At what point do you just stop taking anything any Washington politician says seriously? In a place where incoherent and meaningless rhetoric abounds, it becomes hard to avoid.
One of the latest examples being this recent blurb from President Obama on why the Supreme Court overturning the Affordable Care Act would be hard to imagine:
Ultimately I am 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.
And I just remind conservative commentators that for years what we have heard is 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. And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.
And with that he quite possibly places a lot doubt on his supposed expertise as a former constitutional law professor. What could he possibly even mean by these statements? It may be helpful to pick them apart.
In terms of the first statement, history is full of examples of the Supreme Court overturning laws that passed by a majority vote (for clarification, all laws by their very nature have to pass with a majority vote to become a law). Ever since Marbury v. Madison, that has been one of the prime responsibilities of the judicial branch: To review the constitutionality of “passed” laws.
Then with respect to the second statement, “conservative commentators” (notice he doesn’t actually reference any actual conservative commentators) haven’t been arguing against the courts applying the Constitution when reviewing cases, only against judges making up things that can’t be found in the text of the Constitution to overturn or uphold laws. And what exactly is the distinguishing factor between a “duly constituted” and “passed” law exactly? His signature?
This type of incoherent and meaningless rhetoric is good if you want to persuade those who have no understanding of the subject you’re speaking of – which, unfortunately, is much of today’s electorate. Excuse me, a “stong majority” of the “duly constituted” electorate.