President Obama went out on a limb Monday, predicting that the Supreme Court would not overturn his signature health-care overhaul, even though several members of the court's conservative wing appear poised to declare that the law's centerpiece, the individual mandate to buy health insurance, is unconstitutional. The president says he thinks the court will realize that such an "unprecedented step" — negating the work of a majority of both chambers of Congress — would amount to the same kind of "judicial activism" that conservatives have been complaining about for years. Could such a loaded stand backfire on Obama?
Obama might regret taking on the court: It was a mistake for Obama to "declare war" on the court, says Jon Meacham at TIME. "Presidents can safely run against Congress" — a widely despised institution — but voters don't like hearing assaults on the court itself, probably because Americans believe "life needs umpires, even ones who blow calls now and then." Obama should have been more subtle to avoid frightening independents with an "unsettling rhetorical attack on the judiciary."
"Why Obama shouldn't declare war on the Supreme Court"
This is a necessary show of strength: ObamaCare is the president's "signature first-term accomplishment," says Taylor Marsh at her blog. So he had to do something to protect this "historic law" from conservative justices who "have a history of wielding their ideology recklessly," and, as Obama pointed out, are "unelected." Firing "a shot across the bow" of Supreme Court conservatives — who brought us Citizens United and Bush v. Gore — "was a worthwhile effort to make."
"President Obama takes on Supreme Court hubris"
The president just wants to get Democrats riled up: "Don't take this too seriously," says Allahpundit at Hot Air. Obama is talking to voters, not the Supreme Court. He's telling the "non-lawyers watching at home" that it would be extraordinary for the court to overturn his law, not because he believes it, but because he knows his backers are more likely to turn out in November if they see the ruling as illegitimate. So relax: "It's a stump speech."
"Obama: I sure hope the Supreme Court doesn’t do something unprecedented by striking down ObamaCare"