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EDITORIAL: Rebuking Obama, recapturing liberty lost

Supreme Court may be impatient with overreaching president

- - Thursday, July 3, 2014

If the Supreme Court's recently ended term is an indication, further treats may lie ahead when the court returns in October. Tom Goldstein, founder and editor of Scotusblog, a website that closely monitors the court, observes that two-thirds of the court's decisions in the past year were unanimous — the most in recent memory. Several of the cases corrected White House overreach.

Mr. Goldstein speculates that at some point in 2015, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most liberal member of the bench, will hang up her robes at age 82. That would be the age at which her hero, Justice Louis Brandeis, ended his career of judicial activism. Mrs. Ginsburg could depart confident that President Obama would select a suitably liberal successor, but her starchy intellectual gifts might not be easily replaced.

Starting Oct. 6, the court will take up cases dealing with the right of churches to advertise services as they like, protections for pregnant women, bankruptcy, trademarks and the ability of a state to tax a company based in another state.

The high court keeps everyone in suspense as to the more interesting cases it will add to the docket. Mr. Obama's use of executive orders to bypass Congress has to be at the top of the list. The president explained the other day that he "can't wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff — so sue me." That's just what House Speaker John A. Boehner promises to do.

"President Obama's aggressive unilateralism," Mr. Boehner wrote in a memo to Republican colleagues, "has significant implications for our system of government, and presents a clear challenge to our institution and its ability to effectively represent the people." He outlined his plan to have the House of Representatives vote later this month on whether to file the suit in the name of the institution, against Mr. Obama for his failure to faithfully execute the laws, as set out in the Constitution.

The suit would come before justices who rejected the White House demand for more cellphone snooping authority in Riley v. California, and held that Mr. Obama violated the Constitution by installing appointees to the National Labor Relations Board without the Senate's consent.

It's never a good idea to predict how the court will rule on anything — try to find anyone who thought Chief Justice John Roberts would uphold Obamacare — but the court's recent willingness to correct the administration's misdeeds is an encouraging sign that the nation might recapture liberty lost.