For decades, Republicans have railed every four years against the Supreme Court and its perceived liberal activism to spur conservatives to elect presidents who will appoint like-minded justices. Now strategists in both parties are suggesting this could be the Democrats’ year to make the court a foil to mobilize voters.
The reason tea partiers carried signs saying "Read the Constitution!" was that we were hoping people would read the Constitution.
Alas, we still have Rick Santorum saying Obamacare is the same as what he calls "Romneycare"; the otherwise brilliant Mickey Kaus sniffing that if states can mandate insurance purchases, then we're "not talking about some basic individual liberty to not purchase stuff" (no, just the nation's founding document, which protects "basic individual liberties" by putting constraints on Congress); and the former law professor, Barack Obama, alleging that a "good example" of judicial activism would be the Supreme Court (in his words, "a group of people") overturning "a duly constituted and passed law."
Liberal pundits, journalists, and yes, the president of the United States seem to be in a full-blown panic about the prospects of ObamaCare going down in flames when the Supreme Court rules on HHS v. Florida in two months. Doing so would be the sort of judicial activism that conservatives decry, President Obama complained ludicrously earlier this week.
But have no fear, liberals, for law professor and Daily Beast/Newsweek contributor David R. Dow -- who previously wrote a book defending judicial activism -- has your solution. The Yale-educated lawyer suggests that President Obama's congressional defenders could try something last attempted in 1805: the politically-motivated impeachment of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Here's how Dow opened his April 3 Daily Beast post:
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is clearly beside herself over the possiblity the Supreme Court might strike down ObamaCare.
"This court," she wrote Wednesday, "is well on its way to becoming one of the most divisive in modern American history...It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes...[M]irrors the setup on Fox News":
Though I have concern that every American citizen has affordable health care, too, I have grave concerns about the opinion that the federal government holds the true solution.
History shows that whenever government oversees personal welfare (such as with Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and Social Security), the program is inept, broken, intrusive, impersonalized, oppressive or often bankrupt.
"President Obama used conservative arguments against judicial activism to urge justices to uphold the law," a teaser headline on the bottom of today's Washington Post front page notes, directing readers to page A4 for the story by staffer David Nakamura.
Nakamura dutifully opened his story noting that Obama said in a Rose Garden press conference yesterday that if the Court overturns ObamaCare in the HHS v. Florida case, that it would "amount to an 'unprecedented, extraordinary step' of judicial activism." Yet nowhere in the 18-paragraph story did Nakamura lay out exactly how Obama's argument was conservative in nature nor did he cite a single conservative constitutional or legal expert to agree with Obama.
Barack Obama took to the airwaves Monday speaking about the Supreme Court and ObamaCare as if he had never studied American history or constitutional law.
Fox News's Greta Van Susteren took on the President later in the day saying, "He went to Harvard law school. Every person in law school hears Marbury versus Madison that says the function of the Supreme Court, its power includes the right to review whether a statute is constitutional or not" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas feared for the consequences of a world without Obama-care on Saturday's front page: "A Health Law At Risk Gives Insurers Pause." The Times quoted nine people, from insurance executives to liberal activists, who suggested that a defeat for Obama-care at the Supreme Court would be harmful for U.S. health care, compared to only one who welcomed the prospect, treating that side as a vast minority, even though 26 states have sued to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation. (Another quote was deemed neutral.)
Different network, same fawning coverage. MSNBC journalists Chuck Todd and Luke Russert fawned over Bill Clinton, Monday, with Todd "loving" the liberal history lesson that the former Democratic President gave on health care.
Rather than show the interview straight through, Russert and Todd would play a clip and then marvel over Clinton's wisdom. Regarding Obamacare, the Daily Rundown anchor introduced, "Well, speaking of health care, I love the history lesson he gave you on health care. Here’s his health care answer."
An embarrassing performance Sunday for CBS’s Bob Schieffer in the debut of the new hour-long format for Face the Nation. At least he should be embarrassed by the contrast in how he played sycophant to Vice President Joe Biden, treating him as an oracle of wisdom, while not being nearly so coddling with Newt Gingrich who he corrected and challenged. Schieffer cued up Biden to pontificate:
What’s your take on that?
