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02 April 2012


Account Deleted

'Specifically, Obama argues that the Supreme Court deciding in such a way would be an “unprecedented” example of “judicial activism” undertaken by “unelected” judges.'
The Supremes aren't elected? Is this a news flash for the Pres? I'm starting to worry about what kind of nonsense this man will get up to if it looks like he won't be re-elected. Didn't he nominate 2 of them to the court? Does he think that SCOTUS is just a rubber stamp?

Russ Steele

Butt Stupid is way too kind!

Strong majority? It passed 219-212 after months of backroom deals, bribery, arm-twisting, and lies. That’s a strong majority?

Unprecedented? How about the Flag Protection Act of 1989? It passed the House 380-38 and the Senate 91-9. Now that’s a strong majority. And then the Supreme Court went ahead and precedented all over it.

Want another precedent? How about McCain-Feingold? That passed 240-189 and then got struck down by a Supreme Court that could read the First Amendment.

Wcvarones writes at the Polipundit:

I’m no Constitutional law professor, and I came up with those two precedents off the top of my head.  What the hell are they teaching at Harvard Law?

Being willfully ignorant of historical precedent is bad enough. But Obama’s statement indicates he doesn’t even understand the basic concept of having a Constitution.  

His argument would mean that the Supreme Court and the Constitution are completely irrelevant and Congress can always do whatever it wants.

If you went to Chicago and Obama was your professor for Constitutional law, you might want to take a refresher course.

billy T

This is getting too easy. I could have told ya last week that Obama would start slamming the Court. Lets see. If Congress passes a law and the Supreme Court overturns it, then that is exactly how our system of government works. You would think the former editor of the Harvard Law Review would get that. No wonder he failed to write one single article for the paper. Probably would have been an embarrassment, but not even close to the embarrassment he was today before the entire world. But, it fits the pattern. 2 and a half years of blaming Bush, then declaring he does not need Congress to get his agenda through by Executive Orders and czars. Now, its all the Court's fault. I think this whole thing is indeed Bush's fault....Jeb Bush that is. Or Barbara Bush's fault. She is a 1%er no doubt. First female to be on the face of the one dollar bill, the greedy selfish thing. Barbara is the brains behind the Great Right Wing conspiracy. I am certain that Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Van Jones would all agree that we don't need no stinkin' courts or Congress. If it is good enough for Castro or Stalin, then it is good enough for us.

Todd Juvinall

I remember Marbury v Madison 1803) from the eighth grade (1964). If I recall it was the case the SCOTUS said they were the final arbiter of "constitutionality". Now, Obama and the liberals have for many years made law that we on the right could never find a basis for in the document. Roe v Wade among others. We called them activist courts for making things up from whole cloth. To call judges who say something must be within the enumerated document is totally absurd!

I can't recall who said the only thing the Court has is its credibility. It has no army or police force and it cannot tax. All it has is the people's confidence they do the right thing. The left has trashed the court system over the years ike making Kansas City pass taxes for schools and Boston for busing. There are many tragic disruptions these liberals in the court system have wrought. Now we finally have judges saying to us WAIT! We will toss it if it not allowed and the liberals including the BOSS O have gone apoplectic.

Paul Emery

There is no doubt that the SCOTUS decision will be a winwin for Obama either way. If they throw it out Obama will have a replacement play that he will challenge the republicans to match. The Repubs have no plan as evidenced by the eight years that Bush and his team produced no meaningful reform despite escalating costs more people becoming uninsured. Sure, tort reform, insurance accross state lines etc. Sweeping ideas with no details. The Dems will pin the Repubs to the mat on this one and Womans health for sure.

This recent CNN/ORC Poll. March 24-25 2012 http://www.pollingreport.com/health.htm. shows clearly that a strong majority either support Obama's plan or favor a more liberal plan.

43 support 37 oppose 10 not liberal enough 10 undecided

So Obama wins either way. That's why he's branding the court as intervening with the will of the people.

Todd Juvinall

PaulE is so far off target Sadaam would have wanted him in the bombers.

During the Bush years the wascally republicans could not gain the 60th vote on so many issues they died in the Reid filibusters. No PaulE, you can't make it up. Now we have seen that Reid fellow keep a national budget from being voted on for over three years now I think. No PaulE, Obama will lose if the SCOTUS defeats his Obamacare. He is so sure he will be embarrassed he has to attack the SCOTUS just as he did in the SOTU when he chastised them for Citizens. He will lose the election because Americans see through him now. Unfortunately you are still under his spell after voting for him.

Michael Kesti

"So Obama wins either way."

I would rather the American people become the winners by loosening the ever-tightening shackles of unconstitutionally expanding government.

Paul Emery

I'm only the sportscaster here Todd. The numbers are what they are. You seem to deny reality. Todd, what Repub health care reform bill did the Dems kill? The answer is there was none. Show me the Repub bill to open access across state lines? The was none. Show me the tort reform the Dems filibusted? There was none.

George Rebane

PaulE 937am - From your two comments you seem to strongly agree with the assessment that Obama has properly played to the ignorance of his core constituency, which was the only point of this post.

Ryan Mount

Judicial activism! I knew someone was going to raise this specter. It just proves to me that both the left and the right in this country probably only like the Constitution when it serves their agenda. Same-sex marriage, forcing people to purchase insurance? That pesky Constitution constantly tripping you up? Ah shucks, sorry about that, but thanks for playing though.

billy T

Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one. ~ Henry David Thoreau, although widely attributed to Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson did say "Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions." Jackson did have his complaints about the Supreme Court as well, but realized that he had limits laid out in the Constitution that he loved more than his next breath. His humility was also refreshing, it not foreign to the current guest at 1600 Pennsylvania: "Do they think that I am such a damned fool as to think myself fit for President of the United States? No, sir; I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way, but I am not fit to be President."

