Was Barack Obama really a constitutional law professor or is it just one of his many identities. After all, he is the Commander-in-Chief by law but by self identification, he is the Campaigner-in-Chief, the Secular Religious Leader and the self-styled King of the America. Why can’t he be the Constitutional Law Professor-in-chief?
Yesterday, in one of his more outrageous pronouncements from on high, he actually told the Supreme Court of the United States how to do their job. “Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress.”
Was he out of class the day that his Harvard law professors discussed Marbury v. Madison? Left’s face it, against the brilliance of the Constitutional Law Professor-in-chief, how could the landmark case that established the principle of judicial review under Article III of the United States Constitution take precedence?
Marbury v. Madison was argued and decided in February 1803. The case involved William Marbury, who had been appointed by President John Adams as Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia but whose commission was not subsequently delivered. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to force the new Secretary of State James Madison to deliver the documents.
The Court, with John Marshall as Chief Justice, found firstly that Madison’s refusal to deliver the commission was both illegal and remediable. Nonetheless, the Court stopped short of compelling Madison (by writ of mandamus) to hand over Marbury’s commission, instead holding that the provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that enabled Marbury to bring his claim to the Supreme Court was itself unconstitutional, since it purported to extend the Court’s original jurisdiction beyond that which Article III established. The petition was therefore denied.
The important part of the case was that the Supreme Court established the power to find a legislatively-enacted law as unconstitutional. The courts of the United states, both Federal and State’s, have been doing it ever since.
So what’s different about this law that has gotten the Constitutional Law Professor-in-chief so exercised? Well, for one, it’s the signature ‘achievement’ of the Obama administration. If it is struck down by the Court, Barack Obama’s four-year term will be seen as wasted and devoid of any achievements.
Here’s the other question. Is he so ignorant of legal sense that he doesn’t understand the principles of judicial review? His own Solicitor General attempted to use the very same principles to buttress his arguments before the court last week. It didn’t work then and it won’t now.
This is simply Barack Obama’s way of trying to frame the argument to come, when the Court emasculates Obamacare. He needs a fig leaf for his argument that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds and became judicial activists on a grand scale.
Obama doesn’t believe in the absolute power of U.S. Constitutional Law. He is simply a relativist who decides each issue on the basis of “What’s in it for me?”
So we have the image of the Constitutional Law Professor-in-chief arguing for judicial activism in the case of Proposition 8 in California. In this case, a federal appeals panel in San Francisco ruled Tuesday that California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.
The proposition was passed by a majority of California voters but since Obama was against the proposition, he was in favor of overturning it. It suited is relativist political philosophy.
When the Supreme Court overturned campaign finance laws in the Citizens United v Federal Election Commission case, he railed against them during the 2010 State of the Union Address, while they sat in the front row silent. He was against allowing corporations the same rights as unions for campaign contributions. He, of course, wanted unions to be treated differently.
In 2003, the United States Congress passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 by substantially larger margins than Obamacare. When the Supreme Court refused to strike down this law, which was passed by a “democratically elected Congress,” then-Senator Obama, among others, railed about the fact that the Supreme Court had upheld the clear will of Congress (and the vast majority of the American people).
Obama can’t have it both ways, except he sure is trying. He can’t go to the country with the line, “We tried for Hope and Change.” If he does, he could get a new identity, “The Emperor With No Clothes.”
I am a conservative commentator who lives in Central Virginia near Charlottesville, the home of Thomas Jefferson.