There have been numerous remarks regarding the Supreme Court’s health care (Obama Care) case. I am unaware of how much of the discourse everyone has heard – particularly the comments President Obama added to the discussion. He remarked on how the Supreme Court justices should decide on the case. As a result, for those that know about these statements, please allow me to begin there before moving forward.
On Monday April 2, 2012, President Obama stated “…I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint – that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”
He added, citing conservative commentators that “the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example.”
The president making comments about the Supreme Court’s authority is certainly controversial and unprecedented.
The president has been scolded for his remarks about the Supreme Courts hearing on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). The article here discusses this and the administration’s hypocrisy in handling legal cases.
The president has received criticism from all political isles. The Washington Post reported that some of his supporters had questioned his comments about the Supreme Court case. In this article, David Johnson quoted Laurence Tribe, who stated, “[p]residents should refrain from commenting on pending cases during the process of judicial deliberation.”
Lastly, let’s not forget that the Supreme Court has authority in this matter under the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers. The clause divides “…the government[s] responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another.”
It is not my intent to dissect the president’s comments that would concern the U.S. government’s separation of powers. However, it needs to be stated that the Supreme Court would be well within its scope of authority to uphold Obama Care constitutional or declare Obama Care unconstitutional.
Rather, this article’s intent is to consider the reasoning used to defend Obama Care in regards to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
The Department of Justice announced it would not defend DOMA’s constitutionality a year ago. In February of 2012, the law was declared unconstitutional. Also, the judge ordered the federal government to ignore the statute and provide health care to a spouse of a lesbian federal employee.
The article “Obama Argues For, Against Courts Power,” which gave me the idea to write this article, began with the following reasoning, which must be taken into consideration:
Barack Obama’s argument that the Supreme Court should not reject Obamacare because it would be an ‘unprecedented’ move against the will of a “democratically elected” Congress means that his Department of Justice should be supporting, not opposing, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, according to legal analysts.
ObamaCare passed without a single Republican vote in the House of Representatives and Senate. On the other hand, DOMA passed with overwhelming bipartisan support with a 342 – 67 vote in the House of Representatives and an 85 – 14 vote in the Senate.
The founder of Liberty Council, Mathew Staver, believes the president did not consider his comments implications. He added that “His comments were directly contrary to what he is doing with the Defense of Marriage Act where he is arguing that law, which unlike Obamacare was passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress, should be declared unconstitutional.”
Simply put, the President Obama’s comments on Obama Care, and DOMA has revealed a double standard.
The founder of the Center for Military Readiness, Elaine Donnelly, stated that the president is well aware of the Supreme Courts right to strike down laws it chooses. Furthermore, she mentioned in a WND article that “Obama has put himself in a difficult position here with his double standard. The administration has been caught in its duplicity once again, and he is taking a huge risk trying to bully the courts.”
Considering that President Obama received considerable support – in his 2008 election – from those who do not support DOMA’s definition of marriage that he is not giving DOMA the same consideration as Obama Care.
It is clear that the administration’s focus is governing in a way that will benefit the president’s re- election efforts. It is hard to see how the Administration does not support DOMA for two reasons. First, considering their argument of a democratically elected Congress in defending Obama Care. Secondly, the support of the traditional definition of marriage is supported by many voters across the U.S.
In conclusion, both cases cause much concern and debate among constitutionalist’s because it does not reference – directly or indirectly – to federal authority in healthcare or the definition of marriage.