Rasmussen: Plurality of Democrats think Obama should be able to ignore court rulings if it’s “important”
posted at 2:01 pm on February 20, 2015 by Allahpundit
A small reminder that Obama couldn’t get away with his authoritarian plays on immigration and health care if his party wasn’t backing him up. Turns out, in fact, that they’re willing to go even further than he is. Obama tends to limit himself to summarily rewriting federal statutes, like immigration laws and ObamaCare’s employer mandate. Democrats wonder: Why not rewrite some federal court rulings too?
Something to bear in mind as we wait for SCOTUS’s decision on ObamaCare subsidies in the Halbig case and the Fifth Circuit’s decision on that injunction blocking O’s executive amnesty. He’s already entered the YOPO phase of his presidency. Why not make his base happy by ignoring any adverse rulings and instigating a full-blown constitutional crisis?
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 26% of Likely U.S. Voters think the president should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if they are standing in the way of actions he feels are important for the country…
But perhaps more unsettling to supporters of constitutional checks and balances is the finding that 43% of Democrats believe the president should have the right to ignore the courts. Only 35% of voters in President Obama’s party disagree, compared to 81% of Republicans and 67% of voters not affiliated with either major party…
[W]hile 72% of GOP voters and 63% of unaffiliateds believe it is more important to preserve our constitutional system of checks and balances than for the federal government to operate efficiently, Democrats are evenly divided…
Women and younger voters feel more strongly than men and those 40 and older that the president should have the right to ignore federal court rulings. Black voters believe that more than whites and other minority voters do.
I assume Rasmussen deliberately chose a phrase as open-ended as “important for the country” to nudge respondents about the potential for abuse. Once you tell the president it’s cool to ignore court rulings if it’s “important,” you might as well pass an enabling act and hand him supreme power. Forty-three percent of Democrats, an actual plurality, didn’t flinch, though. And the irony is, Obama’s own defenses of his power grabs aren’t much more sophisticated than that. His rationale for executive amnesty is that Congress is hopelessly gridlocked, the legal limbo that illegals find themselves in is intolerable, and we’ve now reached a point of crisis (a political crisis for the White House, not a policy crisis) that simply demands executive action. It’s crucially important that he act unilaterally and that he act now, even though he can’t quite explain — again, on policy terms — why that is. Just trust him. It’s important. And Democrats do, including and especially the core Democratic constituencies of women, young adults, and minorities.
If you’re looking for a silver lining here, you can find it in the fact that these numbers will move — probably within both parties — once a Republican’s back in the White House. Some GOPers will doubtless become more comfortable with executive action at that point, but I’d bet Republican opposition to the idea of the president defying court rulings doesn’t soften nearly as much as Democratic opposition will harden. That’s the state of the rule of law in the “progressive” party now. Separation of powers and check and balances are wonderful things, but only when they’re being used to restrain the right people.