Sen. Mike Johanns says President Obama is off-base to suggest the United States Supreme Court would be taking an “unprecedented, extraordinary” step if it overturned the federal health care law.
Obama commented twice on the Supreme Court’s deliberations on the health care law, once during a Rose Garden news conference and then during a luncheon with newspaper editors. The president suggested the court would be taking an unprecedented and extraordinary step if it struck down the health care law as unconstitutional. The court heard three days of oral arguments last month and is expected to rule on the lawsuit brought by 26 states, including Nebraska, in June.
Johanns says the president is out of line.
“What President Obama is doing here isn’t right. It is threatening and it is intimidating,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN’s Jack and John in the Morning show. “Some years ago, I was in the House chamber during the State of the Union address where he directly attacked the Supreme Court to cheers by people on his side of the aisle. I thought it was so outrageous.”
During the 2010 State of the Union address, Obama criticized the court’s Citizens United decision, which ruled against tight campaign spending restrictions.
Johanns suggests the balance of power is at stake.
“Is he saying, ‘Look, I get to decide what’s right and wrong for every individual citizen in this country through the individual mandate and there is no judicial review, the courts can’t interfere with my power.’? Johanns asks. “Whoa, wait a second here; that turns upside down over 200 years of precedent.”
Oral arguments in Washington focused on the individual mandate, the portion of the health care law that requires virtually every American to buy health insurance or face a financial penalty.
The sweeping nature of the law and, in particular, the individual mandate, according to Johanns, invites review by the judiciary.
“Never before has that power been exercised to that extent and he’s saying you can’t review that? That is just outrageous,” Johanns says.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the court through 2010 had ruled 165 times that laws passed by Congress were unconstitutional.
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Johanns discusses President Obama’s remarks on KLIN’s Jack and John in the Morning [4:15]