I've lived long enough to see the Supreme Court make quite a few decisions that I didn't approve of. I've grumbled and complained, and sometimes I've wondered if the judges were off their collective rocker; but I've swallowed hard and remembered what I learned about checks and balances from Mr. Donnelly, my high school Civics teacher.
Our President has no such acceptance of Supreme Court decisions as evidenced by remarks he has made this week. The Court hasn't even made a decision about the President's health care legislation, but the President is warning the Court in advance not to oppose it. He stated that the opposition of the unelected members of the Court to a law that has been passed by the elected members of Congress would be unprecedented. This is a blatantly untrue statement. The Supreme Court is in the business of passing judgements on all kinds of legislation. That's their job.
So - why did the President of the United States of America make such an untrue remark? How do we explain such an outrageous statement by the highest elected official in the land? Here are some possible explanations, none of which are comforting.
1. Ignorance. Maybe President Obama failed high school Civics. Or maybe high school Civics isn't taught anymore. But then, wasn't Obama a professor of Constitutional law before he was President? Can a professor of Constitutional law be this ignorant of Constitutional law? This is a troubling thought, to say the least.
2. Unworthy motives. Could it be that the President is on a systematic campaign to undermine Constitutional law? Maybe he understands Constitutional law, doesn't like it, and wants to destroy it. A sinister explanation to be sure, but one that must be considered.
3. Unrealistic sympathy. Is it that President Obama is overwhelmed by love for his fellow humans? Maybe he really believes that every human being has a right to be provided for in every way by the government. Maybe he really believes that only an evil Supreme Court would oppose the government's provision of health care. Maybe this great compassion for his fellow humans blinds him to the reality of Constitutional law. This explanation is alarming. Although it allows that President Obama has a good heart, it indicates that his head is deficient.
4. Political ambition. The president is not governing. He is campaigning. And what's the best way to get votes? Appeal to the ignorant, uneducated voters. Promise the moon to people who are too ignorant to know that you can't deliver the moon. Malign the Supreme Court to people who are too ignorant about Constitutional law to know that you're doing the Supreme Court a disservice. This explanation would indicate that the president has an ignoble character.
5. Insanity. The president is pathologically delusional. He thinks the Supreme Court justices are flower pots whose opinions are insignificant if not non-existent. This explanation is not without humor, but its humor doesn't rescue it from the terrifying thought of a mentally ill president.
6. The president is an alien. No, I'm not referring to the controversy about the president's birth certificate. I'm suggesting that he may be from Mars where Constitutional law, of course, must be quite different from Constitutional law in our region of planet Earth.
There may be other explanations, but the six I've listed have given me a headache. I need a nap.