He never used the disparaging phrase “black robed oligarchs”, but other than that, President Barack Obama sounded very much like right wing New Hampshire Republicans who a decade ago, in response to the Claremont decision, were arguing that the court has no power to interfere with the legislative process.
In fact, some Republicans (albeit not those at the pinnacle of power) are still arguing about non-elected judges (the same words Obama used) daring to intrude in the legislative domain.
An axiom comes to mind.
It all depends on whose ox is being gored.
It also provides us with delicious grounds for charges of hypocrisy. The same left wing Democrats who for years have argued an expansionist view of the Constitution have no right to argue the court must not strike down Obamacare now. In fact, Harvard scholar Lawrence Tribe seems to be maintaining his purity by criticizing Obama.
But the hypocrisy charge goes both ways. Republicans who have argued about meddling justices hardly stand on solid ground now when they insist the court must strike down Obamacare.
I plead innocent of any charge of hypocrisy. I firmly believe that Obamacare should be struck down. The commerce clause, which was inserted to prevent states from establishing tariffs on the flow of goods across state lines, has been stretched beyond anything the founders had in mind. For Obama and Democrats to use the clause to intrude into the lives of every American is beyond absurd.
Courts exist to stop overzealous and ill-conceived legislation which robs people of their liberties.
Obama is dead wrong just as New Hampshire right wingers were wrong when they vilified the black robed oligarchs for the Claremont decision.
You may not agree with a court’s decision, but to argue that courts have no right to decide on constitutionality is un-American.
Two options are available if you disagree with decicions. Amend the Constitution. That’s what some (not I) have been trying unsuccessfully to do for the past decade here in New Hampshire.
Or change the justices. When they die or retire, try to replace them with justices who agree with your point of view. Admittedly this is not an easy procedure (FDR never succeeded in stacking the court), but the founders never intended it to be easy.
It’s nothing less than delicious that some root for the court to strike down legislation they don’t agree with and then assail the court for going against their pet projects.
Mmm, mmm, good is what this hypocrisy is.
The problem lies less with the courts than with over-reaching legislatures.
We need only look to the current New Hampshire House redistricting plan for evidence of that. The court should strike down the plan passed by Republican leaders who fashioned a totally unconstitutional plan and then hoodwinked their members (through coercion, intimidation, and out and out bullying) into falling into line like sheep.
Our democracy survives only because while despots like Bill O’Brien can coerce weak minded legislators, they cannot bully the courts.
Gott sei dank (that’s German for thanks to God). May it always be so.
We should be thankful that judges are appointed for life and are not forced to fall in line with fallacious arguments like those Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt offered on the House floor last week.
Somehow managing to keep a straight face, Bettencourt asserted that the House redistricting plan satisfies both the federal and state constitutions (don't take my word for it--check out streaming audio). Even House counsel/lobbyist/gendarme Ed Mosca had admitted that the plan, in complying with federal one man one vote principles, was afoul of the New Hampshire Constitutional Amendment passed in 2006. Even redistricting Chair Paul Mirski, who fought o pass the amendment, knew the plan he was putting forward does not comply with the Constitution. Yet here was the Majority Leader simply making things up in hopes of influencing legislators who didn’t have a clue about the intricacies of what they were voting on.
Yes, we need justices who have enough time and expertise to see through the lies of legislators and to follow the laws.
Yes, we need justices who will strike down Obamacare at the federal level and the House redistricting plan here in New Hampshire.
Only justices prevent a tyranny of the elected majority from dismantling the ideas of freedom our forefathers fought so hard for. Only justices stand in the way of elected tyrants whether they be tyrants from the left like Nancy Pelosi or tyrants from the right like Bill O'Brien, aided and abetted most shamefully by complicit legislators too fearful to stand up against him, who continues to author one of the darkest chapters in New Hampshire history.
Long live judicial review!
Three cheers for Marbury v. Madison!