On Monday, political pundit Juan Williams, put forth an opinion with some unfortunate implications.
“The hardball political fact is that attacking the court will help the president’s campaign and it will damage the court for years to come…A 5-4 defeat of the healthcare law will erode trust in the justice system.”
Using a CBS/New York Times June 7th poll, Juan has deduced that overturning Obamacare will erode faith in the court. However, Mr. Williams might benefit from casting a wider net when consulting polls.
An AEI Public Opinion Study put out last week, which uses data gathered from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC – University of Chicago), Gallup, Kaiser, Washington Post, Quinnipiac, ABC, Washington Post, Pew Research Center, NBC/ WSJ, LA Times, Fox News, many more, and CBS/ NY Times as well, comes to a different conclusion. From page 13 of the study, specifically citing the CBS/ New York Times survey (I guess Juan forgot to mention these findings from his source):
APPROVAL: For decades, Americans have been asked regularly whether they approve or disapprove of the way the president is handling his job. Job approval questions about the court were much later in coming, and they are asked less frequently. A May-June 2012 CBS/New York Times survey found that 44 percent of Americans approved of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job, while 36 percent disapproved. Approval among partisans has varied substantially since Bush v. Gore.
Juan cites one of his previous articles as further justification of his point, that “the court may do irreparable harm to its reputation with another highly political split between justices appointed by Democrats and justices appointed by Republicans…It will be another example of how polarization has poisoned our politics during the past decade. Team Obama is right to conclude there is fertile political ground to be plowed in lashing out against the right-wing activism of the Roberts Court.”
What Juan fails to make clear, is what good will come of President Obama and the Democrats convincing the public that “the Supreme Court is under [the] control of a bunch of right-wing bullies”. According to yesterday’s Rassmussen Reports, the President is polling at 43% while candidate Mitt Romney is at 47%, and Gallup’s Presidential Job Approval Center has Obama growing his disapproval rating from last week to yesterday’s 49%. With the numbers stacking up against him, President Obama could use some positive branding.
Does Juan really think President Obama’s “lashing out”, is going to solve any problems, persuade Justices to uphold Obamacare, or encourage a downtrodden country? Not likely to happen, but what might the public think if he graciously accepted an overruling of Obamacare. Especially when considering that 53% of the country want it overturned.
And is what Mr. Williams refers to as a ‘highly political split’ a bad thing? Doesn’t that suggest balance and more than likely thoughtful consideration of the issues? Isn’t the Supreme Court supposed to be a check and balance?
That same AEI Public Opinion Study, on page 9, concluded:
THE COURT’S POWER AND BALANCE TODAY: When Americans are asked about the Supreme Court today, most say that it is “about right” or “balanced,” or that it has “the right amount” of power. An April 2012 Fox News poll found that a strong plurality, 45 percent, said the court tends to be generally balanced in its decisions. Twenty-one percent said it was too conservative, and 26 percent too liberal.
Furthermore, why would we want a President who is attacking another branch of the government based on opinion? In referring to Juan’s earlier article I couldn’t help but include this nugget.
“The reason is clear: The frequency of 5-4 decisions on hot-button political issues in recent years has caused many people to believe that justice is not blind to politics or the influence of money…The image of the justices rising above politics is close to a historical artifact.”
Maybe, just maybe the Supreme Court will rise above the ‘politics’ and make an educated, informed, and constitutional decision in overturning Obamacare.
This post was authored by Bill Vollono, a Townhall.com editorial intern.