QOTD: Obama not understood on #SCOTUS because he is a “constitutional law professor”

Posted by: ST on April 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Literally laughing out loud.  From today’s WH press briefing with Jay Carney:

Henry: The president is a former constitutional law professor. One of his professors is Laurence Tribe. He now says, in his words, the president “obviously misspoke earlier this week”, quote “he didn’t say what he meant and having said that in order to avoid misleading anyone, he had to clarify it.” I thought yesterday you were saying repeatedly that he did not misspeak. What do you make of the president’s former law professor saying he did?

Carney: The premise of your question suggests that the president of the United States in the comments he made Monday, did not believe in the constitutionality of legislation, which is a preposterous premise and I know you don’t believe that.

Henry: Except this is from Laurence Tribe, who knows a lot more than you and I about constitutional law.

Carney: What I acknowledged yesterday is that speaking on Monday the president was not clearly understood by some people because he is a law professor, he spoke in shorthand.

Make sure to watch video of the exchange at that same link.  Priceless.

As I posted on Twitter earlier, I’ve never been the editor of the Harvard Law Review, much less gone to a school as prestigious as Harvard.  Yet I (and many more of us “common folk”) appear to know what the role of the courts are more than our “constitutional law professor President.”  And trust me, that isn’t saying much at all!

Even more hilarity – and heavy doses of Obama administration hypocrisy / selective memory – here (bolded emphasis added by me):

President Obama struck a nerve this week when he took the unusual step of commenting on Supreme Court deliberations, saying it would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary” step for the justices to overturn the health-care law that stands as his signature domestic policy achievement.

But the White House was forced to defend the assertion that overturning the health-care law would be unprecedented. According to the Congressional Research Service, the court through 2010 had ruled 165 times that laws passed by Congress were unconstitutional.

Obama himself agreed with some of those decisions, including 2008’s Boumediene v. Bush, in which the court ruled 5-4 that the Military Commissions Act’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus for Guantanamo Bay detainees was unconstitutional.

And Wednesday, the administration was in court in Boston explaining why it thinks the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, although it was passed by bipartisan majorities and signed by a Democratic president.

Heh. “Unprecedented” indeed. ;)

You really can’t make this stuff up.

Related:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

30 Responses to “QOTD: Obama not understood on #SCOTUS because he is a “constitutional law professor””

Comments

  1. Zachriel says:

    Obama’s statement concerning “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” referred to laws passed under the Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

  2. Carlos says:

    Gawd, there are so many times in my six-decade life that I “misspoke” and have never had the chance to “clarify”. People just assumed I was either stupid, uninformed, both or flat-out lying.

    I can see where the prez was some of each, in addition to wanting to see if he could gather his troops around ridding his presidency of those pesky justices, or at least packing the court with maybe four or six more communists. I believe that’s called a threat. I hope his slap-down continues for another seven months.

  3. Mitch says:

    Carlos, it’s not Obama. It’s the American people. All of us. Obama is nothing more than a child in kindergarten throwing a tantrum. The tantrums will continue as long as the American people permit them to continue. Rush nailed it today in a response to a caller. I believe his name was Tyler. If you were listening to the program, you might remember. The caller said, “Obama is blaming everyone, from George Bush to the Congress and now the Supreme Court, for not agreeing with him.” Rush had some fun with it, but he offered a very succinct explanation for the Monkey’s behavior. Never in his life has Obama ever received criticism. Never in his life has he received anything but praise and support. This is the first time in his life that people are actually going against him. Instead of treating it as honest opposition, he looks at it as insolence. “How dare these people oppose me and my signature Healthcare legislation?” This man has an ego of such enormous proportions that he cannot deal with any situation in a rational manner. And he’s POTUS. Dealing with foreign countries and foreign leaders on our behalf. We are in very scary territory here until we can get rid of him. We are literally witnessing the most dangerous time in the History of this great nation. And most Americans have no clue.

