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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dana Milbank, Obama to Supreme Court: You wouldn’t dare kill Obamacare: Should the Supreme Court Be Guided by Polls?

"In a democracy the legislative impulse and its expression should come from those popularly chosen to legislate, and equipped to devise policy, as courts are not. The pressure on legislatures to discharge their responsibility with care, understanding and imagination should be stiffened, not relaxed. Above all, they must not be encouraged in irresponsible or undisciplined use of language."

- Felix Frankfurter, "Some Reflections on the Reading of Statutes," The Benjamin N. Cardozo Lecture, March 18, 1947

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Obama to Supreme Court: You wouldn’t dare kill Obamacare," Dana Milbank notes President Obama's admonition to the US Supreme Court on Tuesday not to overturn the Affordable Care Act later this month. Citing statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation poll indicating that Obamacare has become more favorable to Americans, Milbank writes:

"The conservative justices, like conservative critics of the law generally, are unlikely to be persuaded by Obama’s recitation of the merits of the law, which he repeated at length Tuesday. But they may well be reluctant to upend a law that now has broad acceptance in American society.

. . . .

I have faith that the conservative justices, even if they detest Obamacare, have no wish to throw the country into chaos."

I'm certain that the conservative justices have no desire to cause mayhem. On the other hand, are they empowered to twist the explicit language of the statute into something the words don't say?

The jury is still out . . .

1 comment:

  1. The precedent on presidential power (domestic issues) is Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. United States (1952)

    [liberal] SCOTUS Robert Jackson posited three tiers of presidential power related to Congress.

    No mention of any public opinion poll.

    Perhaps the frightening issue is that there once was a constitutional lawyer named Obama, but this president seems to be someone else.

    Some people believe the congressional elections of 2012 and 2014, which returned GOP majorities to both the House and Senate, were ultimate reality opinion polls.