Paul Emery

No George. The Republicans have failed to appeal to the majority opinion that national universal health care is an essential component in a modern country. You're saying that the majority are ignorant. That's your privilege for sure and is an opinion that cannot be countered because it is just that, an opinion. As an observer of the proceedings I see it as a win for Obama because the Repubs have no plan that will gather majority support.

George Rebane

PaulE 1021pm - It is clear Paul that you completely misunderstand (misconstrue?) the topic of my post. My post clearly makes the point that it is Obama who knows his core constituency is composed of people ignorant of, among other things, the workings of the three branches of the federal government.

You seem to be fixated on an entirely different issue, which is the tactical effectiveness of Obama's misogynous statement about SCOTUS' deliberation on Obamacare. That effectiveness I do support, as is evident from my last sentence.

Paul Emery


Are you saying that you have the only righteous interpretation of the Constitution and that other views are based on ignorance ? Are you a believer in the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act for example.

Douglas Keachie

Paul, you've banged the nail into the head of the barrel, which George should recognize, even though I've forgotten the exact German phrase. Yes, the Repubby firmly believe that they own the truth, and that anyone else's version of the Truth about The Constitution, is false, unpatriotic, and un-American. Thus it has been since at least the days of McCarthy.

It's kinda ironic that it will take a black man to led the USA out of the dark ages of medical care....

If farm subsidies can be used to incentivize the production of crops, why is it not possible to subsidize high school and college students going into life science related fields ( for better than average performance), to improve the quality of health care, by reducing the stress on the doctors, nurses, physician's assistants, etc., by increasing their numbers?

George Rebane

PaulE 603am - "only righteous interpretation"??!! where on earth does this come from?? The topic here is the veracity of the President's remarks yesterday, and their obviously intended audience. Half the country was responding to Obama's remarkable (outrageous?) interpretation of how the three branches of government work. Even the liberal commentators were embarrassed to dwell on that interpretation, and immediately (as if in lockstep) reverted to argue the effectiveness of the message.

And it is the audience, on whom such a message would play well, that is the (hard to grasp?) topic of this post. This audience, I claim, was correctly denigrated, but denigrated nevertheless by Obama.

I'm not sure where you get such ideas, that in this nation of millions, I claim to be the "only" qualified interpreter of the Constitution. (I think you meant to use 'right' or 'correct' instead of "righteous", since their meanings are vastly different.)

Throwing in there the implication that all "other views are based on ignorance" is a beauty. Again no claim of that, but it does serve as a diversion. However, if Obama actually believes the tripe he spewed yesterday, then indeed I and millions of other Americans do claim he is utterly ignorant of how the Constitution prescribes the workings of the three branches of our federal government. Moreover, in that case, I further assert that he was a Section 8 faculty hire at Harvard.

But Paul, I believe that you know all this, and at worst what we see here in our dialogue is confirmation of the research I cited in 'Yes Virginia, ...'.

David King

PaulE 603am
"Are you saying that you have the only righteous interpretation of the Constitution..."

I think George's interpretation is totally righteous dude...ahhh...I mean Paul.

That was the most surreal news conference I have ever witnessed.

I sure the SCOTUS will be duly influenced by the president’s Jedi, “unelected, activist court”, mind trick.

Ryan Mount

David gets the star on his wrist for the hilarity of the day:

"I sure the SCOTUS will be duly influenced by the president’s Jedi, 'unelected, activist court', mind trick."

These are not the Constitutional Articles you're looking for.

BTW, I uncovered this gem while looking into the 1857 Dred Scott decision. Dissenting (that means he was one of only two Justices that objected to this abominable SCOTUS decision) Justice Curtis made this observation:

"...when a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws, is abandoned , and the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution; we are under the government of individual men, who for the time being have power to declare what the Constitution is, according to their own views of what it ought to be."

Now, before anyone gets their panties in a bundle with a "hey jackass, this ain't about slavery; this is about health insurance" yip-yap, I want to point out Justice Curtis last point about the ephemeral whims (and unintended consequences) of bending the law to fashion. It's a Faustian deal, friends, and I believe now more than ever that the PPACA supporters don't seem to understand how their arguable, well-intentioned central planning is really a train wreck for this Republic. You (you know who you are) should have passed a single payer plan. But instead, we got this monster.

The road to hell is paved with..."just trust us, we know what's better for you."

Paul Emery

I believe there are many "righteous" interpretations available from people with scholarship and education. However the court rules it will be close and controversial meaning both sides had sound arguments. Your charactization of Obama's concern that the court was overreaching it's authority was that it was a "gross error made either gratuitously (as posited here), or from a fundamental ignorance not befitting our chief executive. " In reality it is a view held by many qualified observers of the court and it's history. Cherry picking opposition to Obama's views implies that yours is the only valid opinion which lead me to my conclusion that you believe all those that agree with the Presidents opinion are ignorant.

Keep in mind this is a court that this week ruled that if you are arrested for parking tickets the police have the constitutional right to explore your inner parts as part of duties.

"The US Supreme Court ruled today that police are entirely within their rights to strip search any person arrested for any offense, no matter how minor, even if authorities have no reason to suspect that the arrested party is carrying any illegal substances or weapons on them. So, if you're ever arrested for anything ever, prepare to spread 'em and cough."

This is a court that seems to have no bounds in it's reach to support big government and police power.