  4. Drew the Infidel says:

    AP (American Pravda), instead of saying Obhammud and his minions were trying to put out a firestorm of controversy over his thinly veiled threats to the court, simply “elaborated”. I thought the responses were being framed as we of the great unwashed being too unsophisticated to understand what was being said in plain English.

  5. Tom TB says:

    Barack H. Obama NEVER was a “Constitutional Law Professor” or a Professor at all. He was a “Guest Lecturer”. John Lott Jr. was a visiting Prof. ’94-95, and a Fellow Prof.’95-99, at the University of Chicago. This is the same time Obama was there, and he has called him on it. You don’t pretend to be something in Academia that you never were!

  6. Great White Rat says:

    Obama’s statement concerning “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” referred to laws passed under the Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

    What Zach doesn’t understand – or more likely, wants to ignore – is that the so-called “Commerce Clause” was not designed to provide a loophole for would-be tyrants to circumvent the rest of the Constitution and infringe upon the liberties that document protects.

    Go back and read the Federalist papers. Nothing in there indicates that the founders wanted the federal government to have the power to compel people to buy anything.

  7. Zachriel says:

    Great White Rat: What Zach{riel} doesn’t understand – or more likely, wants to ignore – is that the so-called “Commerce Clause” was not designed to provide a loophole for would-be tyrants to circumvent the rest of the Constitution and infringe upon the liberties that document protects.

    That’s irrelevant to the point raised.

    According to the Congressional Research Service, the court through 2010 had ruled 165 times that laws passed by Congress were unconstitutional.

    Obama was referring to the Commerce Clause, but the cited cases included non-Commerce cases.

  8. Carlos says:

    Question for Zach: When will the courts find some of the amendments in the original Bill of Rights unconstitutional? You know, like the Second, or especially the Tenth?

    That seems to be the direction the statists wish to take us.

    Then think of how easy it would be to name certain parts of the Constitution unconstitutional, those parts that inconveniently get in the way of treating all of us non-elites as little children!

    If ever there was a screaming need to overturn previous decision (outside of Roe v. Wade) it is the series of decisions by the mid-century courts about the commerce clause. Those have done more to grant more unjustified power to government, local to federal, than any other thing or set of decisions, and the brilliant elitists just don’t have the mental or moral capacity to see the evil in that.

  9. Great White Rat says:

    Zachriel whimpers:

    That’s irrelevant to the point raised.

    No, your entire post is irrelevant to the main issue, which is judicial review and the limits of government power.

    Kindly cite where, either in the Constitution or the Federalist papers, the founders meant to carve out an exception to the Bill of Rights or other government limitations such that ANYTHING the federal government did would be allowable as long as someone could conjure up a fig-leaf of justification under the so-called “Commerce Clause”.

    And no, posts from far-left bloggers and Jon Stewart clips are not acceptable substitutions for the required documentation.

  10. Drew says:

    Carney has become Orwellian

  11. PennyBeach says:

    A law professor but appears to be a lousy teacher.

  12. Zachriel says:

    Carlos: When will the courts find some of the amendments in the original Bill of Rights unconstitutional? You know, like the Second, or especially the Tenth?

    Um, the Constitution can’t be unconstitutional.

    Great White Rat: No, your entire post is irrelevant to the main issue, which is judicial review and the limits of government power.

    We noted that Obama was referring to the Commerce Clause, and that the courts have given great deference with respect to Congress on issues of commerce.

    Great White Rat: No, your entire post is irrelevant to the main issue, which is judicial review and the limits of government power.

    Nothing the President said called into question “judicial review and the limits of government power”.

    Great White Rat: Kindly cite where, either in the Constitution or the Federalist papers, the founders meant to carve out an exception to the Bill of Rights or other government limitations such that ANYTHING the federal government did would be allowable as long as someone could conjure up a fig-leaf of justification under the so-called “Commerce Clause”.

    The topic was Obama’s supposed questioning of judicial review, but it is certainly constitutional for Congress to raise taxes and provide health insurance. The healthcare law attempts to make this more market-based by mandating the purchase of health insurance. The mandate is the question before the Court.

