Gavel Grab

Columnist Finds Obama Seeking ‘To Pressure’ Supreme Court

Is it proper for a president to “seek to pressure” the Supreme Court in the manner that President Obama has, by calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United?

Columnist Ruth Marcus poses that question — based on her own interpretation of Obama’s recent statement — in a Washington Post commentary. She then opines that such a presidentil gesture makes her feel “queasy,” and so does the flood of big election money from a few individuals and special interests that has followed the landmark ruling:

“I’m dubious that the court, if it is the intended target, would succumb to the pressure of a looming constitutional amendment. I’m fine with the president criticizing the court — yes, even to its face, in the State of the Union. But I’m uncomfortable with the apparent approach of using a proposed amendment as a device to get the court to rethink. As with the president’s while-the-health-care-case-was-pending rant about “unelected” judges threatening to overturn legislation, it makes me queasy.

“Then again, so does the spectacle of hundreds of millions of dollars funneled into campaigns by a few individuals and special interests.”

Obama wrote recently, “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it).” He added, “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”

Marcus wrote that when Obama used the words “apply pressure,” they apparently applied to the Supreme Court because “The only change could come from the justices themselves.”


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