A federal appeals court has ordered the Justice Department to clarify comments made by the president when he said yesterday that it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to overturn his signature health care law (“Obamacare”).
“I am confident that this will be upheld because it should be upheld,” President Obama said.
“Ultimately I am 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.”
And I‘d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is 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. And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.
And since making these remarks, a three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has told the DOJ that it has until Thursday to explain whether the Obama administration believes the courts have the right to strike down a federal law.
One justice in particular chided the administration for what he said was being perceived as a “challenge” to judicial authority — referring directly to Obama‘s latest comments about the Supreme Court’s review of the health care case.
The testy exchange played out during a hearing over a separate ObamaCare challenge. It marked a new phase in the budding turf war between the executive and judicial branches.
Judge Jerry Smith asked the government attorney whether Attorney General Eric Holder believes judges can strike down federal laws.
“Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?” Judge Smith asked