George Rebane

PaulE 1246pm - I think that the interpretations and conclusions about Obama's remarks depend on a much simpler frame, and are nowhere near as complex as you make out. As one example from several, Obama maintains that Obamacare was passed by a large congressional majority, which then somehow makes it sacrosanct from any objections SCOTUS may have. Both propositions are patently false.

Paul Emery


Wow! What a revelation. An elected offical puts a dubious slant on news to give it a favorable edge. Is this something that is a particular liberal problem or, gosh, do conservatives use the same blab when necessary. The Bush admin hired PR hacks to print favorable stories about how things were going in Iraq to sway public opinion. Yes, "mission completed" etc....... Are you willing to give conservative politics the same scrutiny you give Obama? If so, we can have a meaningful conversation


I don't believe that Obama spent a day in a constitutional law class room. I would expect an eighth grade civics class to understand how unconstitutional it is for the US Government to force a product/service on people.

How the government has managed to get in our bedrooms, Dr. offices, refrigerators, etc is baffling.

Account Deleted

"An elected official puts a dubious slant on news to give it a favorable edge"
What 'news' are you talking about Paul? The SCOTUS hasn't decided the case yet.
Obama is blathering nonsense here. His definition of a activist court is patently false and he knows it. And you do as well. Obama is stooping to new lows here as he completely miss directs Americans as to what is going on. The idea that a citizen of the US is by default guilty until they buy something from a private company is so out of sync with the whole idea of the Constitution it isn't funny. Justice Ginsburg claimed to not understand the difference between SS and private health insurance. I do think the poor woman is senile. Or a complete liar - your choice. Obama boxed himself in here by swearing up one side and down another he wouldn't raise our taxes by "one dime". So his health care boondoggle can't be financed by taxes (even though it is) and he has his quislings and lackeys out in public looking the fools by having to talk out of both sides of their mouths. Remember the scene from Chinatown when Jake is trying to get the truth out of Evelyn? Every time he slapped her, she came up with different answer. I think we need Jake to start slapping some sense out of some govt officials.

billy T

The Supreme Court has always been the place where citizens go to have their grievances with statutes resolved and the legality and constitutionally of such statutes addressed. Even has heard squabbles over estates by surviving family members and the deceased's latest wife. The Supreme Court is the last and final say addressing and resolving such grievances, duh. This is so simple and mindless that it is not even worth discussing. Like two plus two equals four, duh. What is disturbing is that the President of the United States of America is pushing for the Supreme Court to be subservient to the will of Congress. I don't expect Obama to be a scientist, a mathematician, and architect nor a successful businessperson. I do expect Obama to know his craft, which was teaching Constitutional Law. In the very least he should know enough about Constitutional Law to exceed 6th grade civics. Suppose I am asking too much. 26 State Attorney Generals (28 if you count the ones who filed independently)... have filed suit with the Supreme Court to address the constitutionality of a matter. That is more than half The Union, duh again. We are called the United States. The States are divided on this statute. I can understand any President wanting the Supreme Court to play nice and go with the flow. However, that is not the justice's job. They don't work for Obama. I think Obama's words may be just another political bashing and a big whine fest. Guess they do things differently in Chicago. No one can fathom Obama actually believed what he said. It would be one big black eye on Harvard Law in particular and the entire Ivy League in general if he actually believed what he said. No one is that stupid to believe a Constitutional Law professor believes the 3rd branch of government is a water boy for the Executive Branch. Its just one big April Fools joke.

David King

Maybe a little O.T.

Does anyone think Felipe Calderón had no knowledge of the Fast and Furious Mexican gun running scheme that resulted in, and continues to result in, the deaths of Mexican citizens?

Dixon Cruickshank

It was the dumbest thing a president has said in a long time - UNLESS your talking to people who know less than that. I'm surprised the Canadian didn't fall down laughing. I bet he even knows our 3 arms of Gov. and their purpose.

Here is the point though gentlemen - he's playing the victum card to the base - plain and simple. He knows its probably going down in flames and he can say to the base it was those bad guys that did it, and I can't believe they would do that - it was sooo good.
Most missed the point - just say'in

Douglas Keachie

The government has had no problems forcing a draft on people, and we are forever thanking them "for their service." I think the whole notion is nitpicking, as the government forces all kinds of things on people all the time. "Nothing to see here, these are not the droids you want."

Account Deleted

"as the government forces all kinds of things on people all the time" - when have the conservatives cheered that attitude? Douglas now thinks it's nit picking that the US govt by default considers all citizens to be criminals unless we buy ourselves free. Doug - hold out your hands and feel the serenity of peace wash over you as we slip on these manacles.

Russ Steele

Here is some insight to Obama's understanding of the Constitution, which according to this account was a bit limited.

My Professor, My Judge, and the Doctrine of Judicial Review by Thom Lambert on April 3, 2012

Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun.  Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise.  Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5.  You’d be a little embarrassed, right?  You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.

Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”  Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense (the deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act got through the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed to survive a filibuster and passed 219-212 in the House), saying that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that violates the Constitution is like saying that Kansas City is the capital of Kansas.  Thus, a Wall Street Journal editorial queried this about the President who “famously taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago”:  “[D]id he somehow not teach the historic case of Marbury v. Madison?”