  13. Carlos says:

    Exactly, Zach, and because the Bill of Rights was created and demanded by the majority as a part of the Constitution that put severe limitations on the power of the federal government to do ANYTHING not specified exactly in the original Constitution, how is it that the courts have made the Bill of Rights secondary to the Constitution?

    The SCOTUS has effectively denied the Bill of Rights by being able to place nearly any non-criminal legislation under the Commerce Clause, something the Tenth Amendment was inserted to prevent.

  14. Mitch says:

    I enjoy being in the company of people who can discuss the Constitution and defend it. I think when they wrote it, the Founders knew that their task was great. They labored long over the words, because words have meaning and are subject to interpretation. That’s why their words were specific. Even now, some two hundred years later, there are people among us who try to interpret the words of the Founders to mean something the Founders did not intend. They waste their time. Because the words were specific. For the last twenty years or so and more importantly. the last three, those who would lead us have tried their best to find a way around the Constitution. Rather than the parchment put in place to protect us, it has recently been seen as the obstacle that keeps us from becoming a Socialist Country. Lord only knows why they want us to become a Socialist Country, but they do. Make no mistake, they do. Folks, forget about the Primaries. Forget about the Candidates. Forget about the coming election. But save the Constitution. Do anything you can to achieve that objective. The Constitution is the only thing that stands between us and Socialism. A few chosen words on a piece of parchment. It is on display in Washington for anyone to see who wants to make the trip. It has kept his nation free for two hundred years. And the Monkey doesn’t like it. What a surprise.

  15. Mitch says:

    As I have said before, I am new here and trying to find how this site works, because it is different from other sites that I visit. To be more specific, why do you not have conversations with each other? You obviously know each other because the same people are here every night. Yet, you make statements and other people comment on those statements, but you don’t actually have conversations with each other the way friends do. I guess what I am saying is, you don’t actually engage with each other. Not my place to comment, I know. I just happened by. just thought I would ask, because it’s curious to me. Not what I’m used to. No worries. Carry on.

  16. Great White Rat says:

    There you go again:

    it is certainly constitutional for Congress to raise taxes and provide health insurance.

    And exactly what part of the Constitution grants the central government the right or duty to (1) go into the insurance business, and (2) compel citizens to purchase that insurance? Again, be specific. Cite the exact article and/or amendment.

    The healthcare law attempts to make this more market-based

    Blatantly untrue. Obama himself has said he’s for a single-payer plan, and the economic analyses of Obamacare have been nearly unanimous in judging that it is designed to push companies to the government plan and destroy any market-based competition.

  17. Zachriel says:

    Carlos: The SCOTUS has effectively denied the Bill of Rights by being able to place nearly any non-criminal legislation under the Commerce Clause, something the Tenth Amendment was inserted to prevent.

    That’s the issue before the Supreme Court. Most laws are still state laws, but commerce often has national implications, hence, federal legislation. But that’s not the issue in this thread, which is whether Obama called into question judicial review. He did not. Overturning health care would, however, overturn generations of precedent, which is what Obama did say.

    Mitch: Because the words were specific. For the last twenty years or so and more importantly. the last three, those who would lead us have tried their best to find a way around the Constitution.

    When it comes to the Commerce Clause, you would have to go back to the early twentieth century.

    Mitch: And the Monkey doesn’t like it.

    ?!?

    Zachriel: it is certainly constitutional for Congress to raise taxes and provide health insurance.

    Great White Rat: And exactly what part of the Constitution grants the central government the right or duty to (1) go into the insurance business, and (2) compel citizens to purchase that insurance?

    You may have misread that. If Congress simply insured everyone out of the treasury, then it would be under the same constitutional provisions that encompass Social Security. There is virtually no one of note who believes that Social Security and related programs aren’t constitutional under the power of Congress to tax and spend.
    http://www.ssa.gov/history/court.html

    Zachriel: The healthcare law attempts to make this more market-based

    Great White Rat: Blatantly untrue.

