Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama intentionally misled the American people regarding the authority the Supreme Court has to declare legislation unconstitutional.
On Monday, Obama said that striking down his signature healthcare legislation would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” that would demonstrate a lack of “judicial restraint” by the Supreme Court.
But in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview on Wednesday, Romney called Obama’s characterization of the role of the independent judiciary “a purposeful distortion.”
“Well the whole idea of the Constitution and the courts that apply the Constitution is to have the capacity to ensure that Congress and the president do not pass legislation that violates the Constitution,” Romney told Newsmax.
The former Massachusetts governor described the Supreme Court as “one of the bulwarks against the unconstitutional acts of the majority.”
Added Romney: “So the president suggesting that somehow the court would be violating its duty by applying the Constitution to test the validity of a piece of legislation is an extraordinary reach and a misunderstanding, and I think a distortion — a purposeful distortion — of the role of the judiciary.”
On Tuesday, Obama backed down from questioning the court’s power of judicial review, saying that whatever verdict the court renders must be respected.
But the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals demanded a written clarification from the Justice Department on whether it disputes the right of federal appeals courts to pass judgment on the constitutional validity of legislation signed into law.
Some conservatives saw the president’s remarks as a transparent bid to sway the Supreme Court’s looming verdict on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Court is expected to announce its decision sometime in June.
Other highlights from Romney’s exclusive interview with Newsmax:
- He is not going to urge his three Republican primary opponents to exit the campaign, but does hope the party can decide on its nominee “sooner rather than later” in order to focus on challenging Obama.
- Romney touted the recent endorsements he received from top Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Budget Committee chief Rep. Paul Ryan, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He said they will help him unite conservatives behind his candidacy.
- He charged that Obama “is seeking to impose a government-centered society” by replacing free markets with “an economy driven by a government that has bureaucrats thinking they know better than the free market how to fuel growth and put people to work.”
- He saluted Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal, which has been attacked by the president, pointedly noting that Obama has been unable to get a Democratic-controlled Senate to pass his budget proposals.
- The former Massachusetts governor professed not to be too worried about polls that suggest women voters have been alienated by the GOP primary debate over contraception. Romney blamed Democrats for distorting Republicans’ views, adding, “I think this will pass as an issue as people understand our real position.”
- He stated that he has no list of potential vice presidential prospects, because that would be “presumptuous” until he wins the nomination. But Romney did speak highly of Puerto Rico Republican Gov. Luis Fortuno, calling him “a solid conservative and a firm leader.”
Romney also talked about what his wife’s duties would be on the campaign trail, and possibly in the White House as first lady.
Romney said wife Ann Romney would “talk about what we would bring to this country, how we would endeavor to help people who are hurting and having a hard time, and how we would bring a new degree of fairness to so many who are being left behind.”
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