I actually know the answer to that question.  It’s no (well, technically yes…he didn’t).  President Obama taught “Con Law III” at Chicago.  Judicial review, federalism, the separation of powers — the old “structural Constitution” stuff — is covered in “Con Law I” (or at least it was when I was a student).  Con Law III covers the Fourteenth Amendment.  (Oddly enough, Prof. Obama didn’t seem too concerned about “an unelected group of people” overturning a “duly constituted and passed law” when we were discussing all those famous Fourteenth Amendment cases – Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, Romer v. Evans, etc.)  Of course, even a Con Law professor focusing on the Bill of Rights should know that the principle of judicial review has been alive and well since 1803, so I still feel like my educational credentials have been tarnished a bit by the President’s “unprecedented, extraordinary” remarks.

What does our local left have to say about his bit of reality?

Ryan Mount

It is my understanding Obama was an adjunct "senior" lecturer (see link below). The University of Chicago chooses to classify such individuals as professors even though they have no tenure track, and even if they are part time and can carry as little as a single course each semester.


That "senior" branding/adjective is apparently VERY important for the University of Chicago. For me? Not so much.

Seems like an important distinction to me for folks who are attempting to make a credibility (ethos) argument for Obama's Constitutional qualifications. In fact, most of the arguments for his capacity seem to be emotional/motivational/self-interest (pathos) ones. (Seems appropriate here to invoke classical rhetoric when discussing Constitutional law)

Douglas Keachie

Using the same source as Ryan above, I notice he cherry picked to make his case. I suppose he considers the Law School (UC) that hired and could have fired Obama, to be emotional/motivational/self-interest (pathos) in motivations, when they wrote: "UC Law School statement: The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as "Senior Lecturer." From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined."

George Rebane

Is there no one on the Left willing to address the proposition made here that Obama denigrated his base constituency with his SCOTUS vs Obamacare speech? The alternative,that our President and former constitutional law Senior Lecturer (or whatever) is grossly ignorant about the American form of governance, should be a smellier albatross to hang around his neck.

Douglas Keachie

If in 2016, George Rebane and Obama both applied for the same Constitutional Law professor position, who do you think would get the job?

Ryan Mount

I have no idea why modern American Progressive/Liberals/whatever defend Obama. I know why Conservatives don't like him, but it's baffling to me why the Left likes him given he's pretty much like Bush III in most respects minus a few issues here and there like energy policy. My optimistic suspicion is that people support him because they believe he "sucks less" than the others.

Anyhow, I suppose if we just say "Obama was a Constitutional Law Professor" enough times, people start to believe it. Just like folks pronounced over and over again that Saddam was instrumental in 9/11, the Snooki has talent or the PPACA was voted with bi-partisan approval.

Anyhow Doug, he was not a Professor. That's all I'm saying. Nothing more than that. "Senior" lecturers are regarded as "Professors" at the University of Chicago Law School. I already acknowledged that above. However I also think it's quite disingenuous to maintain he's a professor when he really wasn't/isn't even if he could or wanted to be. He could be a professor if he wanted to be, ergo he is one. How does that make any sense?

So it's clearly a marketing term, or has been pointed out by numerous critics, it's the "novelization of the Presidency." But they can do whatever they want and apparently they already have. People like a good, warm and fuzzy story.

The real issue here, and this is germane to the above, is his profound lack of understanding of how our government works as demonstrated by his embarrassing comments. And I'm implying that a bona fide "Constitutional Law Professor" would understand the most basic history of the court. And I mean 101 basic, Doug, like he must have been nodding off through the lectures of Marbury v. Madison or A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. U.S. or Lochner v. New York or other seminal jurisdiction/commerce clause cases. Mr. President, there is nothing unprecedented about what the court is doing. It's the exact opposite.

But he's already backing off those statements already realizing how foolish he looks, probably because one of his handlers said, "um, boss. That's not right. But don't worry, no one is paying attention nor do they read. Heck, they put up with George W. Bush for 8 years." The electorate is too busy reading Snooki's latest memoir and waiting for their marching orders from Dr. Oz.

Paul Emery

It's perfectly reasonable for Obama to be optomistic about the pending court dcision and to support the opinions regarding the case. What else can he be expected to do?

Part of the reason Obama is experiencing rising support is that the Repubs offer no reasonable alternative.

The Dems are licking their chops waiting for Romney while the conservatives are saying to themselves "is this the best the Republican Party can do?"

It should be an easy win for the Dems and as Romney tries to pull towards the middle as candidates always do. He'll have a hard time keeping what thin conservative support he has. The Repubs are as predictable as the sunrise when it comes to picking a candidate. The establishment always wins out that's why the whole primary system is just a joke.

I'm glad I'm going third party on this one.

Todd Juvinall

Obama is toast. It is just not November yet and no one except brainwashed libs think otherwise. I noticed the polling link from PaulE did not have Rasmussen. Try this one from RCP, they include them all

Regarding the election. The Republicans will coalesce around our candidate because the election for us is the defeat of Obama and not whether Romney is conservative enough. I am surprised in the naivete of PE in regards to that. Obama is also doing his best to intimidate the courts and to most that means he has a thin argument to support the Constitutionality of Obamacare. However, judges are unpredictable so most of us have withheld our final final opinion on that they will decide.

America is such a great country that even a incompetent President like Obama cannot totally wreck it. We will right the ship and my guess is a humungous number of democrats will also come over to the right to boot the guy.

Douglas Keachie

"Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined."

So obviously they would have loved to have him on board as a full professor. Ryan, he made not of held the office of "full professor" but it certainly was not due to him being "not qualified" which is what you are implying. Give it up, it's pretty closer to playing "birther." Those idiots are now questioning Romney in the California elections.

Ryan Mount

If he, the Constitutional Law Professor no less, can't remember *the* most important SCOTUS jurisdiction case (Marbury v. Madison, 1803) in the history of the Republic, is like a 4th grader not knowing who the first President was.

