Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 2 (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   14 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

A "Treason" Trial for Barack Obama?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 4 of 5 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Become a Fan
  (54 fans)
- Advertisement -

But the Right wants its followers to believe that -- despite the clear language of the Constitution and the intent of the Framers to give Congress broad powers to fashion policies to respond to the nation's commercial needs -- the Affordable Care Act is "unconstitutional" and the Supreme Court's GOP majority might agree.

High Court Hypocrisy

You might think that the Supreme Court justices, especially conservatives who call themselves "strict contructionists," would honor the "originalist" intent of the Framers. But that was not the impression left by the five Republican justices when they heard arguments on the law.

Instead of a serious discussion of constitutional issues, the Republican justices peppered U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. with silly what-if questions, like could the government require Americans to buy broccoli?

Strictly speaking, the constitutional answer to the broccoli question would be yes -- if those activities were deemed part of interstate commerce and if Congress and the President had the political will to do so. The practical answer, of course, would be no, since that idea would be nutty.

Dreaming up crazy hypothetical possibilities has become something of a cottage industry on Fox News and other right-wing talk shows, but it was still shocking for many to hear these talking points coming out of the mouths of Supreme Court justices.

Even more shocking in a way was a question posed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often considered the most reasonable Republican on the High Court, though he has a troubling history of perverting the Constitution for partisan ends. He was the author of the Bush v. Gore decision that misused the 14th Amendment to put popular-vote loser George W. Bush in the White House. [For details, see Neck Deep.]

Kennedy told Solicitor General Verrilli that the government faced "a heavy burden of justification" for the individual mandate on Americans to buy insurance, the provision at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. Like his Republican cohorts, Kennedy insisted that Verrilli offer "some limits on the Commerce Clause."

- Advertisement -

However, in his comments, Kennedy turned the actual "burden" on its head. It was the Framers of the Constitution who decided that the Commerce Clause should be open-ended, in part because they knew that the future challenges to the United States could not be fully anticipated. They left these future choices up to the democratic process and congressional debates.

It was not up to the Obama administration to revise the Constitution by saying what limits there should be in the Commerce Clause regarding legislation necessary for the country to compete economically or "to promote the general Welfare."

And the Tenth Amendment, another favorite talking point of the Right, wouldn't apply in this case either, since it only reserves for the states and the people "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution" -- and the Commerce Clause is an enumerated power.

In her support of a "treason" trial, the woman in Ohio may have been referring to President Obama's insistence that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and urging the Supreme Court not to overstep its bounds by reinterpreting the Constitution in order to strike down a law enacted by the elected branches of government.

But it should come as no surprise that the President and the members of Congress who voted for the law believed it was constitutional, even if five Republicans on the Supreme Court might decide later to disagree.

- Advertisement -

Ironically, when past Supreme Courts have interpreted the Constitution to justify expanding individual liberties, like ending racial segregation or respecting personal privacy, the Right has railed against this "judicial activism" or what right-wing legal theorist Robert Bork called "judicial imperialism," that is, justices going beyond a strict reading of the Constitution.

Now, it appears that some on the Right wish to follow up the expected decision by the Supreme Court's five Republican justices to strike down the Affordable Care Act by holding a treason trial of Barack Obama.

After failing to speak out against this idea, which drew cheers at Monday's Ohio town hall, Romney belatedly responded to questions from the news media, saying "obviously, I don't agree that he should be tried."

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches:

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter

What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?

Ron Paul's Appalling World View

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court

The Disappearance of Keith Olbermann


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
8 people are discussing this page, with 14 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion c... by Phil Weingart on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 3:12:18 PM
That usually overlooked "general welfare" clause i... by Arend Rietkerk on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 7:51:40 PM
The reason I posted the actual words of Thomas Jef... by Phil Weingart on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 10:31:07 AM
This is not a legitimate government and the racket... by Mike Preston on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 3:21:56 PM
And many (if not all) tried for war crimes, under ... by Joe Giambrone on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 5:18:30 PM
You missed 'usurper' and, if actuallly born in Haw... by prsmith on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 5:45:32 PM
pretty much every president that served the rich o... by zon moy on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:59:26 AM
"The new structure, devised primarily by Madison,&... by Kansas Bright on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 8:30:32 AM
(BTW - there is a law that requiring that we do ha... by Kansas Bright on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 8:48:57 AM
n/t... by Laura Stein on Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 10:52:17 AM
I am glad that you brought up Washington. You do r... by Kansas Bright on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 9:14:40 AM
"Nor do they explain to their followers the broade... by Kansas Bright on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 10:29:36 AM
"the Commerce Clause is an enumerated power of the... by Kansas Bright on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 11:32:12 AM
The type of government we have is to specifically ... by Kansas Bright on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 12:06:31 PM