Monday, June 25, 2012

Supreme Hypocrisy

    Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has had an adversarial relationship with the Supreme Court.  The most memorable and arguably most egregious display of his disdain for the court came during his 2011 State of the Union address in which he criticized the recent campaign finance ruling in the presence of most of the justices who were attending his address.  Then earlier this year, he made some absurd statements about what it would mean if the court strikes down Obamacare in the ruling that is likely to come on Thursday.  The gist of his remarks and of many on the left is that the court is seriously ideologically divided between reasonable moderates (and possibly a liberal or two) and an extreme right-wing cabal.  This framing of the court and its decisions must be considered when reading his remarks on today's Arizona v. United States illegal immigration ruling:
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform...    
At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally.
    What the president leaves out is that the part of the ruling that pleases him was decided by a polarized 5-3 vote (Justice Kagan recused herself.)  On the other hand, the sole part of the Arizona law that was upheld and caused the president to "remain concerned" was decided unanimously, 8-0.  So much for peace, harmony and civility.

    As is often the case, the left's call for bi-partisanship and unity is limited to outcomes that fall in its direction.  If the decision on Obamacare's provisions is also split in various ways, look for a similar pattern: lip-service to harmony and consensus, but "deep concern" and "outrage" if the court hands liberals a loss, no matter how the votes tally up.

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