Well, the President has certainly stepped in it this time.
The Supreme Court firmly established in Marbury v. Madison in 1803 that government behavior that is repugnant to the Constitution is not valid, and it is the duty of the courts to make that determination and to invalidate such behavior. This is called “judicial review:” It is the power of the courts to review the acts of the other branches of the federal government, and to review the laws of the states, and to void them when they exceed the confines of the Constitution. No serious legal scholar has questioned this power in the past 175 years.
The president is entitled to his own opinions, just like everyone else is. He is free to argue and to predict that ObamaCare should and will be upheld. But he cannot seriously suggest, with intellectual honesty, that the Court is without lawful authority to invalidate an act of Congress that the Court determines is repugnant to the Constitution.
Nor can he, with intellectual honesty, issue veiled threats to the Court.
The Court is his equal, as a branch of government. But since 1803, the Court is superior to the president on having the final say as to what the laws and what the Constitution mean; and the president knows that.
Now the Judge says the President “knows” all this, which begs the question, why then did he say what he said? Is it simply his narcissism showing through? Did Justice Kagen already get word to him that ObamaCare will be struck down, and he’s just getting even — in a juvenile, school-yard sort of way. He could have just called the Supreme Court a bunch of poopy heads; it would have been about as effective and classy as what he said. I suppose this could, as a number of pundits have suggested, be a way of preparing his army of useful idiots to take to the streets in protest if and when the Court announces that it has found the law unconstitutional. And, of course, there’s always the possibility that he already knows the Court will uphold ObamaCare, and he will simply be able to say, “see, I told you they couldn’t strike it down”. I’m not betting the farm on that last option, but nothing this crew does surprises me anymore.
The interesting thing to take note of will be opinion polls over the next week or two as they relate to Obama’s approval by Independents. I can’t imagine a large percentage of Independents admiring this latest move by the President, and without a strong majority of Independents’ votes, he’s toast in November.