Will the Left war on Federal Courts?
Obama and his minions have been able to largely ignore the serial political defeats which Democrats have suffered since he took office. In 2009, Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s old seat in the Senate, which was taken even by leftist pundits to mean the death of the proposed ObamaCare, but the president ignored that defeat and proceeded with ObamaCare anyway.
In 2010, Republicans were swept into the House, made big gains in the Senate, and captured most governorships and state legislative chambers. Harry Reid, as Majority Leader, insulated Obama from uncomfortable vetoes and Obama simply ruled by executive order and funded the government without a budget.
In 2012, although Obama was reelected, Republicans continued to hold the House and state governments and to hold a strong minority in the Senate. Obama ignored Congress and state governments, who fought him on his healthcare and immigration plans just as House committees investigated the myriad scandals of his administration.
An even more emphatic and stinging political rebuke to Obama occurred in 2014. Virtually every elected part of our federal system, except for the presidency itself, was in the hands of Republicans, with stronger hands in the House, Senate, and every part of state government. Acting less like a president and more like a monarch, Obama continues to defend an indefensible healthcare law, to scheme a circumvention of existing federal law in immigration, and to ignore congressional investigations of executive malfeasance.
But 2015 promises to be the year in which that part of our federal system most cherished by the left – the federal judiciary – forces a constitutional confrontation with our arrogant president.
The Supreme Court is going to rule on ObamaCare. The bold and aggressive stance of the many Republican state attorneys general has help force this issue, but the final decision will be the nine justices. Exposure of the serial dissembling by Professor Gruber will be damning evidence relevant to legislative intention. Although no one should bet on the Supreme Court, a holding which forces Obama to either return to Congress for a new law or to effectively abandon ObamaCare is surely possible.
Federal Judge Andrew Hanen’s stay on Obama’s immigration plan creates a similar problem for Obama. As with ObamaCare litigation, the litigation is helped by all the state governments (26 of the 50 states) which are opposing Obama’s proposed action. Hanen’s ruling is based on proper adherence to federal rulemaking procedures, which -- as some have already noted – makes it more likely that his stay will not be quickly lifted. What this means is that Obama’s expressed intention to grant amnesty by executive order may be blocked indefinitely and he may, again, force him to go to Congress or drop his plans.
Lurking almost invisible today, but potentially lethal to Obama, are the scandals of his administration being stalked by organizations like Judicial Watch. Surely the most deadly – because the misconduct is so noxious and the wrongdoing so easy for average Americans to grasp -- is the IRS scandal.
The IRS scandal is not going away just because it is not in the news right now. The obvious irritation which Judge Emmet Sullivan showed with his extraordinary order last August suggests that this simmering scandal may come to a boil at any time. Government lawyers who lie and mislead federal judges face very real punishments and once a single breach, a single frightened IRS employee, spills the beans, then others may quickly follow.
In each of these examples, the left faces a very difficult problem. It is one thing for leftists to rail against Republicans in Congress or even against Republican governors and attorneys general, but it is quite another thing for leftists to rail against the federal bench. It is the left, not conservatives, which have elevated the federal judiciary into the overlord of the Constitution and which places much of its agenda on judicial activism. On a host of issues, like abortion or gay marriage, only federal judges can advance or protect those issues which the left deems vital.
What this means is that leftists may soon find themselves in a box of their own making. Will the left war on federal courts? That is a course which cannot bring them political victory and will instead make the left look silly. Attacking federal judges and judicial overreaching, however, many soon be the only course which the left has to take.