    The individual mandate was originated by the conservative Heritage Foundation, and then advocated by Republicans, as an alternative to a single-payer system. Odd how they all uniformly changed their minds, including Romney, who actually implemented such a plan.
    http://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/assuring-affordable-health-care-for-all-americans

  18. Great White Rat says:

    The individual mandate was originated by the conservative Heritage Foundation,

    What you disingenuously omit is that the Heritage Foundation quickly abandoned the idea once it became apparent that it lacked both economic unsustainability and constitutionality. They have the ability to evaluate and learn. What’s your excuse?

    There is virtually no one of note who believes that Social Security and related programs aren’t constitutional

    Try to pay attention. We’re not talking about Social security. If someone doesn’t work, they don’t have to contribute to Social Security. That’s where your attempt to draw an anology breaks down.

    Since I’ve asked you twice to provide an exact constitutional citation for your claim and you’ve failed to do so, I’ll assume you have none, and you’re basically echoing Nancy Pelosi – your argument boils down to “Are you kidding?”

    Oh, and as for Romney, you might have noticed that the regulars here have no great liking for him, partly because he does have those left-wing tendencies, although not nearly as extreme as Obama or the mainstream of the Democrat party.

  19. Zachriel says:

    Great White Rat: What you disingenuously omit is that the Heritage Foundation quickly abandoned the idea once it became apparent that it lacked both economic unsustainability and constitutionality.

    Quickly? Heritage published the original study, Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans, in 1989. In 1992, they then published The Heritage Consumer Choice Health Plan, which also advocated a mandate. In 1994, many Republicans supported bills that included mandate, including Grassley, Hatch, Dole and Lugar. Romney signed into law a mandate in Massachusetts.

    That is not to say that there weren’t objections by some, or that people can’t change their minds, but it was certainly considered seriously by Republicans and conservatives before being taken up by others.

    Great White Rat: Try to pay attention. We’re not talking about Social security. That’s where your attempt to draw an anology breaks down.

    Yes, try to pay attention. *If* health care was paid out of the treasury, then it would be presumptively constitutional. In other words, tax on the one hand, and pay out on the other. Nor was it an analogy, but an alternative to the mandate. If Congress simply insured everyone out of the treasury, then it would be under the same constitutional provisions that encompass Social Security and Medicare, which are authorized through the Congress’s power to tax and spend for the general welfare.

    Accordingly, you are arguing that taxing for health care insurance on the one hand, and buying health care insurance for everyone on the other, would be presumptively constitutional, it would not be constitutional to simply mandate people spend their own money to buy health insurance (with provision for those who can’t afford it).

  20. Great White Rat says:

    In other words, tax on the one hand, and pay out on the other.

    Once you submit that Obamacare’s “mandate” is a tax, the Commerce Clause argument goes out the window. But the spineless liberals who drafted the law deliberately avoided using the term “tax” to mitigate the unpopularity they knew they’d already be inviting.

    So you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. If this is a tax, then say so…but nowhere, not one place, was the word “tax” used in the bill. THAT would be constitutional, but wouldn’t have a prayer of passing. So it is NOT at tax. Not even when you want to pretend it is for partisan purposes. That’s what tripped up the Solicitor General in the oral arguments before SCOTUS.

    So if not a tax, then you’re reduced to claiming the Commerce Clause gives DC the right to dictate anything and everything we do in our lives, and that will not pass Constitutional muster.

    Incidentally, since you brought up Social Security, let’s look at how liberals take a plan they claim to be innocuous and limited, extend their power, and limit freedoms.

    When FDR and the Democrat congress passed SocSec in 1935, these were the details:
    – participation in the plan would be voluntary. Is that still the case?
    – participants’ contribution would be 1% of the first $1400 of annual income. Has that changed?
    – the money paid in by the participants would be deductible for income tax purposes. Got your last Form 1040? Show we where you can deduct the SocSec tax.
    – the money paid in by the participants would be put into an independent trust fund rather than the general revenues. Have you libs kept your paws off that money?
    – that the payment to retirees would never be taxed as income. Did you keep that promise?

