The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has called Obama’s bluff. The appeals court has ordered the Justice Department (DOJ) to answer whether the Obama administration believes the courts have the right to strike down a federal law.
The appeals court is hearing a separate challenge to Obamacare by physician-owned hospitals. After the DOJ’s attorney began her argument, Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if the DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law.
The court’s order comes after Obama’s recent comments that he was confident the Supreme Court would 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.” However, overturning unconstitutional law is precisely the role of the Supreme Court – a power that has been asserted since 1803. Marbury v. Madison established and solidified the basic principle of judicial review over 200 years ago. But who needs judicial review and precedent when Obama can make up the rules for you?
Yes, justices must practice judicial restraint but where a law is clearly unconstitutional, it must be struck down. It is not considered judicial activism or showing a lack of judicial restraint when the Supreme Court reviews laws passed by Congress that clearly exceed congressional authority. That is exactly the task they were charged to do according to our Constitution.
To follow the Obamacare debate more closely, check out the video from our recent Lunch & Learn event.