect for the rule of law to a new level last week by exclaiming, “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.”
Any sixth grade social studies student can explain the system of checks and balances, which holds the key to keeping our government under control. Our president, however, is still having trouble grasping the concept.
President Obama seems to think he can look directly past the whole Supreme Court checking the other branches thing and implement whatever policy he dreams up. This obvious disregard for basic constitutional law is not only surprising from a U.S. President, but it’s downright shocking from a former University of Chicago constitutional law professor.
Of course, a University of Missouri law school professor, who happens to be a former student of the president, got it right. Our own MU professor Thom Lambert is a former student of President Obama’s and writes for the “Truth on the Market” blog. Lambert felt strongly about the President’s remarks and responded, “saying that it would be 'unprecedented' and 'extraordinary' for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that violates the Constitution is like saying that Kansas City is the capital of Kansas.”
Although most students at the University of Kansas probably believe Kansas City is the capital of Kansas, Lambert has hit the nail on the head. The idea that the Supreme Court would be taking an “unprecedented” step by throwing out a law that it finds to be in conflict with the Constitution is an amazingly naive statement.
There are two big problems with the President’s remark. First, throwing out laws that break the rules is a major part of the job of courts. Second, courts have done it before . . . a lot. In fact, a total of 1,315 local and federal laws were declared unconstitutional between 1789 and 2002, according to the Government Printing Office Database.
The other laughable part of the President’s statement is saying the law “was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” Now, I suppose one’s interpretation of “strong” is subjective. However, the actual number of votes this law received is telling. In the House, the law passed with a final count of 219-212. More importantly, this vote was taken when the Democrats held 253 seats. That means 34 members of the president’s party voted against the bill. Then in the Senate, this law garnered 60 votes to barely stop the filibuster, which Republicans surely would have continued until the rapture if there were no vote to stop it.
In summation, last week President Obama demonstrated that his knowledge of basic civics and math leaves a lot to be desired. Seems like that should give you pause. Of course, you will probably still vote for him because you’re a college student and he “really gets you” or something of that nature.
The jury’s still out on how the Supreme Court will rule. Hopefully they will throw out the individual mandate, along with as much of the law as possible. If not, I’m sure we’ll elect that guy whose wife drives all the Cadillacs, and he’ll grant all the states waivers to get out of the mandate. Rumor has it that he even knows there are 50, not 57, states.