Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Around the web

A few pieces of collected commentary on the President's constitutional commentary of the other day, from people who know more than I...

Thom Lambert:
Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun. Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise. Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5. You’d be a little embarrassed, right? You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.
Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense (the deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act got through the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed to survive a filibuster and passed 219-212 in the House), 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.
Steven Hayward
I’ve been growing weary of hearing people mention that he’s a “constitutional scholar,” since he never published a single thing on the subject either as editor of the Harvard Law Review or as a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago Law School.  But hey—he taught constitutional law, didn’t he?
Not really.
John Hinderaker
Yesterday Barack Obama launched an attack on the Supreme Court that bordered on the bizarre…
Putting aside the fact that Obamacare passed with anything but a “strong majority” of Congress, the concept of judicial review has been established for over 200 years; for a president not to understand this displays shocking ignorance. Not to mention the fact that most of the liberals’ favorite Supreme Court decisions involved overturning laws that were enacted by democratically elected Congresses or legislatures, e.g., Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas and many more.
Aaron Worthing
The point is that it is fundamentally dishonest for a liberal to complain about judicial activism.  That’s not to say that true judicial activism isn't a problem.  After all, suppose that secretly behind closed doors the outcome of Bush v. Gore was really about which candidate they preferred?  Then that is a problem, isn’t it?  I mean every justice, as an American citizen, has a right to vote for President, but this would give their vote infinitely more power than any ordinary citizen, if they choose election law cases based on who they want to win.  So much for one person, one vote, right?  I don’t think that is what they did, but I would be the first to denounce it if that is what I believed.
And put aside the reality behind Bush v. Gore, the case also shows how inherently dangerous it is to have a large portion of the population believe that the Supreme Court is more or less corrupt.  I mean that is what activism is, really: corruption.  It is justices disregarding their oaths of office and exercising power not granted to them.  And the problem is that when many people believe that the Supreme Court is corrupt, that they let their politics rather than the law guide their decisions, then it means that we have no neutral umpire in our government.  There is no neutral party that the other branches can go to for fair arbitration. 
James Taranto
We were half-joking yesterday when we asked if Barack Obama slept through his Harvard Law class on Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court first asserted its power to strike down unconstitutional laws. It turns out it's no joke: The president is stunningly ignorant about constitutional law.

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