    And if this bad law is upheld, we can see the same kind of gradual expansion of government control. Now, for sheep like Zach who want the feds to regulate every aspect of their lives (or more likely, Zach wants to be one of the anointed who does the regulating), that’s fine. But not to a free people.

  21. Zachriel says:

    Great White Rat: If this is a tax, then say so…

    You’re still not reading clearly. We said, “if”, then emphasized it when you appeared confused. Let’s try another tack. Is Social Security constitutional?

  22. Great White Rat says:

    SocSec is not the issue, although I understand why you’re so eager to derail this thread. If I wanted to defend the Obamacare mandate but, like you, could not cite any constiutional grounds for it, I’d try desperately to move the goalposts too. Since you’re unwilling to stick to the topic, and unable to support your thesis, I’m done with this thread.

  23. Zachriel says:

    Great White Rat: SocSec is not the issue,

    Actually, the question is the President’s comments about precedence, hence, understanding what the Supreme Court has already determined to be constitutional and what is still left to be decided. One can’t discuss precedence without discussing precedents.

    In particular, the courts have found that it is constitutional for the government to tax and then provide insurance, such as Social Security and Medicare. So they take with one hand and give back with the other. The mandate cuts out the middle man. Is this a distinction without a difference?

  24. Mitch says:

    Let me ask you a general question. What is your opinion of the President of the United States and his performance so far?

  25. Mitch says:

    Great White, I was just beginning to enjoy the subject and content of the thread. You have brought it to this point. I believe it would be disingenuous of you to abandon the conversation at this point. Other opinions have yet to comment. Stay around for awhile if you have the time.

  26. ST says:

    Mitch, GWR has a right to leave this conversation. He’s done quite well in this thread, and shown admirable restraint, all things considered. I don’t blame him for leaving it, either. It’s like beating your head against the wall. At a certain point, you have to save yourself.

  27. Mitch says:

    As a newcomer to this venue, it would appear to me that you as a group are not so interested in a discussion of the issues, as you are in establishing your personal observations as being incontrovertible fact. Not much wiggle room in that. Not much room for conversation, either. In case you haven’t noticed folks, we’re all in the same boat and even a slow witted person can see that it’s sinking. So you want to make fine distinctions on how fast it’s sinking and why. Please forgive me that I don’t have anything to contribute to that conversation.

  28. Great White Rat says:

    Mitch, we do discuss the issues and exchange ideas here. You must have noticed this on other threads. The regulars here are a very good group with a lot of sound perspectives. It’s very common to see us quote each other’s comments and respond to them.

    Zachriel is a liberal who, among other things, insists on redefining terms to mean exactly what he wants them to be. You weren’t here for a thread several months ago when he insisted that today’s leftists must be champions of individual liberty and limited government because that was what the “left” stood for at the time of the French Revolution, of all things, and therefore it must be the same today, no matter what today’s leftists actually do. On the other hand, he thinks laws and documents with very specific intent and clearly defined wording – the Constitution, for example – can be reinterpreted and twisted to suit his transient political ends. It’s a classic Alinskyite tactic.

    One can make a good faith attempt to have an honest discussion with such a person, but when he shows no interest in having one – such as refusing on multiple occasions to answer a simple question and changing the subject – I see no point in wasting my time. I’m not going to fall for the Alinskyite bait. As ST says quite correctly, it’s like beating your head against the wall.

  29. Zachriel says:

    Great White Rat: You weren’t here for a thread several months ago when he insisted that today’s leftists must be champions of individual liberty and limited government because that was what the “left” stood for at the time of the French Revolution, of all things, and therefore it must be the same today, no matter what today’s leftists actually do.

    You are evidently still confused. The Left is conventionally defined as advocacy for greater egalitarianism. In its extreme, such as Communism or Harrison Bergeron’s America, it definitely does not include individual liberties or limited government.

    Great White Rat: ,,, such as refusing on multiple occasions to answer a simple question …

    We did answer your question, though you did not answer ours. The mandate was justified under the Commerce Clause. Now, is Social Security constitutional?