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President of ABA Responds to Obama’s Remarks
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President Wm. T. Robinson III, the president of the ABA, has taken issue with remarks made by President Barack Obama regarding the U.S. Supreme Court and the health care law. Obama said last Monday that a decision to overturn the law would be an ‘unprecedented, extraordinary’ example of judicial activism. Obama decided to clear up his remarks on Tuesday, saying that the Supreme Court has final say on the issue. The comments from the president forced one federal judge to demand a memo totaling three pages from the Department of Justice that explains the administration’s views about the authority of the federal court system.

In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, Robinson weighed in on Obama’s remarks:

  
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“President Barack Obama’s remarks on Monday speculating about the Supreme Court’s potential decision in the health care legislation appeal are troubling,” Robinson wrote to the Wall Street Journal. “Particularly worrisome was his suggestion that the court’s decision in this case could serve as a ‘good example’ of what some commentators have cited as ‘judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint’ by an ‘unelected group of people.’ We’re gratified that the president recast his remarks Tuesday. He clarified appropriately that ‘the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it.’ ”

“It is incumbent on all of our elected officials—including those aspiring to hold office—to continually demonstrate that the courtroom is not a political arena,” Robinson says. “It is a measure of a free society that individuals are able to openly disagree with court decisions, but we should expect our leaders to refrain from partisan statements aimed at judges fulfilling their constitutional role and responsibilities.”

The executive director of the Justice at Stake Campaign, Bert Brandenburg, issued a statement in response to Obama’s comments as well. The statement says that the president “did a significant public disservice by invoking phrases too often used to demonize our nation’s courts.”

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