This past February, a federal District Court judge in San Francisco declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Not a peep was heard from President Obama.
The same month, a federal judge in the Middle District of Louisiana struck down a Bayou State law barring convicted sex offenders from using Facebook and other social media. There was nary a discouraging word from the president.
Then, also in February, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Oklahoma cannot enforce an amendment to its state constitution prohibiting state judges from basing decisions on Koranic or international law. POTUS was mute.
Well, yesterday, Mr. Obama finally decided to speak out on judicial activism.
Not about the outrageous court decisions in San Francisco, Louisiana and Oklahoma, mind you, but about the U.S. Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare).
“I’d just remind conservative commentators,” the president said, “that, for years, what we have 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, the president, added, “this is a good example.” And he all but threatened the High Court – that is, its conservative majority – that he would spend much of his re-election campaign bashing them if they dare to overturn Obamacare, the central legislative accomplishment – if it can be called that – of his presidency.
But Mr. Obama is in no position to play the judicial activism card.
Not when he said nothing about the unrestrained, politically-motivated judge in San Francisco who found DOMA unconstitutional, notwithstanding that the 1996 law was approved by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of Congress (in contrast to the narrow, Democrat-only majority by which Obamacare became law).
Not when he said nothing about the activist judge in Louisiana who struck down the duly constituted and passed state law that reasonably aims to prevent convicted sex offenders from using social networking sites to find under-age prey.
And not when he didn’t call out the unelected 10th Circuit, which overruled an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment approved by 70 percent of voters in the Sooner State, who want their state court cases decided by state and federal law, rather than foreign or other law.
So President Obama really isn’t opposed to judicial activism. He’s just gnashing his teeth that the all-too-common practice by liberal judges and liberal courts may come home to roost this upcoming June with a decision by the High Court’s conservative majority to overturn Obamacare.