So either he's lying or unqualified. Which is it? However, I want to point out that this does not disqualify him from being President.

I'm not sure why people are defending him on this point. It's one thing to lobby for one's agenda. I think that's Paul's point. I'm OK with that. However it's another thing to be so obviously (maybe it was deliberate?) ignorant of the law and use the bully pulpit playing the role of President on TV. And why that's not alarming to some? I have no idea.

Perhaps he needs a refresher course? Perhaps a good chunk of the electorate needs one on both the Left and Right. Here's how I learned about it:


George Rebane

PaulE 1046am - "It's perfectly reasonable for Obama to be optomistic about the pending court dcision and to support the opinions regarding the case. What else can he be expected to do?"

Perfect! Why should we worry about our President's constitutional knowledge base? That was just his way of being "optimistic about the pending court decision and to support the opinions regarding the case." That's all.

OK, I'm willing to accept that as the best available apologetic for what people with at least some knowledge of the Constitution called "Mr Obama's astonishing remarks."

Paul Emery


RCP average Obama 48-Romney 44 Rasmussen in not typical in this one, There has been a general increase of support for Obama in the past few months. Compare that to Bush who sank to the mid 20's for a real perspective. Actually Obama's job ratings are fairly typical at this stage pretty much the same as Bush in 04 and he got reelected.

Bush polls 04

Douglas Keachie

Your interpretation of the situation is that he is ignorant of Marbury v. Madison, and that appears to be based on not inquiring of him about it, but rather your estimate of how he should behave and what he should say. Who appointed you Chief Justice? If and when they let the law stand, what will you say then?

Ryan Mount

A friend of mine pointed out this handy rhetorical question to me:

"If James Madison really thought that the Commerce Clause would give Congress the power to do anything it wanted, then why did he bother with enumerated powers?"

Dare to answer that? I'd be interested in a response.

But I'm guessing the answer might be this: "that doesn't really matter anymore. That document was written eons ago for another time. It's a living document. However we'll take literally interpretations of the 14th Amendment for same-sex marriage, and the 1st Amendment for our right to hold up protest signs in front of Safeway in Grass Valley."

Ryan Mount

> but rather your estimate of how he should behave and what he should say

Is it reasonable for a President to have a basic understanding of the Constitution, our form of government and case law, especially if one is a "Constitutional Law Professor? I'm not saying he's dumb or a bad person. I'm saying he's probably not representing himself accurately and he doesn't seem to have a gasp on even the most basic Constitutional Law. Four Years ago you would have heard me saying the same thing about "W". And before that, Clinton. Bush 1? Meh. Not too bad. And then we had the shredding of Constitution by Reagan with all of his murderous Central America non-sense. Carter? Meh. Nixon? (I would actually like a Republican like him relative to the current field [gasp]). Johnson? War Criminal. I kinda would like to exhume Eisenhower's body and run him against Obama.

>Who appointed you Chief Justice?

I'm not sure how that's relevant to the discussion other than a passive-aggressive personal attack. But I have teenagers, so I'm used to it. I am obviously not Chief Justice Roberts, for the record, although I am indeed more handsome and funnier than he is.

> If and when they let the law stand, what will you say then?

It wouldn't immediately impact me as I have good insurance that I pay mightily for. However over the long term, this forcing citizens into commerce relationships (that's key here and what makes it different that conscription, taxes or many other things) with private companies is deeply disturbing and would be a very dangerous precedent in my (and others) opinion(s).


Obama's latest is as Nixonian as anything I've heard from a sitting president since, well, since Nixon.

Bush's lousy numbers at the same time had more to do with a hostile press, something the current President does not contend with. His bounce probably has more to do with the current crop of Republican hopefuls who, led by Romney's carpetbombing of his opponents, have completely abandoned Reagan's 11th commandment.

Todd Juvinall

PaulE, Greg has it right about Bush's numbers. If Obama has the same daily thrashing I think he would be in the high teens. The gas price is the best indicator of how the press shelters Obama. Bush was piled on daily. So, the Bush numbers are not a good measure since he was not running anyway.

David King

Greg said:

"Obama's latest is as Nixonian as anything I've heard from a sitting president since, well, since Nixon."

You mean like this? :)


billy T

This reminds me of the daily press secretary spins that came out of the Clinton Administration. "Yes, I know he said that, but this is what he meant." OK, he meant that the Supreme Court has deferred to Congress on major economic matters involving the Commerce Clause in times past, not that it is unprecedented that the unelected Supreme Court has overturned all or parts of bills pasted by Congress 159 times. Ok, that is perfectly clear. There are two problems here. First, it appears that Obama is on the defensive and looks like he is trying to bully the Supreme Court to get his way, The Chicago Machine Way. Second, I blame his handlers. They know Obama will insert foot in mouth without his teleprompter. They should have received the questions in advance and put the answers on the prompter. Otherwise he does all those uhs and pauses and gets lost in the middle of a sentence. Whoever allowed our poor President to open his mouth without 3 prompters should be fired. One of the biggest crises behind the scenes was when a teleprompter broke and he had to ad lib a couple of years ago. Since then, Obama hauls around 11 teleprompters everywhere he goes, including to luncheons in Europe, Mexico and Asia. Whatever, some heads will roll by letting Obama off the leash. It has been long apparent that our Prez does not care for divided government or any disagreement over his demon of the month. Plus he has just sent a message to every parent and child in the USA that the Supreme is illegitimate. Its his way or the highway. God help our nation.

