Saturday, January 30, 2010
What a lying liar (part two)
Remember President Obama's State of the Union lie about how the Supreme Court's opened the door for "foreign entities" to influence U.S. elections? Well, Randy Barnett does some truth-telling, and gives the president a rhetorical bitch-slap, in the Wall Street Journal:
Then there is the substance of the remark itself. It was factually wrong. The Court's ruling in Citizens United concerned the right of labor unions and domestic corporations, including nonprofits, to express their views about candidates in media such as books, films and TV within 60 days of an election. In short, it concerned freedom of speech; in particular, an independent film critical of Hillary Clinton funded by a nonprofit corporation.
While the Court reversed a 1990 decision allowing such a ban, it left standing current restrictions on foreign nationals and "entities." Also untouched was a 100-year-old ban on domestic corporate contributions to political campaigns to which the president was presumably referring erroneously.
That is a whole lot to get wrong in 72 sanctimonious words. Clearly, this statement had not been vetted by the president's legal counsel. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, for example, would never have signed off on such a claim. Never. [Emphasis mine]
As important as that rhetorical bitch-slapping is, Barnett also poses an important question. Immediately after telling his whoppers, Obama urged Congress to "pass a bill" that helps to "right" the Supreme Court's decision. Barnett asks:
[H]ow exactly is Congress supposed to override a constitutional ruling by the Supreme Court by enacting a statute? Or was the president merely urging Congress to evade it?
Think about that for a moment. Obama is either urging Congress to pass legislation which the Supreme Court has already ruled to be unconstitutional, or he's urging Congress to just ignore what the Supreme Court said in its ruling. You'd think that someone who once taught constitutional law would know better. You'd think.
That said, imagine if President Bush had ever used a portion of one of his State of the Union speeches to urge Congress to outlaw abortion outright. Liberal legislators would've gotten their panties in a major twist, and liberal constitutional scholars would've taken to the airwaves saying, "The Supreme Court's already said you can't do that!" And then the liberal twisted panties/schlolarly set would've questioned the president's mental fitness for trying to do what the Supreme Court had already said he couldn't do.