Former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III tells Newsmax.TV that President Barack Obama’s warning to the Supreme Court earlier this week was a dangerous attempt to “intimidate” the justices into upholding his controversial Obamacare law.
He also expects that Obama is going to get a stern "civics lesson" in presidential decorum when a three-judge appellate panel weighs in on the ham-fisted threat he made to justices Monday to rule in favor of his controversial Obamacare law.
“I think he is trying to intimidate the court, or at least trying to in effect rile up the public against the court — if they should make a decision which is constitutional, and which is adverse to him,” declared Meese in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. “I think that’s why he’s doing it.”
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Meese, who served as President Reagan’s attorney general, said he was shocked at the president's comments.
“It shows no respect for an independent coordinate branch of government, and I think is out of place for the president. But he’s done this before in respect to the court — lecturing them if you will at a State of The Union message. It’s very strange, and it somewhat belies the idea that he’s an expert in the Constitution.”
Obama warned on Monday that a rejection of his healthcare reform law would be an act of “judicial activism” that Republicans claim to oppose. He subsequently attempted to walk back those comments on Tuesday.
Meese sided with a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans that demanded Tuesday that the administration clarify what the president meant. It issued an order giving the Justice Department a Thursday deadline to comment on whether the administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law following Obama’s comments.
“I think that they feel as I do, that the president’s statement on Monday — and some of the things he said were very inappropriate, improper for a president, and I think they genuinely want to find out what the view of this administration is on this whole subject of the role of the Supreme Court,” Meese theorized.
“I suspect one of the reasons is that if the administration comes back and says ‘they don’t believe in what the Constitution provides’ that they want to provide in their opinion — which is on, as I understand, an aspect of the Obamacare litigation — they would want to include in their opinion, perhaps a Constitution lesson — a civics lesson if you will for the president, and explain to him what’s what as far as the Constitution is concerned.”
Meese’s remarks came during a wide-ranging interview in which he said that he has decided not to back any of the GOP presidential candidates, but hopes that the eventual nominee will lead the party to victory over Obama in November. He also said that there’s been no breaches of privacy after nearly a decade of the Patriot Act.
While President Jimmy Carter may have failed as a president, Obama may be worse for the country, Meese asserted.
“With Carter, we had a failed presidency,” Meese explained. “I believe we presently have a dangerous presidency.”
Meese, who served as Reagan’s chief of staff when he was governor of California, also dismissed Obama’s comments on Tuesday that today’s GOP would have rejected Reagan. There’s no question that the beloved president would have been welcomed by today’s GOP and that Reagan would not raise taxes, Meese said.
“He is just totally 100 percent wrong as he has been many times when he’s talked about Ronald Reagan,” Meese said of Obama. “He talks about that Ronald Reagan raised taxes. Well Ronald Reagan agreed to a deal if you will with the Congress that there would be $3 of deficit reduction for every $1 of tax increases.
"The Congress reneged on their part of it," he pointed out. "They had the tax increase, but almost no deficit reduction and Ronald Reagan often said that, that was the worst mistake he made as president.”
Meese was also optimistic that the Supreme Court will overturn the individual mandate of Obamacare at minimum. “I would hope that the court would throw out at least the individual mandate that people buy insurance,” he explained.
“The current state of the law regarding the Commerce Clause is a long ways from what the founders had in mind in the Constitution — and to carry it a giant step further in the direction of governmental power — would be a big mistake.”
Meese said he hopes that Congress will step in if the Supreme Court fails to strike down the controversial healthcare law.
“If they should uphold the law, which I think would be a mistake, then I think repeal is the only way possible even if they only hold the independent mandate and leave the rest of the law intact,” he said. “I would hope it would be repealed because there are many more deficiencies in the law from a policy standpoint than just the unconstitutionality.”
With respect to the disastrous Fast and Furious gunrunning operation, Meese said it would be “surprising” if Attorney General Eric Holder had not been briefed on the operation, which allowed hundreds of assault weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels in the hope that they could be traced.
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Nearly all the weapons went missing and have been involved in dozens of crimes both in the U.S. and Mexico and have led to the deaths of two U.S. agents.
“It would be surprising that it hadn’t been briefed up into the executive offices. But again I don’t know what happened in this case,” said Meese, who added that an argument could have been made for even briefing President Obama on the operation based on the potential implications for U.S.-Mexican relations.
While Meese has refrained from endorsing any of the GOP presidential candidates, he said that he is hopeful that the eventual nominee will defeat Obama based on the high stakes of this election.
“This is going to be one of the most important elections that we’ve had in a long time and it’s absolutely critical that we have new leadership to save the economy and really to save the country, including to restore constitutional government,” Meese said. “That’s why I’m not backing anybody.”
Like many conservatives, Meese also questioned the Democrat Party’s continued opposition to voter I.D. laws.
“There’s no evidence whatsoever that it suppresses the vote,” he said, adding that the electoral system ought to have the same safeguards in place as a check-cashing process. “Rather, I guess you could entertain the suspicion that maybe they believe in election fraud. I don’t know.”
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