Douglas Keachie

Every person with a pre-existing condition is an automatic Obama voter. The only reason they didn't just nationalize the insurance is because the Republicans would have none of it. Current Obamacare is a compromise.

Michael Kesti

Theorem: "Every person with a pre-existing condition is an automatic Obama voter."

Corollary: Every person with a pre-existing condition seeks subvention rather than insurance.

The only reason they didn't just nationalize the subsidy that it is is because the Republicans would have none of it. Current Obamacare is a ruse.

Douglas Keachie

Aren't you lucky you woke up on the non defective side of the gene pool. Or do you attribute that to hard work and perseverance?

Michael Kesti

Would I be correct, Douglas, regardless of my fortune, labor, and dedication, to conclude that you agree that "coverage" of pre-existing conditions is subsidy rather than insurance?

George Rebane

MichaelK's 734am anticipates a more encompassing, yet not comprehensive, definition of 'subsidy' - all transfer payments with monies collected at the point of a gun are subsidies to recipients who have not earned them.

Douglas Keachie

Whatever you call it,it puts a floor under which no citizen shall be allowed to fall. Maybe your version of modern civilization allows for the poor, piss poor proto-plasmed, to die in the gutters, with nary a care, by the rest of the citizens. My version doesn't. It amazes me that the right just doesn't come right out in favor of capital punishment for all lifers. That would save money taken at the point of a gun too.

Paul Emery

Gee Todd and Greg

Don't you think that the fact that Bush took a budget surplus and doubled our national debt, left office after presiding over the worst economic crisis since the depression, and left us fighting unconstitutional and unfunded wars {"mission accomplished") might have something to do with his dismal approval ratings or did the press make up those stories?

billy T

My, my. Going from Obama's own words to capital punishment and Bush's dismal approval ratings. I do agree with Douglas that every non insured person may be an automatic Obama voter. I might be wrong, but last I looked about 85% of Americans have health insurance. So, let the 15% vote as they choose. I got upset when Bush did that budget busting prescription drug thing. It was horrible. The news was filled with stories every single night of people who could not afford their medication and people flocking over our Northern Border to buy cheaper meds. I suppose they paid cash. I remember one obese couple (the male was a UAW member) saying his meds cost him 2 grand a month. So, Bush played nice and gave us this despicable prescription drug coverage without paying for it. It is not Social Security that is the threat. It is Medicare and Medicaid with their soaring costs that are bankrupting our states. Shame on Bush. At least Obama is cutting more money from Medicare than the Republicans ever proposed. I hope Obama cuts more.

Todd Juvinall

PaulE must be lost in a time warp. Bush has been gone for three years and Paul's vote for Obama is being defensed once again. POaulE, you need to get a 12 step program to rid yourself of historic anger. Then when you do that, we can discuss the current President who you cast your vote for. Let us discuss Obama unless you can't you made a mistake.

Ryan Mount

My head hurts.

I'm no apologist for Bush II, but he did take a budget surplus of a few billion and he spent it. Actually Congress spent it. The Federal debt at the time of Clinton's departure was a whooping 4 trillion (public) and 7 trillion (gross). Lots of pretty and accurate charts here:


And I'm no fan of Bush II, but Clinton's Neo-Liberal policies (think: repeal of Glass-Steagall, the "liberalization" of the tax code to enable massive outsourcing, etc.), which Bush happily continued are at the root of the crash of 2008. Bush II simply stepped on the accelerator.

> At least Obama is cutting more money from Medicare than the Republicans ever proposed.

Ironic. Funny. True. How about this gem:

The mandate penalty/tax is only has to be paid if you pay income tax. (And even then cannot be enforced by typical liens or criminal actions, so it is pretty toothless). Given that 40% to 50% of families pay no income tax, how many uninsured would be subject to the penalty? It seems like it must be low.

billy T

More judges are running amok and are ruining the our nation. Whats a far lefter to do to fight this onslaught? http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=AP&date=20120405&id=14963757

Douglas Keachie

"The Federal debt at the time of Clinton's departure was a whooping 4 trillion (public) and 7 trillion (gross). "

And what was it at the time of Bush's departure? More or less?

Paul Emery

Gosh guys, didn't Clinton (and Gindrich) actually balance the budget and leave Bush with a surplus? Bush died in the polls simply because he was a lousy President. Pretty easy to understand except from the most diehard Republican apologists.

billy T

Good news. The Attorney General of the United States says unelected judges can strike down laws. Good. For a moment there I thought we were redrafting the Constitution. Why this was even a matter of public discourse is beyond me. Anybody know how this topic was even raised in 2012? Campaign season brings out some real foolishness.

George Rebane

billyT 1049am - "Anybody know how this topic ..." Please read '3apr12 update #2' in the original post.

Douglas Keachie

Obama just had the Justice Dept explain just what he meant on Monday. The justice dept declared the law constitutional, among other things.

billy T

Dr. Rebane, yes I read all the updates. My trailing question had only one possible answer: The catalysis for the entire topic lies solely and squarely on the President's own words uttered just days ago. Guess it was what some would call a rhetorical question. I find it humorous that some deflect the conversation away from Obama's words and onto various matters great and small. Exactly as you have pointed out time and time again. It is so predictable. In football they say a good offense is the best defense. Its Bush's fault! Or, lets dissect the nuances of what is a law professor and continue to avoid the topic. Defending the indefensible is a daunting task for our die hard lefty friends. Dilution is their solution. I am guilty of deflection as well at times. For instance, I would guarantee that if President Palin uttered the exact same words, she would be immediately decried as being ignorant and not fit to be President. But I digress.

