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SUPREME COURT: Obama needs a civics lesson

Letter by Matthew Philichi, Gig Harbor on April 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm with 67 Comments »
April 4, 2012 1:43 pm

Our founding fathers were incredibly intelligent. They saw the many governments that had risen and fallen in man’s history. They realized that the past was littered with one rogue dictator after another. They set our government up with three different branches. They knew that with the checks and balances of legislative, judicial and executive branches, that the absolute control of its citizens would be impossible.

On Monday, President Obama warned the U.S. Supreme Court not to throw out Obamacare (TNT, 4-3). He said that it would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary step.” Perhaps Obama should be required to attend high school civics class again. Hopefully the textbook and teacher would be able to explain the job of the Supreme Court: to rule if the law is constitutional and, if not, why not.

Why is it that left-wingers like Obama are always at odds with our country’s founding documents? Perhaps it is they that our founding fathers were trying to protect us from.

Leave a comment Comments → 67
  1. sandblower says:

    A ridiculous premise gives a ridiculous conclusion. Read Dowd in today’s NY Times for another take on the Supremes. Her’s is much better grounded in reason and fact.
    Drawing a conclusion from nothing is a fallacy of the first order. When did you stop beating your wife Mr. Philichi?

  2. So, in your world, Mr Philichi, no member of Congress should ever question or make a negative statement about the other branches?

    That certainly would put a halter on the unceasing criticism of those who have nothing good to say about Obama.

    I’ll look for your comments berating any Congress member who dares to state Obama took an unprecedented or extraordinary action.

  3. Yep…the Founding Fathers took a firm stand against broccoli!

  4. velmak – I prefer John Dean’s columns.

  5. John Dean, at least he has studied law and passed the bar–eventhough he was disbarred after Watergate.

  6. In fact Scalia’s allusion to “brocolli” was quite appropriate, Dodd’s incredulity not withstanding. If both food and insurance are national markets, and the government can require someone to buy insurance for a sex change, the government can also require someone to buy brocolli for good nutrition. The sentiment for Obamacare does not invalidate that logic.

  7. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Read Dowd in today’s NY Times for another take on the Supremes.

    So the forlorn hack, Maureen Dowd, Doesn’t like THIS SCOTUS makeup – wa, wa, wa. But from her perspective, as grim a picture as she tries to paint she nevertheless is only able to cite two examples in the last 11 1/2 years. Hardly convincing.

    Her’s is much better grounded in reason and fact.

    LMAO, well Dowdy got one thing right:

    “President 0bama never should have waded into the health care thicket back when the economy was teetering. He should have listened to David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel and not Michelle.

    His failure from the start to sell his plan or even explain it is bizarre and self-destructive. And certainly he needs a more persuasive solicitor general.”

    Right-on, sister!

    But for anyone who thinks her argument otherwise persuasive, all one has to do is ask two simple questions:

    1) How have the liberal justices vote on the any cases Dowd finds contentious, and
    2) Would Dowd have the same objections if Kennedy exclusively voted with the solid left block of Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer?

    Sour grapes, sand III.

    This whole narrative, from the president on down to sandhills reminds me of the kid who wants to quit before the game’s over… ’cause he/ she knows their teams’ gonna’ lose – wa, wa, wa.

    But that the “constitutional lawyer/ constitutional professor” (oft-repeated lie) in-cheif apparently doesn’t know or understand the function of the judicial branch – as so effectively enunciated by 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith – is beyond baffling. Isn’t 0bama supposed to be the smartest guy in the world?


  8. aislander says:

    Nice job, Vox.

    This is all about the left’s infatuation with any means towards their desired ends. They love the Court when it is discovering an emanation of a penumbra in the goat’s entrails their guys prefer to the actual Constitution, but the document as written and amended? Not so much…

    (And by “written,” I mean not doing what’s not there as well as adhering to what is)

  9. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Giving a civics lesson to Obama would be a waste of time. You cannot teach anything to a person who believes in his own intellectual infallibility. Obama believes everything he says regardless of content. Arrogance and hubris are dangerous personality traits, especially for the man who lives in the white house.

