250 Things That Are Not True! (continued): 'The Supreme Court Can Not Strike Down Laws as Unconstitutional!'

By Frank Hill

So said President Obama this past Monday when asked about whether he thought the Supreme Court will overturn the Obama Health Care individual mandate.
“Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
First of all, the Obama Health Care Bill passed only by the slimmest of margins in the House, 219-212 with 34 Democrats joining the opposition in 2010.

Hardly a 'strong majority of a democratically elected Congress', is it?

Here's our question for the constitutional professor who is now our US President and Commander-in-Chief...

'What the heck is the Supreme Court supposed to do if it is not supposed to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed into law by an American President?'

Is the Supreme Court supposed to just be a 'potted plant' sitting in the corner watching the United States government operate right in front of them every day and never weigh in on weighty matters such as slavery, civil rights, abortion, commerce and just about everything else including health care coverage for every US citizen?

We got to being more than a little curious once we heard these comments by President Obama and looked up in the GPO database about how many laws have been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court over these past 2 centuries or so.

Answer is: 1,315.  One thousand, three hundred and fifteen laws, statutes and ordinances.  All passed by democratically-elected legislatures and city councils.

Unconstitutional and Preempted Laws 1789-2002
According to the GPO (Government Printing Office Database): 

1789-2002 Acts of Congress Held as Unconstitutional..............................158
1789-2002 State Statutes held unconstitutional......................................935
1789-2002 City Ordinances held unconstitutional....................................222
1789-2002 State and City laws preempted by Federal laws.......................224
Total State, Local and Federal Laws Declared Unconstitutional................1,315
Total State and Local Law Preempted by Federal Laws..............................224
Total Laws Overturned, all governments..............................................1,539

Now. look, everyone has a bad day at the office every now and then.  Maybe Monday was one of those bad days for President Obama.

But seriously.  He is a constitutional professor for goodness sakes!  People tell us this was taught in Class Numero Uno at every law school in the nation:  The Supreme Court has the authority through the concept of 'judicial review' (which is not explicitly stated in the Constitution by the way) to take a look at any law brought to the bench through the proper judicial channels to determine if it fits in the framework put forth by the geniuses who wrote the US Constitution in 1787.

So, this just proves that the general election campaign has already started with President Obama staking out his position 'just in case' the Court rules against him in this case and announces their decision in late June this summer.

He will run against the 'mean old conservative justices' on the Supreme Court who were nominated by Reagan, Bush 41 and 43 and seek to make the case to the American people they need to return him to a second term to appoint more 'competent and understanding' justices between 2013-2017.

'This is 'judicial activism' in its most egregious form!' President Obama and his handlers will scream if the Court rules against the individual mandate which may undo the entire health care law itself.

Blasting the Supreme Court is as old as the Republic itself.  Both sides have done it going back to the days of the Federalists of John Adams days and the Democratic Republicans under Thomas Jefferson who disliked the courts so much that he one time zeroed out the entire budget for the judiciary in his annual budget submission!

We just thought President Obama would know better.  He is a constitutional professor after all...and we are not.


(Editor's Note: Frank Hill's resumé includes working as chief of staff for Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Alex McMillan, serving on the House Budget Committee and serving on the Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He takes on politics from a fiercely independent perspective at the blog Telemachus).

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