That was President Obama’s view today on how the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, was passed. From the mouth of the President himself:
Obviously, my view on what constitutes a “strong majority” must be a bit skewed. What I saw in March of 2010, when the Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, was a razor thin margin from a voting body that was overwhelmingly comprised of Democrats. Here are the figures:
Aye: 219; Nay: 212
The day the vote was cast, the House was made up of 253 Democrats, and only 178 Republicans.
I like to consider myself a fair guy, so let’s say that, for argument’s sake, 7 votes is truly what the President considers to be a “strong majority” in favor of a bill. If we’re going by that standard, then I think it is safe to say that President would feel Congress was unequivocally resolute on a position if they passed a bill by a margin of, say, 245-189.
It just so happens that this was the exact tally for the 112th Congress’ bill entitled “Repeal The Job Killing Health Care Law Act.”
Perhaps this slipped the President’s mind, or perhaps he just doesn’t care what Congress thinks unless its in agreement with him. After all, his most recent budget proposal for 2013 was voted down 0-414.
Whatever the reason, there was no “strong majority” in favor of Obamacare. Moreover, the United States Supreme Court declaring a law passed by Congress unconstitutional is not “unprecedented,” as the President says. It has been going on since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Marbury v. Madison over two centuries ago (h/t Legal Insurrection). One brief sentence in Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion stands directly at odds with what the President stated earlier today:
An act of congress repugnant to the constitution cannot become a law.
As a Harvard Law School graduate, and editor of its prestigious Law Review, shouldn’t the President know this?
UPDATE: The Department of Justice receives some serious blowback from the President’s statements regarding Judicial Review.