President Obama said this week that if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — popularly referred to as “ObamaCare” — is ruled unconstitutional by the high court, it would amount to an overreach by an “unelected” court.
“I would just remind conservative commentators that for years what we have heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint; that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law,” the president stated on Monday. “Well, this is a good example — and I am pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”
For President Obama’s benefit, Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute defines what “judicial activism” actually is.
“Judicial activism is when a judge takes the law into their own hands; when the judge thinks that he or she is now the legislature,” he explains. “A judge who’s properly following their role doesn’t make up laws that weren’t passed, and they don’t refuse to follow laws like our Constitution that were passed. They simply apply the law that’s there.
“And so, when the Constitution is violated, it is not only okay — it’s their duty to declare that that action or that law that was passed violates the Constitution.”