Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | Steve Malzberg Show | Supreme Court | Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman: Supreme Court Is Keeping White House in Check

Image: Joe Lieberman: Supreme Court Is Keeping White House in Check Former Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Getty Images)

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 03:14 PM

The nation is blessed to have the legal wisdom of the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of the 13 rulings it has made against the Obama administration in the past 18 months, former Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut tells Newsmax TV.

"It's unusual or maybe even unprecedented to have that many decisions,'' Lieberman said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show.''

"The good thing to say for those who are worried is that we do have a Supreme Court … and the vision of the founders to exercise nonpolitical authority to keep our government within the bounds of the Constitution.''

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Lieberman adds that while not perfect, it works quite well in keeping the White House in check.

"It's not a perfect system but when you've got an ideologically split court and 13 cases saying 9-0 the president or the administration exceeded its constitutional authority, that says something very powerful,'' Lieberman said.

"It should be reassuring to the American people about protecting their rights.''

In the most recent decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that, as a "closely held'' business, the art-sand-crafts chain Hobby Lobby is not required to pay for all of the birth-control methods mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

The owners of Hobby Lobby, citing religious concerns, said they did not want to pay for contraceptives they felt were equal to abortion, such as IUD devices and the "morning-after" pill.

Lieberman also commented on the ongoing crisis in Iraq, where the jihadist Islamic State  is attempting to take over to create a new religious state.

"You've got now a bunch of radical Islamist extremists who are essentially trying to knock down the borders between two countries and say, 'we're going to create our own Islamic state and woe to everybody there if they ever get to do that,''' he said.

"And one of the main causes of the problem there that allowed this radical group to take hold is that the U.S. did not come to the side of the opposition in Syria to Assad when it took shape three years ago.

"As a result, we created a vacuum into which this truly radical, anti-American group has come in from all over the world now.''

Lieberman fears that if the Islamic State is able to establish a home base "it's going to be just like what happened in Afghanistan when the Taliban was in charge.

"They're going to plot an attempt to carry out attacks against us. I'm not just saying that myself. Their leader has said that.''

Lieberman also urged the United States to stop financial support of the Palestinian Authority, until Hamas agrees to change its charter and declare it is no longer sworn to destroy Israel.

"I'd say suspend funding of the Palestinian Authority until Hamas changes. We have a law that says that American aid cannot go to a governmental entity in which terrorists are involved, and that specifically includes Hamas,'' Lieberman said.

"They tried to get around it by having the alliance between Hamas and the Fatah and the Palestinian Authority by putting into the cabinet people who were so-called technocrats. They're not officially members of Hamas but they've been approved by Hamas. It's pretty much the same thing.''

Lieberman said the Obama administration's stance has been to say it will not suspend aid unless it sees proof that Hamas is actually involved terror activities.

"I would turn it upside down and say suspend the aid until it's clear that Hamas is not involved, because based on what we know now they are, and that's contrary to American law.''

Still, the waters are somewhat muddied because Hamas has shown signs of cooperation, such as condemning recent killing of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers.

Lieberman, 72 — who served in the Senate from 1989 to 2013 and was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000 — admitted he isn't holding his breath on defunding.

It "is something that I'm afraid won't happen,'' he said.


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