  10. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Yup, when I see Dowdy complaining about Kennedy’s pro-gay rights and pro-abortion rulings I’ll believe she really gives one flippin’ rip about impartiality. She doesn’t, of course – just conservative impartiality… whatever she thinks that is.

  11. cargilekm says:

    Mr. Phillichi needs to go back and read some history himself. Not too many dictators in government at the time of the founding of this great nation. I seem to remember that most countries were lead by Kings and Queens. Sort of family business’s.

  12. So giving his opinion to the court is somehow a violation in Phillichi’s mind?
    Wow, the partisanship of the right has gone lower than I thought.

  13. Pacman33 says:

    Completely un-presidential. You would think a law professor would be more responsible than to absurdly suggest that only an “unelected group of people” in an act of “judicial activism” could find his Health Care Debacle unconstitutional … again.

    It is a disgrace to our nation when we see our highest elected official shamefully browbeating justices, Chicago-Style, knowing damn well they’re in the process of deliberation. Once you think 0bama couldn’t abuse the power of the executive any further, he raises the bar even closer to an imperial presidency, if not blantant tyranny. In accompaniment with overstepping congress amongst several other overreaches, 0bama’s petulance and narcissism is fueling a whole regime of runaway power in DC.

    0bama has no respect for the Supreme Court, moreover, he has no respect for our Constitution and governmental system in general. The president’s remarks should have sent a chilling effect on all Americans.

  14. Actually Pacman? Not chilled at all. In this country we have free speech. He wasn’t abusing his executive powers or overriding them. He didn’t use bad words, or rant or threaten. He was expressing an opinion. But hey, its okay though to call a young female college student vile degrading names for nine hours on a radio show but heaven forbid our President should express an opinion.

  15. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    You would think a law professor would be more responsible…

    You would, but then he isn’t… a “law professor” that is – never was. He was a “guest lecturer” at UC.

    And no, “the one” will simply not be held responsible for anything – not while that big tough “straw man” he’s always taking swipes at is out there. Oh, but he did take responsibility for decisions that “eliminated dozens of programs that weren’t working”… but the savings from these eliminations amount to less than 0.1% of the budget, or less than $100 million.

    Remind me again; how much did he give Solindra?

    In the mean time, his campaign rhetoric has gone from claiming his “entire career has been a testimony to American exceptionalism” (okay, not hyperbole, just plain delusional) on Monday to insulting the judicial branch and directing the most ridiculous and inflammatory hyperbole I have ever heard from a sitting president, toward Republicans in general and Paul Ryan in particular.

    Getting more desperate by the hour.

  16. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    And speaking of budgets, his proposed budget for this year went down in the House by a vote of 413 to 0. How in the hell does anyone who pushes a budget proposal that is so unrealistic it doesn’t even garner a single vote from his own party have the gall to criticize anyone else’s budget?

    In four years he hasn’t gotten a single budget proposal past his own party. This year it was unanimous in the House.


  17. Frankenchrist says:

    The Republican Party has declared Total War on Women.

  18. sandblower says:

    And Robert Bork as an example of anything reasonable is amazingly turgid.
    Velmak’s explanation of the insurance market and the broccoli market shows he has not a clue about which he writes. Amazing again that people put themselves again and again in embarrassing positions and don’t seem to mind that they are digging a bigger and bigger hole.
    The difference is that people are already in the food market and participate freely. The important word is participate. Everyone is also in the healthcare market whether they believe it or not and when they opt out of buying insurance they are not participating. One does not go the grocery store and expect food unless one is participating in the program. One cannot go to the doctor and expect care unless one is participating in the program and everyone will eventually go to the doctor. If you don’t buy insurance you pay your own bills and you pay a penalty for not participating because there is a good chance that you eventually will not be able to pay all your own bills.
    Wouldn’t a single payer system be so much simpler! You betcha.
    The fact that Scalia did not appear to understand the broccoli question is really unbelievable for one who is supposed to be so very bright. Could he be just a little bit political? Nahhhhh.

