Are the Obama administration and the Chief Justice John Roberts Supreme Court on a collision course?
There’s a really interesting report in the Los Angeles Times about a looming conflict, the first salvo of which was the president’s unexpected attack on the Court during his State of the Union address. The article notes:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is still angered by what he saw as a highly partisan insult to the independent judiciary. The incident put a public spotlight on the deep divide between the Obama White House and the Roberts court, one that could have a profound effect in the years ahead.
The president and congressional Democrats have embarked on an ambitious drive to regulate corporations, banks, health insurers and the energy industry. But the high court, with Roberts increasingly in control, will have the final word on those regulatory laws.
In a way, this is merely the latest manifestation of the tug-of-war between those who think that the Constitution is something like a deconstructionist literary text that can be made to say anything you want and those who believe that the Founders set us up a form of government that is applicable today. Until now, the conflict has been purely intellectual.
But if the administration opts for continued attacks on the Court, overt rather than in abstruse law school discussions, they might find out something surprising: even those of us who deplore much of what has happened in the judicial system in the last few decades have a reverence for the Supreme Court. We don’t want it to come under attack from the executive. FDR found out the hard way that we don’t like tampering with this branch of government.