Monday, April 16, 2012

An Open Letter to President Barack H. Obama, Constitutional Scholar

From: Kevin M.
Sent: April 16, 2012
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: An Open Letter to President Barack H. Obama, Constitutional Scholar

| April 2, 2012 | Jeff Schreiber
President Barack H. Obama
Dear Mr. President,
Supposedly, you are some sort of constitutional scholar. At the very least, you can read, you can write, and despite being merely some sort of guest lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, you once famously referred to yourself as a “Constitutional Law professor.”
Ringing a bell so far, Mr. President? Great.
While my Juris Doctor is from the Rutgers School of Law in Camden, New Jersey, and while Rutgers-Camden is hardly Harvard Law School, within the first three days of Constitutional Law class those who did not already know of and understand perhaps the single most important decision in the history of the United States Supreme Court were introduced to Marbury v. Madison.

In Marbury, the United States Supreme Court held that federal courts across our nation not only have the authority, but also the duty, to review the constitutionality of acts of Congress–including statutes and treaties–and to designate as void those acts of Congress which countermand the United States Constitution. The term you’re searching for between those flappy ears of yours, Mr. President, is “judicial review.” And, while it has been nearly two years since I opened up a Constitutional Law book and can now debate divorce and family law in South Carolina better than I can the Constitution, I recall enough from law school and bar exam study to know that the doctrine of “judicial review” is now settled law.

In other words, since the landmark Marbury decision came down from the Court you belittle as “unelected” in 1803, because of “judicial review,” federal courts in the United States of America have the power–and duty–to review laws passed by Congress, decide whether or not those laws either comport with our Constitution or countermand it, and either uphold those laws that pass constitutional muster or declare void those laws that do not.

Not a difficult concept, Mr. President. Not a difficult concept for a first-year law student at Rutgers-Camden, and certainly not a difficult concept for a Harvard Law grad who lectured on Constitutional Law at University of Chicago Law School and later went on to deceive a nation into crowning him president of the United States. This ain’t race-baiting or class warfare, Mr. President, but Marbury and judicial review should nonetheless certainly be in your wheelhouse.

So, what’s the problem? Earlier today, according to Fox News and other sources,this apparently happened:
President Obama, employing his strongest language to date on the Supreme Court review of the federal health care overhaul, cautioned the court Monday against overturning the law — while repeatedly saying he’s “confident” it will be upheld.

The president spoke at length about the case at a joint press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. The president, adopting what he described as the language of conservatives who fret about judicial activism, questioned how an “unelected group of people” could overturn a law approved by Congress.
“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.
Those statements are so indicative of ignorance of not only Constitutional Law but basic civics that I don’t even know where to begin.

First, even a second-grader understand[s] that the the United States Government is split into three separate branches in order to insulate one from another and provide checks and balances for each. While it is easy to understand how a totalitarian like yourself would have trouble distinguishing the lines between the various branches; after all, you have an established penchant for making illegitimate recess appointments and facilitating regulatory and other extra-legislative mechanisms designed to eschew and usurp the traditional role of the Legislative Branch — is it no surprise that you are utterly incapable of understanding why Justices of the United States Supreme Court are indeed unelected?

Second, that you would preemptively describe as “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” the prospective decision by the Supreme Court that your signature piece of legislation is unconstitutional and therefore void shows that your ignorance is surpassed only by your myopic inability to see past your political ideology and goals. According to the Congressional Research Service’s The Constitution of the United States, Analysis and Interpretation (the 2008 supplement, pages 163-164, in case you’re looking), as of 2010 the United States Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional and therefore void a whopping 163 acts of Congress. You do know what “unprecedented” means, right? The Supreme Court overturning ObamaCare would hardly be “unprecedented” — perhaps it could be “unprecedented, unless you count those previous 163 precedents.”

Want to know what is “unprecedented,” Mr. President? Congress forcing free Americans into private contracts and penalizing those who disobey. That’s unprecedented.

At this point, Mr. President, just give up. Please. Every time you denigrate the Court and its Justices, who have more legal knowledge in their smallest toenail than you have in your entire body, you look more and more like the dullard that you apparently truly are. No wonder you don’t want to release your transcripts — any undergraduate student who fails to understand the most basic concept of Separation of Powers and any law student that fails to understand the settled doctrine of judicial review probably did not have marks worthy of tacking on the refrigerator door.

I understand that, ideologically, your signature piece of health care legislation is the perfect progressive fix. I understand how it works. I understand how it slowly but surely interferes with insurers’ ability to assess risk and thus slowly but surely facilitates an increase in premium costs, therefore driving more and more people to clamor for a government fix. It’s a brilliant political maneuver.

But it’s also unconstitutional.

And when the Justices of the United States Supreme Court tell you as much mere weeks before November’s election, it will not be because they are “unelected,” nor will it be because they somehow don’t understand the legislation. The law simply runs afoul of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, and no amount of “strong majority of a democratically elected Congress” will change that.
Wave the white flag, Mr. President. Or, preferably, you can continue to make a fool of yourself. In my Trial Advocacy class at Rutgers-Camden, after all, we were taught how do deal with opposing counsel who was floundering in front of a judge or jury: sit tight, smile, and just let it happen.

Now, Rutgers-Camden is a fine school, but it sure ain’t Harvard. Nevertheless, I’m the one who is sitting tight and smiling.

Good luck with your re-election.
Jeffrey M. Schreiber, Esq.

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