COMMENTARY | After President Obama’s “judicial activism” remarks on Tuesday, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith ordered the DOJ to submit a three page single-spaced letter by noon on Thursday, clarifying those remarks. On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that they would comply with the order. According to CNN, the DOJ complied, right before the deadline.
The whole ordeal has gotten out of hand. According to Forbes, Republicans have accused President Obama, who used to be a constitutional law professor, of not understanding constitutional law. They have called his comments “unprecedented.”
On CNN, Democrats fired back at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge at his “unprecedented” order to the DOJ to submit a letter regarding those remarks. Both sides have their points, and the explanation can get complicated.
According to IVN.com, The Commerce Clause, in the U.S. Constitution, is the source of many problems. The individual mandate in the health care law relies on the Commerce Clause. Unfortunately, the way the Commerce Clause has been used in the past is highly controversial. It has been used in both conservative and liberal ways. Which side a court comes down on seems to depend mostly on whether the court “likes” a specific law.
Relying on the Commerce Clause in this manner allows both Democrats and Republicans to have valid points when it comes to the health care law. The Democrats feel that past rulings using the Commerce Clause set the precedent, and the individual mandate should be upheld. Republicans, on the other hand, point out that the court fully has the power to declare the individual mandate unconstitutional, which is also true.
How did we get to this point? Perhaps the blame should be placed on Congress for creating an enormous, difficult to read bill, which was not carefully read or understood before passing. They clearly did not know what was in it, indicated by Nancy Pelosi’s famous statement, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”
Perhaps if Congress could pass a series of smaller bills that solve specific problems, we would not be here. Instead, they feel it necessary to create large bills that allow individual congresspeople to hide their own little “goodies,” or earmarks.
“Clarity” has become a bad word for Congress. They would rather have their own way, no matter the cost, then let the other branches of government sort out the problems. That is when things go even farther downhill, as Democrats and Republicans attack each other on every point. Every remark becomes a firestorm.