Its all those racist white men on the Supreme Court. yeah, thats it, racist white men; yeah yeah. Devious, cunning, calculating and dangerous to the original intent of the writers of the Constitution.
The president deliberately confused judicial activism--the wholesale manufacture of rights and laws by judges in accordance with their personal or political views--with judicial review, the power courts have to overturn unconstitutional legislation, which the Supreme Court has exercised since Marbury v. Madison (1803).
What is important about Obama’s attack on the Supreme Court yesterday is not that he attacked “judicial activism,” but that he attacked the court at all. It is clear that Obama does not even believe what he said about judicial review—i.e. that courts should not overturn a “duly constituted” law that had received a majority vote in the legislature. If he did, his Department of Justice would not be suing the state of Arizona over its immigration law, and would not be suing the state of Texas over its new voter ID law. In that sense, his comments are merely partisan hypocrisy.
But Obama, following Bell, does believe that the Supreme Court does not deserve the respect accorded to it by his predecessors (even FDR “usually waited” until the Court had made its decisions before criticizing it).
As always, we should pay more attention to Obama’s actions than his words. The very fact that he disparaged the Court is more important than the muddled substance of what he said.