GOP lawmakers: Obama is "threatening" and "intimidating" the Supreme Court

The president’s comments yesterday to the effect that it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional have aroused ire on both sides of the aisle — but some GOPers are going so far as to suggest the comments essentially amount to an attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court.

Mitt Romney didn’t outright say that — but he insinuated it.

Republican Mitt Romney wondered if Obama was trying to intimidate the court, but added that “I don’t think that would work.”

“I also think it’s quite a curious turn of events to start complaining about an activist court,” Romney also told Fox News.

Texas Republican Lamar Smith had harsh words for the president in an interview with Fox News Radio.

“I am very disappointed by our President,” Smith told FOX News Radio. “That comes very close to trying to intimidate the Supreme Court of the United States and I’m not sure that’s appropriate,” he added.

Smith said the nine justices should be able to reach a conclusion without the “interference” of the president.

“It is not unprecedented at all for the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional, they do that on a regular basis so it’s not unprecedented at all,” Smith told FOX Radio. “What is unprecedented is for the President of the United States trying to intimidate the Supreme Court.

“He should not be in any shape, form threatening the Supreme Court and making statements that are inappropriate or deemed trying to intimidate the Supreme Court.”

Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns spoke in a similar vein in an interview with local Nebraska radio station KLIN.

Speaking a day after Obama said the high court would uphold the law, including the so-called “individual mandate,” Johanns accused Obama of “threatening” and “intimidating” the court.

“What President Obama is doing here isn’t right,” Johanns said Tuesday in an interview with local Nebraska radio station KLIN.  “It is threatening, it is intimidating.”

In the same interview, Johanns said through the healthcare reform legislation, Obama was wielding an unprecedented level of power.

“What is the president saying is that he’s saying look, I get to decide what’s right and wrong for every individual in this country through the individual mandate and there is no judicial review. The courts can’t interfere with my power. Well what a second here, that turns upside-down over two hundred years of precedent.”

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch echoed Romney, Smith and Johanns in an irritated statement against the president’s remarks:

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said “it must be nice living in a fantasy world where every law you like is constitutional and every Supreme Court decision you don’t is ‘activist.'” He also said it appears that Obama’s comments are part of a political strategy.

“The memo appears to have gone out from the president’s campaign that criticizing the Supreme Court is going to help his re-election,” Hatch said. “This is disappointing, and is likely to be as successful as his administration’s defense of the unconstitutional health care law last week.”

Obama’s comments seemed less “threatening” or “intimidating” to me than shockingly ignorant. He truly thinks it would be unprecedented for the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional? But the courts have been doing that since the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison!

It’s not troubling to think the SCOTUS could declare Obamacare unconstitutional, but it is troubling the vote will likely fall along partisan lines. Questions of constitutionality just shouldn’t. It is possible, after all, to simultaneously think the individual mandate is good policy and unconstitutional or, conversely, bad policy and constitutional. The Supremes gave the question of constitutionality serious consideration in last week’s hearings, but a 5-4 vote will give the impression that one half of the Supreme Court is activist. It’s of vital importance that this unelected group of nine justices see it as their responsibility to decide the question before them and not the general question of whether Obamacare is right for America.