Did Obama just threaten to overturn a Supreme Court Decision?

By LUIS R. MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | APRIL 3, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama publicly challenged the Supreme Court Justices on Monday, reminding them that they are not elected officials. This action comes in light of what could be a declaration by the Supreme Court of the United States, that Obamacare is indeed unconstitutional. Last week, during the hearing sessions, defenders of the government controlled health care program were continuously grilled by conservative and liberal Justices, who defied Obama administration spokespeople to explain why should the government have the power to obligate individuals to buy a product they did not want or did not need.

On Monday, Obama said the Justices had to be very careful with their decision, and that if they declared the law unconstitutional, such decision would impact the government’s capacity to provide healthcare to a portion of the population. “The president challenged the “unelected” Supreme Court not to take the “extraordinary” and “unprecedented” step of overturning his landmark health reform law,” reports the news agency AFP. Will the “unelected” adjective be Barack Obama’s next move to save his healthcare bill which for now seems to have strong opposition among the Supreme Court Justices? Will he claim that due to the unelected nature of the Justices’ position their decision can be overturned by the president? This is not a far fetched scenario for a man who has said that he does not need Congress’ approval to send US troops to war because he has a mandate from the United Nations to carry out military strikes anywhere in the world.

“Ultimately, I am 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,” said Obama. The U.S. president added that even Republicans rejected Supreme Court decisions that according to them were made based on activism as supposed to on objective interpretation of the laws. Obama intends to shield his healthcare law against a Court decision that may have a tight vote. Instead of focusing on whether there is a constitutional power for the president or the central federal government to mandate that citizens buy insurance, or broccoli, for that matter, Obama is trying to distract the public with his assertion that if Obamacare is thrown out, such a decision might be invalid because the Supreme Court Justices are not directly appointed by the people of the United States.Mr. Obama forgets that it is the president who decides who to recommend for a seat at the Supreme Court and that all presidents have done so in the past.

“I am pretty confident that this court will recognize its duty and not take that step,” Obama said while speaking in the Rose Garden.Mr. Obama’s comments outside the White House are seen as a warning to the Supreme Court, one of the three branches of government that Barack Obama has forcefully tried to turn into one during his first term in the highest office. Besides the fact that the Justices are not directly elected by the people, Obama also argued that there is a “human element” to his law and that this is one of the strongest reasons for the Justices to vote Yes on Obamacare. In the past, Obama has questioned and dismissed Congress’ powers and independence to carry out the people’s business and has said that he will make decisions unilaterally should Congress refuse to pass any legislation that he deems necessary. This is a surprising statement if it is taken into account that this Congress has approved laws such as the National Defense Authorization Act, that allows the president to kidnap, torture and kill any individual, American or otherwise, within the United States territory or elsewhere, if he or she is considered a suspect of aiding terrorists groups.

Many Republicans and independents who oppose Obamacare argue that the passage of this law provides the government with powers that go beyond the real conceded by the U.S. Constitution. Forcing individuals to buy a product, in this case healthcare, is an unprecedented action; perhaps even more than the Supreme Court ruling Obamacare unconstitutional or even what Obama called “judicial activism”. “It’s not that common for presidents to get into direct verbal confrontations with the Supreme Court,” said Georgetown University law professor Louis Michael Seidman to Reuters. “But it’s also not that common for the Supreme Court to threaten to override one of the president’s central legislative accomplishments.” In the meantime, Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney said through his spokesperson Andrea Saul, that “What was ‘unprecedented’ was the partisan process President Obama used to shove this unconstitutional bill through.” Ms. Saul added that Mitt Romney plans to repeal Obamacare if he is elected the next president of the United States.

The most challenged aspect of Obamacare is the individual mandate, which obligates people to buy healthcare from the Federal government, even if they don’t want it or don’t need it. A decision by the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare but to throw out the individual mandate, wouldn’t be good news for Obama either. It is through the mandatory payment made by all citizens that the government will collect money to pay for the socialist leaning healthcare package. “I think the justices should understand that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care,” Obama said. What Obama meant is that without forcing people to pay their share, Obamacare would not have the necessary funding to give free healthcare to everyone Obama promised to give it to during his political campaign. Of course, Obamacare has nothing to do with bringing healthcare to more people. It has everything to do with having an all mighty government that tells people what they can and can’t do, or what they must and mustn’t do. It is not necessary to force anyone to buy healthcare from the government in order to allow people with pre-existing conditions, for example to have care, as Obama wants everyone to believe. All he has to do is send a law to Congress that mandates that insurance corporations allow coverage for those people with pre-existing conditions. But is not going to happen, because it was precisely the insurance industry the one that wrote Obamacare.

As many critics of Obamacare have mentioned, this is another tool for wealth redistribution born inside an administration that believes that the government is responsible for taking care of everyone and everything and that has been aided by the insurance industry to give more power to themselves.

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Obamacare Ruled Unconstitutional

The ruling breaks apart the obligation of individuals to carry health insurance, the section known as individual mandate.

WSJ

A federal judge ruled Monday that a central plank of the health law violates the Constitution, dealing the biggest setback yet to the Obama administration’s signature legislative accomplishment.

In a 42-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said the law’s requirement that most Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.”

The lawsuit, brought by Virginia’s attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, is the first court ruling against the law since President Barack Obama signed it in March. More than 20 federal lawsuits have been filed against the overhaul, and judges in two of those cases ruled in favor of the Obama administration.

While Monday’s decision creates a headache for the law’s supporters, it doesn’t mean that states or the federal government must stop implementing the law.

Judge Hudson didn’t grant the plaintiffs’ request for an immediate nationwide injunction against the entire law or against the requirement that most Americans carry insurance. That requirement begins in 2014.

The judge also said that his ruling only strikes down the requirement to carry insurance, known as the individual mandate, and the provisions of the law that are directly dependent on it.

The Supreme Court is ultimately expected to settle the issue after the Virginia case and other similar ones wind their way though the courts.

Obama administration officials say the ruling amounts to an attack on one of the law’s most popular provisions—the ban on insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions. They say that piece of the law cannot work unless coupled with a requirement that nearly all Americans carry insurance.

The administration has played down the outcome of this particular case, characterizing it as having received outsize importance because of Mr. Cuccinelli’s visibility.

“We are confident that this law is constitutional, and we are confident that the Supreme Court when, and if, it hears this case will agree that it’s constitutional,” an administration official said.

For opponents of the law, Monday’s ruling is the first victory in a multifaceted attack designed to help Republicans take back the White House in 2012. Republicans see the court battle as one way to show their opposition to voters who have shown skepticism toward the law.

The health overhaul is designed to expand insurance to 32 million Americans by giving lower earners tax credits to help them buy insurance and widening eligibility for the Medicaid federal-state insurance program for the poor. Without the requirement to carry insurance, the Obama administration predicts, the law would leave an additional 16 million Americans uninsured.

Judge Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, said the individual mandate “would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers.”

He added: “At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate.”

Separately, federal Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Fla., will hear arguments Thursday in a challenge brought by officials in 20 states, and he could offer the clearest indication yet of how he will rule.