The latest Newsweek delves into the question of whether President Obama is likely to spend much time bashing the U.S. Supreme Court as the campaign season heats up. Former Clinton presidential speechwriter Jeff Shesol discusses the potential pitfalls associated with that strategy.
There’s a difference, though, between describing your ideal justice and attacking the less-than-ideal ones we’ve already got. Criticizing the court “might well be appropriate,” observes Walter Dellinger, solicitor general during the Clinton administration, but “it might also be bad politics.” This year, for President Obama, it is almost certainly both: appropriate and unwise.
It is true, as some on the left point out, that the court’s “numbers are fairly soft”: the New York Times/CBS News poll is not the only one to register a sharp drop in public faith in the institution. Others show that trust in the Supreme Court has tied record lows set back in the 1970s, and that by a substantial margin, voters expect the justices to base their health-care ruling more on politics than on the Constitution. This does not, however, put them in the president’s camp. More than two thirds of Americans—including more than 70 percent of independent voters—hope the court will overturn some or all of the ACA. In other words, if the justices oblige, a majority of Americans might question the grounds of the decision but approve of it regardless. Advantage, Mitt Romney.