A new development in the weeklong war of words launched by President Obama at the Supreme Court. Today, Attorney General Holder complied with a request by a federal appeals court judge to provide a written explanation about the role of the judiciary.
It all began on Monday when President Obama chastised the high court saying it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to overturn ObamaCare. He also attempted to raise doubts about the legitimacy of such opposition by what he called “activist” and “unelected” justices.
That prompted Judge Jerry Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to express concern about the president’s comments which many view as a challenge to judicial authority. As Judge Smith put it: “That has troubled a number of people who have read it as somehow a challenge to the federal courts or to their authority. And that’s not a small matter.” Judge Smith ordered the Department of Justice to do some homework and to provide a written explanation due today.
In a three-page letter, Attorney General Holder said “the power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute,” though it should only be exercised in “appropriate cases.” He also claimed laws passed by Congress are “presumptively constitutional.”
As I told Megyn Kelly on FOX News today, this whole episode was a self-induced error by the president and compounded by the Obama Administration. Even the president’s former mentor, Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, said the president “obviously misspoke.” You can watch the interview here.
Most Americans understand the role of the Supreme Court. And, President Obama’s attempt to influence or intimidate the Justices while the ObamaCare case is pending before the high court is totally inappropriate.
The president certainly has the right to express his opinion about how he hopes the high court will rule on ObamaCare. But, his over-the-top warning crossed the line. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put it today: The president should “back off” the Supreme Court and let the Court do its work.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. He is an accomplished Supreme Court advocate, renowned expert on religious liberty, and a respected broadcaster. Jay Sekulow is an attorney with a passion for protecting religious liberty – freedom – democracy.
Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.