Obama Justice Department under deadline to answer court over Obama’s health law comments

April 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured Stories, Politics

 

(FOXNEWS)   The Obama Justice Department has roughly 24 hours to explain to a federal appeals court whether the administration believes judges have the power to overturn federal laws — in the latest escalation between the two branches of government over the federal health care overhaul.

A three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to explain by Thursday at noon whether the administration believes judges have that authority. The challenge came after President Obama cautioned the Supreme Court against overturning the health care law and warned that such an act would be “unprecedented.”

One justice in particular chided the administration for what he said was being perceived as a “challenge” to judicial authority — referring directly to Obama’s latest comments about the Supreme Court case.

The testy exchange played out during a hearing over a separate ObamaCare challenge. It marked a new phase in the budding turf war between the executive and judicial branches.

“Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?” Judge Jerry Smith asked at the hearing.

Justice Department attorney Dana Lydia Kaersvang answered “yes” to that question.

A source inside the courtroom, speaking to Fox News afterward, described the questioning by Smith as pointed.

Smith also made clear during that exchange that he was “referring to statements by the president in the past few days to the effect … that it is somehow inappropriate for what he termed unelected judges to strike acts of Congress.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5-5wjAQJhM

“That has troubled a number of people who have read it as somehow a challenge to the federal courts or to their authority,” Smith said. “And that’s not a small matter.”

Smith ordered a response from the department within 48 hours. The related letter from the court, obtained by Fox News, instructed the Justice Department to provide an explanation of “no less than three pages, single spaced” by noon on Thursday.

All three judges on the panel are Republican appointees.

The Justice Department had no comment when asked about the exchange.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, though, told Fox News that there’s no dispute from the administration regarding the courts’ authority to strike down laws.

“Of course we believe that the Supreme Court has, and the courts have, as their duty and responsibility the ability of striking down laws as unconstitutional,” Carney said Tuesday.

However, he said the president was specifically referring to “the precedent under the Commerce Clause” regarding a legislature’s ability to address “challenges to our national economy.”

The most significant Supreme Court case hinges on the question of whether the individual mandate to buy health insurance violates the Commerce Clause. The administration argues it does not.

Though Carney said the president did not misspeak when he discussed the case on Monday, Obama was not quite so specific.

“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,” Obama said on Monday. “And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

Obama reiterated his stance on Tuesday, saying the court has traditionally shown “deference” to Congress and that “the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this.”

Carney said that Obama was expressing the point that on national economic challenges, “there should be due deference paid as a matter of precedent to our democratically elected officials.”

 http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/04/justice-department-under-deadline-to-answer-court-over-obamas-health-law/#ixzz1r5EECmsX

Comments

4 Responses to “Obama Justice Department under deadline to answer court over Obama’s health law comments”
  1. robertsgt40 says:

    "..has roughly 24 hours to explain to a federal appeals court whether the administration believes judges have the power to overturn federal laws…" The real question should be does Congress have the authority(not) to pass unconstitutional laws mandating individuals purchase goods/services?

  2. nowitall says:

    The real question is, did the Constitution give the Supreme Court the right to declare laws passed by the people’s Congress as Constitutional or not. The answer is no. The Supreme Court gave themselves that right in Marbury vs. Madison. Before that case, the SC did not decide the Constitutionality of laws. Since that case, an unelected group of individuals sitting on the SC for life have usurped a power once held exclusively by the People.

  3. Road to hell... says:

    Federal rights under the commerce clause were to prevent states from engaging in anti-competitive practices such has placing tariffs on out-of-state goods. Commerce is defined as "the buying and selling of GOODS, esp. between cities, states or countries."

    So what is under consideration is the Racketeering Clause, in which citizens are commodified as goods to be delivered to legal mafias known as insurance companies. The State provides the muscle, mandating its unwilling citizens spend an unregulated proportion of their income on a defective product.

    When healthcare reached the top of Washington’s to-do list, it was because Congress needed to help make healthcare affordable. What came out the other end is the scapegoating of those who can’t afford healthcare as deadbeats. As some wag put it the other day, we don’t have healthcare; what we have now is wealthcare.

  4. amicusbriefs says:

    Constitutional infirmities? By infirmity, one assumes they mean weakness. A more accurate etymology would indicate disease. In this case, a congenital defect arising from the delusion of: that which is created, a branch of government, can exercise absolute authority over its creator, the people.

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