“Presidents should generally refrain from commenting on pending cases”

Even some legal scholars sympathetic to Obama and the health-care law are saying that the president might have been better off keeping quiet.

“Presidents should generally refrain from commenting on pending cases during the process of judicial deliberation,” said Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, a close Obama ally. “Even if such comments won’t affect the justices a bit, they can contribute to an atmosphere of public cynicism that I know this president laments.”…

“To the extent some may have misconstrued the president’s initial remarks, he made expressly clear in his second statement what he obviously intended in his first — that of course he respects the independence of the judiciary and the role of judicial review,” said Walter Dellinger, who was solicitor general under President Bill Clinton. “The justices’ life tenure secures their independence. There is no reason that issues before the court should be fenced off from public debate.”

Brian Fitzpatrick, a former clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and now a law professor at Vanderbilt University, noted that Republican members of Congress and the GOP presidential candidates regularly denounce the liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and he said he thought Obama was being similarly “cute” with his comments Monday.