America is a nation of laws. We pride ourselves on our 225 years of constitutional rule. I’m thinking that the unthinkable may happen this week with two key issues being decided by the United States Supreme Court. Barack Obama may not obey the rulings!
The Arizona immigration case and the fate of Obamacare will be decided in rulings that are expected to be issued by the Court as early as today. The outcome of these two cases will roil the political waters of America until the November elections.
The normal approach for Presidents who have one of their flagship initiatives overturned by the Supreme Court is to make a defiant statement about the will of the people being foiled by 5 (6,7,8 or9) Justices. They then move on to attempt to lessen the impact on them politically. So far, Barack Obama has been a different President.
On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 in favor of the plaintiffs in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. The Court found that a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold) prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The left erupted in protest. They ignored the fact that unions had been spending tens of millions of dollars on Democrat candidates through advertising and get-out-vote spending. They fixated on the fact that corporations could now become part of the campaign funding mix.
A week later, Barack Obama criticized the ruling in his State of the Union address. While Justice Samuel Alito, the Democrats cheered the President’s comments.
Obama focused on political contributions from foreign sources which later proved to be dues that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had received from subsidiaries of U.S. companies located in foreign countries. In the House chamber, Obama made it seem as if foreign governments were bankrolling his political opponents.
Barack Obama, the former professor of constitutional law, understands the function of the Supreme Court in the Separation of Powers arrangement that the Founders crafted. Barack Obama, the hyper-partisan politician, sometimes chooses to ignore that very same rules that govern the American system. For Obama, everything passes through a political filter.
A year ago, the President spoke before the National Council of La Raza about the failure of the Congress to pass the Dream Act. ”Now, I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know very well the real pain and heartbreak that deportations cause. I share your concerns and I understand them. And I promise you, we are responding to your concerns and working every day to make sure we are enforcing flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way.”
“Believe me — believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
Yet, less than one year later Barack Obama chose to do just that by ordering the Department of Homeland Security not to deport illegal immigrants that fit into the category the the Dream Act would have covered. By doing so, his administration bypassed Congress and the court system. The policy change will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who were illegally brought here as children by their parents.
Fast forward to this week. What will Obama do if his signature healthcare law is overturned completely or in part? Will he go meekly into the night, licking his wounds? Or will he react like a wounded political animal and lash out at his presumed tormentors in the Supreme Court and the Republican Party.
The left already considers the conservative justices on the Court to be tools of the Republican Party since the Bush v Gore ruling in 2000 so Obama would already be preaching to the choir. The Citizens United ruling added fuel to the fire of their disdain for the Court.
This term of the Supreme Court has not had good outcomes for the left with the SEIU ruling a blow not only to that union but also to Big Labor. It almost goes without saying that the failure of Big Labor to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was a stinging blow to this once solid pillar of the Democrat coalition.
Expect a vitriolic assault against the voting justices, the legitimacy of their ruling, and the credibility of the Court itself. The mainstream media will expound upon the usual victim: women and minorities. The hand-wringing will go on for weeks with extreme pressure brought to bear on the Congress with cries to fix it.
How far-fetched is it to believe that Obama would appear on our television screens the night of an adverse ruling to announce that he was maintaining the law by Presidential fiat? Can’t you see him pleading his case to his base ion an effort to rally the faithful?
Are we looking at a full-blown Constitutional crisis if the President ignores one or more Supreme Court ruling? We’ll find out soon enough.