House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has harsh words for President Barack Obama’s recent comments to the Supreme Court over his healthcare law. Obama said last week it would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” for “an unelected group of people [to] somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”
The remarks are “more than disappointing — they’re disturbing,” Smith writes on Politico
. “Though a former constitutional law professor, the president seems to have forgotten that the Supreme Court is a co-equal branch of government. It is the court’s job to review our laws, to ensure they don’t exceed Congress’s limited authority or violate Americans’ constitutional rights.”
This wouldn’t be the first time the Supreme Court has struck down a law as unconstitutional, Smith points out. “Since the 1980s, the court has averaged about two decisions a year striking down a federal law.”
Smith defended the court for questioning whether the individual mandate in Obamacare constitutes interstate commerce and is thus legal. “There is a difference between regulating economic activity that is continuing and forcing Americans to engage in an activity against their will — in this case, purchasing health insurance,” he argues.
And whatever Obama’s views on the specifics of the case, “the president should be careful not to bully the Supreme Court to rule in favor of his law,” Smith writes. “Instead, he should show respect for the system of government our Founders established — and the balance of power critical to the success of our democracy.”
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