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The Supreme Court’s 9-0 Rulings Against Obama Reveal Disregard for the Constitution

The Supreme Court’s 9-0 Rulings Against Obama Reveal Disregard for the Constitution

Ilya Somin has an interesting article on 9-0 Supreme Court rulings:

Those of us who follow Supreme Court decisions spend most of our time debating the contentious issues that divide justices 5-4 along predictable ideological lines. Often, that’s where the loudest public debates are as well. Just consider the recent rulings on gay marriage.

But we might do well to pay more attention where the court rules unanimously, particularly when they go against the White House.

When a president pursues policies that require such expansive federal power that he can’t get a single justice to agree, something is probably amiss.


Somin discusses some rulings of presidential overreach that were shot down, unanimously, by the Supreme Court:

In Horne v. Department of Agriculture, a decision issued in June, the justices unanimously rejected the Obama administration’s argument that raisin farmers did not have the right to go to court to contest the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of raisins. The Fifth Amendment states that the government must pay “just compensation” whenever the government takes private property for “public use.” But the administration claimed that farmers could not even raise the takings issue in court without first enduring lengthy delays and paying a $483,000 fine.

Horne was the administration’s third unanimous defeat in a property rights case in 18 months. In Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, it claimed that a couple had no right to go to court to seek compensation after the EPA blocked construction of their “dream house.”

In Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States, it unsuccessfully argued that the Fifth Amendment doesn’t require compensation when the federal government repeatedly and deliberately floods property owners’ land. Even liberal justices normally skeptical of property rights claims, including one of President Obama’s appointees, found these arguments too much to swallow.

The Obama administration has also suffered unanimous defeats in several other important cases.

Last year, the justices rejected the administration’s position that the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment does not apply to churches’ decisons to hire and fire employees with religious duties, such as teaching theology. Obama appointee Justice Elena Kagan called the administration’s position “amazing.”

In United States v. Jones, another 2012 case, the justices unanimously rejected the administration’s claim that the Fourth Amendment does not restrict the government’s authority to attach a GPS tracking device to a car.

Obama isn’t the first president to promote dubious theories of federal power. George W. Bush’s administration, among others, did so as well.

All but one Supreme Court justice rejected its claims of nearly unlimited authority to detain U.S. citizens determined to be “combatants” in the war on terror.

Bush and Obama exemplify a political culture where presidents routinely push the limits of federal power with little regard for constitutional restrictions. Too often, executives act as if their role is not to protect constitutional rights but rather to see how far they can bend them before courts step in.

And this seems to be getting worse, not better.  Not only does Congress not consider the constitutionality of its legislation–remember when Pelosi pooh-poohed the question of whether or not it is constitutional to force Americans to buy health insurance (Are you serious? Are you serious?)?, but the executive branch seems dedicated to doing whatever it pleases in the moment and on its own questionable authority regardless of whether or not it’s constitutional.  After all, constitutional challenges take years . . . if they are undertaken at all.

Somin concludes:

But constitutional restrictions on federal authority exist for good reason: They protect our lives, liberty and property against overwhelming government power. When presidents routinely claim sweeping powers that every Supreme Court justice rejects, something is wrong.

The fault lies not only with the offending politicians, but also with the voters and political elites who too often excuse or ignore their unconstitutional actions.

Sometimes, the courts can protect us against overreaching administrations. But many abuses of power cannot or will not be litigated. If we want to enforce constitutional limits on government, we cannot rely on judges to do the job alone.


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Carol Herman | July 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm

The supreme court is held in lower regard than obama. So maybe that has something to do with obama’s ability to shirk this off. Remember, rumor has it he got credentialed at harvard for being a maven on constitutional law.

Both parties are not known for picking stellar candidates.

    GrumpyOne in reply to Carol Herman. | July 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Obama has shown me nothing with regard to being a constitutional lawyer UNLESS it’s the dismantling of that document.

    He’s quite astute in that regard and such is not in our best interest..

Obama/Holder often treat our Constitution & the people of America with contemp. Low information consumers of Obama spiel have no idea how they are being treated. They just clap as they stand behind him in an Obama commercial.

a 9-0 loss means “we have to find an executive around this”


Uncle Samuel | July 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Nothing good about the Obama presidency. Not one thing.

2 people on food stamps for every job ‘created.’

Corruption, cronyism, obscene spending, lies, punitive partisanship… the list is extensive with no end in sight.

    Archer in reply to Uncle Samuel. | July 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    And every one of those “created” jobs is for a “shovel-ready project,” which means it’s a glorified temp job.

    Which in turn means that when the “project” is over, that’s yet another person back on Food Stamps, at least until the *next* project/temp job.

    That’s no way to live, from the perspectives of both the individual AND the economy at large.

jayjerome66 | July 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Fuzzy header writing, Fuzzy.

Carol Herman | July 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

For a basketball score “9-0” is nothing to write home about. And, shirley jests. What a political joke we’ve been witnessing in the process selection.

All the 9 justices think they’re be-robed longer than obama ever gets to serve. Which is limited to two terms.

All the supreme court does is show us what it looks like when boobs get picked for life.

Hey thanks for banal metaphor, who the heck is shirley jests, the “well, duh” civics lesson, and the porn. Ur very talented.

Obama continually demonstrates sheer disdain for our Constitution, our founding principles, our way of life. He would further enslave us for what he perceives as his own utopia.

It’s probably the only thing he’s earned in his life, but he has earned my absolute contempt.

Could you perhaps modify the headline? As written, it sounds as if the Supreme Court’s decisions, themselves, disregard the Constitution in some way.

The Obama administration takes extreme views.

Their Solicitor’s office is known to even accept wild hypothetical questions thrown at them by the Court as to find the limit of the argument. Then the Court responds that given no limit is possible, the case is unconstitutional.

This approach is the opposite of the classic boiling frog scenario that the leftists have used over a long period of time. That the administration is the most liberal in history means that they think that they can push more. They have succeeded on many but go too far in the process.

[…] FDR or Nixon. Think I’m exaggerating? Consider how many times Obama and his minions have been smacked down nine-to-nothing (9-0!) by the Supreme Court. That includes liberal Justices Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor, and the […]

[…] FDR or Nixon. Think I’m exaggerating? Consider how many times Obama and his minions have been smacked down nine-to-nothing (9-0!) by the Supreme Court. That includes liberal Justices Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor, and the […]