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April 2nd, 2012
08:04 PM ET

Letters to the President #1169: 'Health care ruling...harrumph!'

Reporter's Note: President Obama gets a letter from me every day. And you think you have problems…

Dear Mr. President,

I’m a little surprised, I must say, that once again you are taking swipes at the Supreme Court. For a former constitutional law professor, you don’t seem to have much faith in the legal system, especially when it comes to constitutional matters. Or maybe you just think you know better than the black robe gang. Still, preemptively accusing them of judicial activism just in case they rule against your health care reform plan seems…well, even for a president, it appears a tad presumptuous.

I get that you are frustrated and disappointed with the possibility of such a ruling against the cornerstone accomplishment of your presidency. I understand that whenever the court goes against any cause, that cause’s backers are likely to consider the ruling politically motivated. But this can’t be a surprise to you, can it?

From the moment you touched your pen to this legislation some people with reasonable judgment about such matters have suspected that it might not survive a Supreme Court hearing. These analysts are not your enemies. (At least not all of them.) They don’t oppose the principles in this law. Nor do they have a dog in the health care fight. They just thought your legislation was not properly written to withstand a challenge. So, with your background, I can not believe that you didn’t see the possibility of this coming.

I’m not taking sides over whether the court will be right or wrong whatever it does when the ruling finally comes out. I’m just saying, as I did at the start, I’m surprised you are speaking up this way. I don’t imagine your words will sway the court, and they make you seem like something of a sore loser…even before it is clear you’ve lost. In the spirit of tonight’s college basketball playoff: You sound like as if are complaining about the referees instead of considering if your team somehow failed to deliver the kind of convincing win you needed.

In any event, as long as our laws and government are as they are, what is the point? The court, for better or worse, is playing its part in the balance of power even if that means tilting against you.

Not trying to give you a hard time. Just food for thought. Give me a buzz if you have a minute, only not during the game. Ha!

Regards,
Tom

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