When you hear the word “unprecedented,” reach for your . . . dictionary.
As I’ve noted before, the word no longer sports its traditional meaning.
On Monday, President Barack Obama commented on the possibility that the Supreme Court would strike down the 111th Congress’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by saying that such a move would constitute “an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” Yesterday, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Justice Department to clarify the president’s statement. By Thursday.
Does the president — who happens to have taught constitutional law — really think the courts do not have the power to review and disqualify law on the basis of constitutionality?
As reported on CBS News’s Crossroads site, “Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented — since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional.”
I’d like to take a moment and thank the president . . . for help making the Constitution a live topic of conversation these days. But there’s something worrisome here. The president knows better. This is even worse than, say, Newt Gingrich totally messing up his comments on “activist judges,” making hash of law and interpretation. This is a president with a Harvard-established reputation on the subject saying something patently untrue.
He could only have been “fibbing.” And hoping to get away with it . . . apparently on the supposition that Americans are so miseducated we wouldn’t even notice.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.