COMMENTARY | The fact that President Barack Obama was once a constitutional law professor and yet has virtually no understanding or respect for the nation's founding document is mind-boggling.
His comments earlier this week warning the court not to engage in judicial activism was nothing more than hubris. The angry judges demanded a response from Attorney General Eric Holder to determine if the Obama administration believes the court has the power to overturn laws. The controversial attorney general finally drafted the mandated three-page response, but the damage to the administration's reputation was already done, says Fox News.
Adhering to constitutional rules and understanding the balance of power the courts provide is not a partisan issue. Even those on the far-left should not want laws passed in Congress to automatically receive a free pass upon judicial review. Although they may support Obamacare, liberals would surely not want a fiscally conservative bill to go unchallenged when questions of constitutionality are raised.
Although Holder's letter stated that the court's power is "beyond dispute," he also wrote that laws passed by Congress are "presumptively constitutional," Fox News reports. In a perfect world with perfect leaders, such a statement may be true. But we do not live in a utopia we live in the United States. Rep. Nancy Pelosi garnered weeks of media attention during the Obamacare debate when she encouraged voting for the lengthy bill so it can be passed and then find out what is in it. When politicians are willing to approve a piece of legislation without reading and comprehending it in its entirety, review of the pending law by the court is not unreasonable.
Holder's correspondence with the court goes on to say that constitutional review should only be exercised in "appropriate cases." It is doubtful that Holder, Obama or any other elected liberal feels that this is one of the situations where review is warranted. If the court was reviewing a fiscally conservative or bill that favored personal responsibility, Democrats would be calling for judicial activism to prevent such measures from becoming law.
There were no warnings or verbal challenges to the court's power when legislation pertaining to the mandatory drug testing of welfare recipients, voter photo identification and collective bargaining laws were placed under judicial review.
The Constitution's division of power and authority to regulate laws is absolute and should never waver.
- judicial activism
- judicial review