Paul Emery

Bush came into this conversation when Todd falsely observed that Obama is in some kind of free fall downward spiral in popularity polls. I had to set him straight with some recent historical perspective to illustrate the error of his assumption that:

"Obama is toast. It is just not November yet and no one except brainwashed libs think otherwise. I noticed the polling link from PaulE did not have Rasmussen."

I was just setting the record straight. The biggest thing Obama has going for him is the fear that the Repubs will gift us another Bush.

Ryan Mount

>The catalysis for the entire topic lies solely and squarely on the President's own words

Yes. But Obama crowd doesn't seem to have any intention of actually addressing those. Maybe Bush made him do it? Maybe they like being lied to? Maybe they're dating!? Does this Constitution make my ass look big? No dear, it doesn't.

>And what was it at the time of Bush's departure? More or less?

I'm not sure why you guys are so obsessed with Bush II, or as I like to call him, Obama. I'm guessing you *really* didn't like W. Bush. But nonetheless...

Federal Debt when leaving office/percentage change from previous administration.)

Bush I: About 4 trillion (+49%)
Clinton: About 6 trillion (+23%)
Bush II: About 10 trillion (+75%)
Obama (so far): About 15 trillion (+38%)
Alec Baldwin,actor: About 22 trillion (+100%, projected)

Debt(public gross) as a percentage of GDP (this is what really matters):

Bush I(1992): 66%
Clinton (2000): 60%-ish
Bush II (2008): 70%-ish
Obama (so far): 100%-ish
Alec Baldwin (2022): 225% (again, projected and made up)

So I conclude that Clinton was 10% more tasty than Bush 2. The 2022 Baldwin administration will oversee a 22 Trillion dollar debt, but will undoubtedly have the best hair of any Presidency.

Todd Juvinall

Golly PaulE, I thought you said Obama was headed north and gave us a link to prove it. Then I noticed your link did not have Rasmussen in the mix which put damper on your view. Here is the latest Rasmussen head to head, Obama/Romney. Romney up 2 points over the fellow you voted for. Sure, the polls can be anywhere depending on the bias eh? One week Obama was losing women big on the contraceptive fiasco he made up, the next week Obama was up by eight. Yep, sure they were.

billy T

Bad dog, Todd. Its all Todd's fault. But I digress. Doug, yes the Justice Department says the law is Constitutional. What else do you expect them to say? You really believe that the Administration would come out and say they are supporting a bill they believe unconstitutional? Nancy says she believes the law is constitutional. Bidden says its constitutional. That's all I need. Why have courts when such wise and knowledgeable politicians say its constitutional? Trust me they claim. Of course 28 State Attorney Generals have a different opinion. Don't get me wrong. After being castrated on former blogs after Obamacare passed, I was told how stupid I am for not knowing all about the Commerce Clause (The Sacred Cow of the Left) so they must be correct and I am wrong. Who am I to challenge the wisdom of lefty blogs? I don't even have a diploma from an institution of higher learning proving I am a full wit, instead of a half wit. I don't think the individual mandate will get overturned. I hope it does goes down in flames solely for further implications of an unrestricted Federal Government. Seems ironic that an ignorant racist homophobic air polluting bigoted red neck Bubba like me would look to the Supreme Court to restrict Big Brother. Its like turning the world on its head.

Paul Emery

I guess you didn't open the link I included. Rasmussen is right there Here it is again. No problem. We all make mistakes

Michael Anderson

Last week I focused on the efficacy of PPACA instead of its constitutionality. In fact, I indicated that I didn't really care if it was constitutional or not.

Since then, I have read a number of compelling articles that make a good case for the constitutionality of PPACA. It appears that regular commentators like Ryan Mount can find just as many con SCOTUS decisions as writers like James B. Stewart of the New York Times can provide that are pro.

A living, breathing document indeed.

"It seems curious that opponents of the health care law are now looking to the commerce clause, as opposed to the Bill of Rights, as a bulwark of individual liberty. To the extent it ever was, that battle was lost generations ago. To Depression-era farmers, it was no doubt an affront to individual freedom that the federal government had the power to tell them what crops not to plant."

Douglas Keachie

How many of the 28 state attorney generals were Dems?

Todd Juvinall

PaulE, here is what is at the link on polling you supplied before on which Rasmussen was not a part of.


Oops! Looks like the page you're looking for was moved or never existed.
Make sure you typed the correct URL or followed a valid link.

So, it appears you have been hoaxed.

Douglas Keachie

Nope Todd, looks like your browser is not updated, as I just loaded the site with no trouble.

Douglas Keachie

Is there a democrat in the house?

STATE OF NEBRASKA, by and through
STATE OF TEXAS, by and through
STATE OF FLORIDA, by and through
STATE OF OHIO, by and through
STATE OF OKLAHOMA, by and through

etc, etc, etc.

Douglas Keachie

I think not, but you can check them all out here:


Ryan Mount

I would support a single payer health care plan, even though my and subsequent generations would have to pay out the rear for it. We already have this with the socialized Medicare/Medicaid programs. This doesn't mean that I, and others, don't have better ideas on what to do with this healthcare mess, it's just that this would be the most pragmatic route at this time.

I am under no illusions that such a single payer plan will bifurcate the health care system into two systems: 1) a mediocre one for those who attend to the public plan only 2) those who buy/have supplemental insurance to augment/replace the public option for higher quality care, as has been the case with my buddies in the the UK.

But what I will not support, in any capacity, is this personal mandate in PPACA that forces citizens into commerce relationships with other private firms. It is so colossally stupid and ill thought-out, that it's hard to believe that anyone takes it seriously. Clearly this was a law written by privileged (and well-insured), paternalistic lawmakers with the aid of the private healthcare industry. I guess this form of "big business" is OK for Progressives, eh?

