Trials & Litigation

Fed'l Appeals Judge Tells DOJ to Write Memo by Thursday Explaining Obama 'Judicial Activism' Claim

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In response to a “judicial activism” comment by President Barack Obama, since clarified, about the health care law currently being reviewed for constitutionality by the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal appeals court judge overseeing a different health-care case has called for the Department of Justice immediately to provide a three-page single-spaced memo.

It should detail both the DOJ’s position and the views of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder “in regard to the recent statements by the president, stating specifically and in detail in reference to those statements what the authority is of the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review,” said Judge Jerry Smith of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals during a Tuesday hearing, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports.

“That letter needs to be at least three pages single-spaced, no less, and it needs to be specific. It needs to make specific reference to the president’s statements and the again to the position of the attorney general and the Department of Justice,” said Smith, according to a transcript obtained by the blog.

The White House declined to comment, CBS News reports.

However, the president clarified his earlier remarks:

“The point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress,” Obama said. “And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this.”

Earlier coverage: “Obama Says Overturning Health Care Law Would Be ‘Extraordinary’ Judicial Activism”

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