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WOLF: In contempt of court and common sense

One solution is for Congress to defund Obamacare now

- - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president [George W. Bush] I actually respect the Constitution.

- Sen. Barack Obama

Really? For years, the left beat the drum that President Bush was shredding the Constitution with the USA Patriot Act, Guantanamo detainments, rendition and execution of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. When President Obama adopted those policies as his own, the left suddenly went as silent as Al Gore during a blizzard.

Mr. Obama infamously said the Constitution is "an imperfect document ... a document that reflects some deep flaws ... [and] an enormous blind spot." Evidently, the former constitutional law professor has his own blind spot for Article III, which establishes the judiciary as a coequal branch of our government. Just ask U.S. District Judges Martin Feldman and Roger Vinson.

If an administration made it its expressly stated goal to devastate domestic oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, destroy thousands of jobs, make America more vulnerable to Middle East instability, raise American families' energy costs and, in the process, assault the constitutional authority of the judicial branch, it would be hard to imagine how the strategy would be any different from the Obama administration's approach to the Gulf.

In its zeal to put a "boot on the neck" of America's energy supply, the administration was caught falsifying an Interior Department scientific report to ram through its Gulf deep-water drilling moratorium. When the ban was overturned by Judge Feldman, the administration thumbed its nose at the court and the American people. With "determined disregard," as Judge Feldman put it, the administration dropped its moratorium all right, but then simply concocted another, similar ban in its place.

"Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium, and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this court with clear and convincing evidence of the government's contempt," Judge Feldman said as he declared the former constitutional law professor's administration in contempt of court.

The contempt doesn't stop there.

When Judge Vinson ruled that Obamacare in its entirety was unconstitutional, he also said: "There is a long-standing presumption that officials of the Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court. As a result, the declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction. There is no reason to conclude that this presumption should not apply here. Thus, the award of declaratory relief is adequate and separate injunctive relief is not necessary."

In simple terms, Obamacare is unconstitutional, and therefore, the White House should stop implementing it immediately, period. Then-press secretary Robert Gibbs gave the White House's contemptuous response: "Implementation of the health care bill rightly continues to move forward as the law of the land." Rightly? With this one sanctimonious statement, the former constitutional law professor's White House declared its supremacy over the judicial branch and, by extension, the Constitution itself.

So why does this White House so brazenly cast aside a coequal branch of our government? Its true contempt is not just for the courts but for common sense and the American people. The deep-water drilling ban has been disastrous for energy supply, the region's economy and jobs, but those were never the administration's primary concerns. Appeasing environmentalists and global warmists while pursuing mythical "green jobs" was - and still is. Recall in 2008, Mr. Obama actually advocated a "gradual adjustment" to higher gas prices in an attempt to curtail the American way of life. Why gradual? So it wouldn't be "such a shock to American pocketbooks." Evidently the president believes you're not perceptive enough to notice when your bills go up slowly.

The White House demonstrated the same contempt for the American people when ramming through Obamacare with backroom deals, midnight votes and manipulated rules. Voters have been overwhelmingly opposed to this health care takeover since before its passage, and they remain so. In a recent Gallup poll, for example, just 13 percent of Americans said they approved of Obamacare in its current form. Now, even though it has been declared unconstitutional and despite the administration's claims it will tackle the ever-increasing $1.65 trillion budget deficit, this White House shows its contempt for taxpayers and common sense by rushing forward with spending hundreds of millions of dollars to implement a law that is no longer in force.

Fortunately, the Constitution allows Congress and the states to interject a little sanity back into the health care debate. Congressional Republicans have the opportunity to keep two campaign pledges in one this week by defunding Obamacare. This will put teeth in their previous repeal vote and move them closer to their pledge to cut $100 billion in spending. Failure to cut those funds now would be an unforced error. Meanwhile, the states should declare their own moratorium on implementation of Obamacare until the Supreme Court offers its ruling on the president's health care overhaul. Finally, the White House should urge the high court to fast-track this case rather than hold the nation captive to the current uncertainty.

When the Supreme Court rebuked the Bush administration in 2004 and again in 2006 by ruling that enemy combatants must be afforded impartial trials and that these trials must have congressional authorization, Mr. Bush accepted the judiciary as a coequal authority and complied. But then again, Mr. Bush wasn't a learned former constitutional professor who believed it was possible for a president to respect the Constitution and at the same time "rightly" disregard it.

Dr. Milton R. Wolf is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist, medical director and cousin of President Obama's. He blogs daily at miltonwolf.com.