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Apr
05

The Fall Out Continues

It seems that even the media is not buying the Administration's assertion that overturning ObamaCare is some how some sort of extra-ordinary event.  In a press conference Wednesday, CBS reporter Norah O'Donnell had the following exchange with Press Secretary Jay Carney.

ED HENRY: In his original comments he did not draw out that caveat. He just said the whole thing would be unprecedented.

JAY CARNEY: That’s not what he said, Ed, and that’s certainly not what he meant. It was clear to most folks who observe this and understand is at issue here.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Jay, that’s not true. The president said on Monday: “It would an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” It took him until yesterday to talk about the commerce clause and on an economic issue—there are two instances in the past 80 years where the precedent, where the Supreme Court has overturned stuff—U.S. vs. Lopez and U.S. vs. Morrison. These are very specific legal issues. It’s not evident to everybody.

Then yesterday, CBS reporter Bill Plante got in on the act.

CBS News reporter Bill Plante challenged White House press secretary Jay Carney on President Obama’s statement Monday that for the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act would be an “extraordinary, unprecedented step,” during a Thursday press briefing.

BILL PLANTE: What he said on Monday was an obvious misspoken moment because he talked about the court not being in a position to overturn an of Congress—

JAY CARNEY: Bill—

PLANTE: You’re standing up there twisting yourself in knots, because he made a mistake and you can’t admit it.

CARNEY: No, no, Bill, I am acknowledging that—you’re sharing in the righteous indignation here that your colleagues—

PLANTE: No, I’m just being—I’m just noting that you’re twisting yourself in knots.

CARNEY: The president spoke in answer to a question, relatively briefly, and in the context of this case, made the statement that there is no judicial precedent—that there is long judicial precedent which would argue that the court should not overturn this law. I totally grant to you that he did not refer to the commerce clause. He did not refer to the whole context. I think he believed that that was understood. Clearly, some folks—notably the person sitting in that chair and others—missed that. And, uh, and, uh—no, no, look. There’s a lot of—it’s kind of ridiculous to believe that the president wasn’t talking about the context of the case, but I completely concede that he did not describe the context when he took the question and answered it on Monday. He then, when asked again Tuesday, provided the full context. And so, did he clarify his comments? Absolutely. Did he expand on them? Absolutely. Yes, Scott. God, you guys. It’s your job to come up with clichés—game on, and things like that. But I’m not going to engage in that.

You know it's bad with the lap dog media can't even buy what you are selling. Of course it could be that no one is buying is because everyone knows just how flawed your product is.  Especially when your former students are speaking out against you.

Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun.  Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise.  Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5.  You’d be a little embarrassed, right?  You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.

Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”  Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense (the deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act got through the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed to survive a filibuster and passed 219-212 in the House), saying that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that violates the Constitution is like saying that Kansas City is the capital of Kansas.  Thus, a Wall Street Journal editorial queried this about the President who “famously taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago”:  “[D]id he somehow not teach the historic case of Marbury v. Madison?”

I actually know the answer to that question.  It’s no (well, technically yes…he didn’t).  President Obama taught “Con Law III” at Chicago.  Judicial review, federalism, the separation of powers — the old “structural Constitution” stuff — is covered in “Con Law I” (or at least it was when I was a student).  Con Law III covers the Fourteenth Amendment.  (Oddly enough, Prof. Obama didn’t seem too concerned about “an unelected group of people” overturning a “duly constituted and passed law” when we were discussing all those famous Fourteenth Amendment cases – Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, Romer v. Evans, etc.)  Of course, even a Con Law professor focusing on the Bill of Rights should know that the principle of judicial review has been alive and well since 1803, so I still feel like my educational credentials have been tarnished a bit by the President’s “unprecedented, extraordinary” remarks.

The "Constitutional Scholar's" halo has been tarnished....yet again.

Written by LL.

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