  19. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Utter the applicable noun “delusional” – look what you get:

    The Republican Party has declared Total War on Women.

    Can we call the “relevance” cop?


  20. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Typical progressive, liberal, democrat.

    Still upset the #ows movement failed?

  21. Frankenchrist says:

    Independent women voters flocking away from the GOP:


    Obama = Cakewalk
    Romney = Dukakis

  22. HistoryFan says:

    Stick to the article at hand. The President is a graduate from Harvard Law School. He was once a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. Is it possible one or both of these institutions forgot to teach that the Supreme Court is supposed to review law to see if it is or is not constitutional? Of course he knows that yet he looks at people who read and respond to these blogs as idiots or in this case, useful idiots (useful to his cause). President Obama is so bold in his lying either he is believing in his stories or is banking on an uneducated bunch of Kool Aid drinkers to swallow whatever he says.

  23. Frankenchrist says:

    Speaking of legal minds, Clarence Thomas has to be the stupidest person to ever sit on the SCOTUS. He never, ever asks any questions or even speaks during oral arguments. The other justices ask all manner of pointed and clarifying questions, but not Clarence. He just sits there with a blank look, occasionally nodding off and snoring. He is afraid to open his mouth and reveal to the world his utter ignorance of the law.

    Remember a last year when his wife got all drunk and began harassing Anita Hill with those 3:00 AM phone calls? That was soooooo weird. Of course, what do you expect from a couple who officiated at Rush Limbaugh’s sixth (or was it his seventh) wedding. What a ceremony: they didn’t toss rice; they tossed Viagra.

  24. Still upset the #ows movement failed?

    You really like making a fool of yourself…..
    Whether or not the #ows movement fails or succeeds hasn’t been determined yet.

    OWS Updates for the Week of April 4

  25. The SC5 – who are concerned about broccoli overreach of the government – have ruled that anyone arrested for any misdemeanor may be subjected to a strip search.

    The Heritage-foundation recommended Individual Mandate is to be seen as providing too much power to the government yet the police-state is expanded to include strip-searches for Jay-walking.

    To try to pretend that this Court Majority is somehow “originalist” or concerned about individual liberties is laughable.

  26. Recent pivotal cases seem to suggest that the conservative justices, whoever they may be, put their personal politics, not law or reason, first in their decisions. In Bush v. Gore, for example, justices Scalia, Rehnquist and Thomas reversed nearly all of their previous interpretations of “states’ rights” and the “Equal Protection” clause in over-ruling the Florida Supreme Court. In the recent “Citizens United” case the thin conservative majority created new law and over-ruled previous precedents in claiming free-speech rights for corporations, rights that they had been rather stingy in granting to actual people. At least one of the justices, Clarence Thomas, almost never asks a question, and seems to have been clearly and predictably guided throughout his career on the bench by an internal ideology, inflexibly reactionary.

  27. Sorry velmak – I think Charles Fried has more legal credentials than you:

    [F]ormer Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried was scaldingly critical of the willingness of the conservative bloc of Supreme Court justices to traffic in some of the most well-worn Tea Party tropes about Obamacare.

    “I was appalled to see that at least a couple of them were repeating the most tendentious of the Tea Party type arguments,” Fried said. “I even heard about broccoli. The whole broccoli argument is beneath contempt. To hear it come from the bench was depressing.”

  28. It is time to give Samuel Chase some company in the history books…

  29. “Getting more desperate by the hour”

    Yes, and your party will get more and more desperate the closer we get to the election.

  30. “0bama has no respect for the Supreme Court”

    First off, he doesn’t have to have any respect for the court They don’t deserve anyones respect! They sold out to the GOP years ago and tow the party line.
    Their citizens united decision alone should have most of them up on treason charges!