What did you mean by that?
What do you make of all of that?
What’s your take on that?
To Gingrich, however, he argued with the former Speaker’s points.
Reeling from the possibility the Supreme Court might undermine ObamaCare, two members in good standing of the liberal media elite, both with the New York Times, took to the Sunday shows to lament the lack of public recognition for the great benefits of the law. “On health care,” columnist Tom Friedman rationalized on NBC’s Meet the Press, “that’s partly a failure of communication.”
A befuddled Friedman advanced the liberal narrative that blames communication, not facts, as he wondered: “How do you go a year and a half where so many Americans don’t even understand the benefits of this legislation when they apply to them? And that gets to this administration, which I think has been abysmal at communicating some of its most important agenda items.”
On Friday's Daily Rundown on MSNBC, anchor Chuck Todd asked about the sour outlook for ObamaCare: “There’s a lot of panic at the White House, to be frank. They really thought this wasn’t going to be that hard of a case....Now they’re biting their fingernails. Should they be biting their fingernails?”
NPR’s Nina Totenberg responded: “Yeah, they should be biting their fingernails." Totenberg insisted that everyone thought this was constitutional, a "piece of cake." But the Bush appointments were "very, very, very conservative." This is not the first time she's loaded the "very" boat:
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Friday said the Supreme Court striking down ObamaCare could energize the Left in this nation in much the same way 1973's Roe v. Wade decision galvanized the Right.
Such was said on PBS's Inside Washington (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
The New York Times has previously reported on the dangers of the arcane problem of "epistemic closure," whereby the conservative movement (but evidently not the liberal one) suffers from "a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement....a high-toned abbreviation for ideological intolerance and misinformation."
Speaking of which...In Wednesday's edition of the weekly online chat at nytimes.com among columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins, posted under the heading "Moral Arguments," the more liberal Collins unwittingly provided Exhibit A of ideological intolerance, liberal-style.
Today's starter topic: While the verdict of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of President Obama's signature healthcare law won't likely be known by most people until the end of June, the justices on the court very likely will know its fate later today when they meet to cast their first informal votes on the case.
How detached is Chris Matthews from the rest of the country? The Hardball host on Thursday appeared bewildered as he conceded to being "totally unprepared" for the prospect that Obamacare might be "ripped off the books." Talking to Chuck Todd, Matthews asked his fellow MSNBC colleague if he would be "surprised" to see the Supreme Court strike down the health care law.
Matthews then confessed, "I was totally unprepared because of the way people talked." The anchor insisted that "intellectually," he knew it could be a problem, but "I never heard it discussed politically as a prospect, that they actually might get his major achievement just ripped off the books." He never heard it discussed? [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
After three days of oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Obamcare, liberals seem genuinely stunned that Obamacare has a good chance of going down in flames. They never saw it coming.
Consider this exchange between CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and anchor Wolf Blitzer on the first day of the argument which focused on the individual mandate, provision of Obamacare which forces all Americans to purchase medical insurance or procure it via their employers:
On today's edition of MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner, ObamaCare apologist and Rahm Emanuel sibling Zeke Emanuel insisted that the lack of a "severability clause" in the health care overhaul legislation was simply an "oversight, not an intention." Neither host Alex Wagner nor any panelist interjected to correct the record.
In fact, severability was not inserted into the ObamaCare legislation as part of a legislative strategy by the Democrats who shepherded it through Congress. Boston Globe's Noah Bierman explained as much in the March 29 paper (emphases mine):
With the two-year anniversary of the law's signing and this week's marathon set of hearings before the Supreme Court about ObamaCare, it's a good time to examine just another area where the media have failed to report on a little-reported liberty-infringing aspect of the health care overhaul.
No, I'm not talking about not the individual mandate. I'm talking about a provision that forbids the formation of new physician-owned hospitals (POHs) and severely restricts the expansion of existing ones.
CNN's own legal analyst described Wednesday morning's Supreme Court hearing on ObamaCare as a "trainwreck" for the Obama administration and added "it may also be a plane wreck" – but prime-time hosts Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan made only one brief mention between them of the bill's rough morning in court, during Wednesday night's prime-time coverage.
