Didn’t Abraham Lincoln criticize the Supreme Court in his Inaugural Address in 1861? Actually, no. Lincoln did say in the presence of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney that the Court’s rulings deserved respect, but that not all political questions could be considered settled once they were submitted to “that eminent tribunal.” Taney may not have liked what he heard, but he certainly was not intimidated. Nor did he refuse to administer the oath of office to President Lincoln.
What about President Reagan? Didn’t he object to the Supreme Court’s overturning the abortion laws of all fifty states? He did indeed. But he submitted his arguments to the Supreme Court as formal statements of Executive Branch legal opinion. He sent his Solicitor General up the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court with all dignity and respect for the independence of the judiciary as a coequal branch of government. That’s because Reagan revered the Constitution.
Theodore Roosevelt referred to the White House as a “Bully Pulpit.” He meant, of course, that it was a great place for presidents to offer moral leadership. He was right. But Mr. Obama has taken that a dangerous step beyond. He has made the White House a “Bullying Pulpit.” Let’s hope those Justices who will vote on ObamaCare’s constitutionality are not intimidated by this unprecedented and dangerous move.