    Respect is for those that earn it and this court hasn’t.

  31. aislander says:

    kluwer writes: “Respect is for those that earn it…”

    That’s okay. I still respect the office of the presidency…

  32. aislander says:

    cargilekm asserts that there were no dictatorships as such at the time of the American Revolution and he is correct as far as it goes.

    The first modern dictatorships were those of Robespierre and, especially, Napoleon, and they were products of the very leftist French Revolution, and they came not long after ours…

  33. the3rdpigshouse says:

    A marxist and communist dictator wanna-be like “OH-Bummer” finds the Constitution detrimental to his “transformational” agenda for the USA!!!

  34. menopaws says:

    This conservative leaning court gave us GEORGE JR. as our President……….If that doesn’t curl your brain about their partisan activism take yourself on a trip to Iraq or Afghanistan…….A gift courtesy of that “non-partisan” court.
    The President is allowed to speak his opinion. Personally I find Scalia to be a mediocre mind who belongs coaching a debate team…..His remark about broccoli was just damn stupid…..Clarence Thomas is a sexual predator—-this ain’t a group I would invite into my home……George Bush alone is enough to make me puke……….We all got our civics lesson—just wonder when these Justices get theirs…….Corporate cash of an unlimited and undisclosed nature in campaigns, and strip searches of anyone detained by the police are their last gifts of value to this country……JUst makes you burst with pride doesn’t it???

  35. Good Lord, menopaws…really, get a therapist! Maybe you and frankenberry can carpool.

    This whole discussion slays me. All of a sudden people who have been thrilled by judicial activism for years are now aghast to think that there might be a hint of bias among these justices. There’s a reason there’s a panel of judges, and not just one. They are human, therefore their personal views will enter into their ruminations, but this does not mean that said views will rule their final decision — and again, there are eight others on deck to weigh in.

  36. aislander says:

    beerBoy: Fried, who voted for President Obama, said of the individual mandate, “It may not be a good idea, but I don’t see why it’s unconstitutional.”

    He was half right.

  37. “That’s okay. I still respect the office of the presidency…”

    I doubt that very much, but I was on the same page during the failed bush regime.

  38. LornaDoone says:

    Matthew is challenging Obama on Constitutional law? Oh boy….

  39. “He was half right.”

    Beats your record by 50%.

  40. LornaDoone says:

    ” Arrogance and hubris are dangerous personality traits,”

    BSRichard posted this??????

  41. aislander says:

    sozo: kluwer seems to think that he and I are having a conversation.

    We’re not.

  42. What SCOTUS needs are judges to replace the right wing politicians in robes.

  43. Lest the pig headed among us forget – Bush II called the Constitution an inconvenient piece of paper.

  44. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    sozo: kluwer seems to think that he and I are having a conversation.

    We’re not.


    Larna, care to elaborate on what makes 0bama a more qualified expert on the Constitution than Matt? Certainly wouldn’t be based on his comments of late or his actions since taking office.

    Maybe you could come up with his transcripts from school, or a constitutional case on which he prevailed or even participated, or… hell, anything he ever wrote before accepting the “guest lecturer” position at CU.

    Love to see it.

    BTW Larna, on another topic, have you seen where CNN is now saying you don’t know the difference between “coon” and “cold”? Apparently they (CNN) do now.


    Three major networks forced to walk back their attempts to gin up the story, and shortbread left twisting in the wind. Funny, I don’t see that on the front page of the New York Times.

    My apologies, back to the topic.

  45. Vox, well said! Maybe we’ll see some of his scholastic work before the next election? Don’t bet on it.

  46. aislander, kluwer needs someone to argue with. It gets awful lonely there in the basement.