There are other reforms in the law that I have no serious (as in I don't like them, but I don't find them unconstitutional) beef about, although I would prefer the law to be much simpler.

Paul Emery

I agree Ryan

Single payer is the only reasonable option at this time. It's what Obama should have done at the start before he wimped out and came up with what we have now. A good percent of the no polls on his plan come from those who would prefer single payer. No doubt if his plan is struck don he'll propose single payer with great support and probable make it a campaign challenge for the Repubs.

Ryan Mount

A single payer plan would not be in the Supreme Court right now and we wouldn't be having these ridiculous, yet unfortunately germane, arguments about whether the government can make us eat broccoli. Justice Breyer (and Justice Kagan tacitly) in a frightening argument seems to be implying they can merely by being born here:

JUSTICE BREYER: Now we -- now you've changed the ground of argument, which I accept as -- as totally legitimate. And then the question is when you are born and you don't have insurance and you will in fact get sick and you will in fact impose costs, have you perhaps involuntarily -- perhaps simply because you are a human being -- entered this particular market, which is a market for health care?

MR. CARVIN: If being born is entering the market, then I can't think of a more plenary power Congress can have, because that literally means they can regulate every human activity from cradle to grave. thought that's what distinguished the plenary police power from the very limited commerce power.

(http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/11-398-Tuesday.pdf, p89)

I guess I should make lemonade out of these civic lemons and say that at least this debate is focusing [some] folk's attention on the Constitution. That's never a bad thing.

Paul Emery


Meanwhile 50 million and counting Americans are without health care and are but a medical emergency away from bankruptcy or being forever in debt. Might I add from my observations this discourages free enterprise, an example being a good friend who would like to start her own business but cannot because she has pre existing medical conditions that make it impossible for her to purchase her own health insurance. She is therefore confined for the rest of her working days to seeking jobs that provide health care. She's a very talented person who could quite likely start a successful business that could employ many at a good wage. As it exists today there is no incentive or reason insurers should take on those with pre-existing problems. Also, as a person gets older its common knowledge that employers are discouraged from hiring them because of increased insurance costs. Single payer basic health care is the only reasonable solution.

George Rebane

PaulE 1127am - that number of destitute Americans who can't afford healthcare is growing without bound. The feds and Team Obama advertized just under 40M of whom about 3/4 chose not to buy healthcare. Now 50M are pining for coverage, what will it be next week?

Paul Emery

Being unable to buy health care is different than choosing no to buy health care. How can a couple working low paying jobs afford the $1000 it costs to insure their family. Do the math.

Paul Emery

.....I honestly think you are naive about the struggle working class people go through today just to pay their rent and provide the basics. These people are not destitute, they are doing the best they can and health care is out of reach for them.

George Rebane

PaulE 814pm - I think that you have again shifted the focus of the argument here. Citing that some people who wish to have healthcare and can't afford it is the justification for Obamacare is a long lost argument in RR comment streams. Of course there are people in that situation in a nation of 310M.

The subject has always been 'what is the best way to make such healthcare accessible without destroying an industry and putting the nation's economy in greater peril?' We have to recall that EVERY advertised benefit of Obamacare has turned out to be a lie, and more horrors about that law are being discovered daily.

That millions don't know this, don't care, or are in solid disbelief is the wind in socialist sails to continue promoting this travesty. I believe your hoisting such anecdotal red herrings is about the best argument that the Left can currently give - and who knows, it may be sufficient.

Michael Anderson

George, one of the subjects of debate here regarding health care in America, and PPACA specifically, is that the portion of the GDP dedicated to health care in the US is 16%, which is almost double that of countries with a single-payer solution. Paul, myself, and others have offered sufficient evidence that this is a huge burden for business, and that it keeps us from being internationally competitive.

I have yet to read anything from you that addresses this fact.

Paul Emery

Don't confuse my arguments about universal health care with support for "Obamacare" I am one of many that show up as opposed to his program yet in support of single payer national health care. You have yet to show me a free market non governmental plan anywhere in the world that works. You have yet to show me any comprehensive plan that meets your standards so until you do it's all just theory and discussion. And M Anderson is right. Ours is the most expensive in the world when it comes to percent of GDP. This will continue in the unlikely situation that Romney and the Repubs get elected so it will then be on their watch and their problem. They won't have the slack that Bush did to do nothing.

George Rebane

MichaelA and PaulE - to posit that our healthcare costs have kept us "from being internationally competitive" is simply ludicrous. Our healthcare system is perhaps the last factor that affects our global competitive stance which is still very competitive. Where our competitiveness flags is the educational/skill levels that our workforce have in return for the wages they demand. And none of that has to do with our healthcare system.

The international healthcare scene is a hodgepodge of approaches ranging from none to centrally planned unsustainable approaches that continue to cost more and deliver less. No nation with the healthcare systems you two espouse is sitting sanguine in its solution, but instead are struggling mightily to reform and restructure before they crash and burn.

Your counsel to rush into a burning building that others are evacuating is what most Americans are rejecting, and the motivation for the SCOTUS Obamacare case. As before, my bottom line is that almost any other approach to a new healthcare system is better than to repeat the centrally planned, bureaucratically implemented solutions of which you are enamored.

Yes, untried free-market solutions as have been cited and proposed here are 'theoretical' as was the founding of this nation when first proposed. To me, repeating confirmed failures or fighting for passage on the Titanic is not a viable option.

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