Earlier this week, President Obama “warned” the “unelected” Supreme Court to not throw out his history-making yet controversial healthcare law, popularly known as Obamacare. Today, Eric Holder came to the rescue, assuring the Supreme Court Justices that Obama does respect their judicial authority.
Following President Obama’s comments, Attorney General Holder was ordered by a federal appeals judge to explain the Justice Department’s views on the matter more clearly. Holder complied, asserting that the Obama administration does uphold the court’s right to rule on the law.
“The department has not in this litigation, nor in any other litigation of which I am aware, ever asked this or any other court to reconsider or limit long-established precedent concerning judicial review of the constitutionality of federal legislation,” Holder wrote in a three-page letter addressed the the Appeals Court Judge. “The power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute,” Holder said, but defended Obama’s controversial comments and the criticism thereof, wrapping up his memo with, “The President’s remarks were fully consistent with the principles described herein.”
On Monday, Obama all but told the Supreme Court that they would hold up his heathcare reforms, criticizing them as “judicial activists” (despite the fact that Obama’s pick Sonia Sotomayor declared herself exactly that when she was sworn in). The president also frustratedly called out “conservative commentators”, saying “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.”
Obama’s comments have caused quite an uproar. ‘The president crossed a dangerous line this week,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a speech today. “The independence of the court must be defended.”
That’s exactly the kind of damage control Eric Holder was called in for today, tactfully and respectfully cleaning up after Obama’s temper-tantrum, and sounding much more reasonable t’boot. “While duly recognizing the courts’ authority to engage in judicial review, the executive branch has often urged courts to respect the legislative judgments of Congress,” he concluded in his memo.
I’m kind of thinking the Obama Administration should have led with Eric Holder on this one.