  47. menopaws says:

    He Vox–post your school transcripts…….We all could use a good laugh……As far as needing a therapist—anyone who thinks strip searches are okay after a traffic stop is the one who needs therapy……Or, do you want to pose on a video for Limbaugh? I’m sure he invites Thomas over to watch with him–he performed the marriage with either the 3rd. or 4th wife for Limbaugh. Real kindred spirits those two……

  48. Looks like the right is having a circle j…..well never mind.

  49. “All of a sudden people who have been thrilled by judicial activism for years are now aghast to think that there might be a hint of bias among these justices”

    I enjoy pointing out the hypocrisy of the far right.

  50. I get through reading threads a lot faster aislander, having made the decision to scroll past certain predictably absurd commentary. I fear that kluwer IS feeling lonely, thus the attempt to engage you perhaps.

  51. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Incredibly juvenile comments from the left. Bb and lardnos must be proud.

  52. whitecap says:

    I don’t care if you’re right, middle, or left. Mr. Philichi is correct: President Obama needs a civics lesson. If you say otherwise, I’m sorry, but you are wrong.

  53. averageJoseph says:

    Same here sozo.

  54. sandblower, look up “turgid” in the dictionary. Your use of it makes as little sense as the rest of your screed. At least you are consistently obtuse.

  55. the3rdpigshouse says:

    This dictator wanna-be “OH-Bummer” finds our Constitution an impediment to the completion of his marxist agenda!!!

  56. LornaDoone says:

    “have you seen where CNN is now saying you don’t know the difference between “coon” and “cold”?”

    So Joe Oliver, spokesperson for George Zimmerman couldn’t sell “goons” and we now have someone speaking for CNN (the link isn’t CNN)

    Tell you what, I’m going to say that Fox said Zimmerman was guilty, and all of their on-air personalities were wrong. I’ll create the link later.

    “Unidentified Male” is the real impressive part of the story on the non-CNN website that claims “CNN said such and such” (Actually Wolfie)

    I guess the next time that Media Matters says something about Fox it’s correct, right?

  57. averageJoseph says:

    You’re a real peice of work Mr. Hill.

  58. Incredibly juvenile comments from the left. Bb and lardnos must be proud.

    “lardnos”….another adult display of creating insults by changing individual’s screennames.

    Gawd how I love your self-parody. You guys are really funny.

  59. Well I know I’m on the correct side of the issues and telling the truth, the rightists are claiming to ignore me!
    That alone is the best endorsement anyone could receive!
    The juvenile name calling, the insults the attacks, flame bating it all leads up to them admitting defeat and only claiming to ignore.

  60. “Incredibly juvenile comments from the left”

    More hypocrisy from the right.

  61. averageJoseph says:

    He needs more than a civics lesson. His math skills and vocabulary still seem to be askew.

    “Ultimately, 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,”
    The House has 435 members. In March 2010, Democrats held a 75-seat majority. Obamacare passed by seven votes…

    The Supreme Court routinely reviews laws passed by Congress and either upholds or overturns them. For Obama to suggest that such an action would be unique in American history is something of a head-scratcher Duh.


  62. Pacman33 says:

    Obama is waging war against history, Constitution or reality?

    He must be waging some kinds of war.

    I’m sure of it.

  63. aislander says:

    President Obama’s former constitutional-law professor said Obama was wrong on this–although he attributed it to “misspeaking.”

  64. averageJoseph says:

    Ha ha…

  65. Obama – who is a consummate politician – most likely made his “error” with full awareness and said it to set-up a campaign point. The perception amongst the Left is that the Gang of 5 are ideologically driven judicial activists and – even if they realize what an abysmal triangulating sell-out to corporate/military-industrial-complex interests that Obama is – they may still be driven to support another term by him for the sole reason to that it would take the next SC nomination out of the hands of a Republican.

    I know that would be the only reason I would consider voting for him.

  66. Awkward use of pronoun in post above. “They” should reference “the Left” but my sentence structure has it referencing “the Gang of 5″.

  67. I think the president was very intentional in what he said and did last week. As bBoy says, he is a consummate politician — always setting things up well in advance. The man’s hubris is practically visible.

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