In fact, during Tuesday and Wednesday night's newscasts, Morgan and Cooper made only two brief mentions of the hearings -- while the rest of CNN's afternoon coverage on those days heavily discussed the Court's hearings on ObamaCare.
Did CNN's Jeffrey Toobin just hint at his liberal bias? Toobin told Politico "I'm not exactly famous for my hatred of the Obama administration," and added that "If you're [sic] read my books, you know – I don't have a primetime spot on Fox News."
CNN's senior legal analyst had made headlines for his dire analysis of ObamaCare's chances in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. He was explaining to Politico's Dylan Byers that his criticism of the Obama administration's defense of the bill was probably all the more noteworthy because he himself is not a big critic of Obama.
After another bad day at the Supreme Court for the Obama administration's health care law, journalists on MSNBC and CNN marveled at how the President's signature legislation seemed to be unraveling. Appearing on MSNBC, HD Net reporter Brooks Silva-Braga compared the Solicitor General (who defended the law in front of the court) to an embarrassed child.
Silva-Braga mocked, "If you've ever been to a fifth grade play and looked into the eyes of a kid who is not sure if he's going to remember his lines, that's what Donald Verrilli looked like yesterday." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] On CNN, Jeffrey Toobin, who on Tuesday reversed a previous prediction of an easy win for Obama, sneered that Obamacare had become a "plane wreck."
Apparently, Soledad O'Brien's idea of a balanced discussion is three-to-one Democratic majority. Three out of the four guests she hosted on Wednesday's Starting Point to discuss the ObamaCare hearings were Democrats, and the CNN host did not press them to defend the health care bill's constitutionality.
Her questions simply focused on the state of the legislation and the implications of the Supreme Court decision, teeing up the Democrats to defend the bill and downplay the chance that the individual mandate will be overturned.
Barack Obama's health care law ran into a legal buzz saw at the Supreme Court, Tuesday. So, how did the network morning shows on Wednesday cover the "historic" case? They mostly ignored it. Over two hours, ABC's Good Morning America allowed just two minutes.
Reporter Jon Karl hyped an Obamacare loss as win-win for the President. He insisted it would be a "rallying cry for liberals" and that "it would also take away an issue for Republicans." There's no down side to having one's biggest legislative accomplishment eviscerated? [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
Something tells me this isn't an argument that Supreme Court justices will hear this week.
Unhinged MSNBC circus clown Ed Schultz continues to unintentionally help conservatives, making a claim to a caller on his radio show Monday that was inane even by the epic standards for inanity established by Schultz. (audio clip after page break)
There was some strange poll placement in Tuesday's New York Times, which led with "New Poll Finds Drop In Support For Afghan War." Yet the paper buried a story from the same poll, showing people are strongly against ObamaCare, on page 17. Given that the Supreme Court is now arguing the issue, wouldn't it have been more timely for the Times to lead off with or at least front its ObamaCare findings?
Addressing a rally of conservatives at the March 27 Americans for Prosperity-sponsored "Hands Off My Health Care" rally in Washington, D.C., NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell opened his remarks by recounting a wise saying of his grandfather's.
"I tell you this, my grandfather taught his family that in life there were three things that were important: Your God, your family, and your country. I have a message for Mr. Obama: You're not God. You're not my mother. And leave my country alone!" the Media Research Center founder pronounced to cheers from the crowd.
You can watch the full 5-minute-long speech in the video embedded below the page break:
For the second day in a row, CNN appealed to emotion and aired the story of an innocent chid that made the case for ObamaCare. On Tuesday morning they featured a heartrending account of an epileptic three year-old girl who will soon reach her lifetime benefit limits on health insurance – if the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare.
CNN correspondent Elizabeth Cohen made the Court's decision as personal as possible, even though the Court is simply determining the constitutionality of the bill. "These nine Supreme Court justices will forever affect the life of 3-year-old Violet McManus," she gravely began. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
If there has ever been a case that could vindicate the Supreme Court as a guardian of liberty or incriminate it as freedom's thief, it is the court's present consideration of the Affordable Care Act.
At the founding of the republic, the Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution warned that to grant the power to declare laws unconstitutional to an unelected and life-tenured Supreme Court could subvert the democratic republic and threaten our liberties.