As much as I’ve slammed Obama for his absurd initial comments about the Supreme Court and the health care reform case — and slammed those who didn’t think he should be slammed for them — I’m finding it absolutely hilarious watching Republicans — Republicans, for crying out loud — suddenly getting a case at the vapors at the idea that anyone would dare question that sacred court. TPM has a rundown of just a handful of Republican attacks on the court over the last few years:
— Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) now says Obama is trying to “bully” the Supreme Court. But in 2004 he sponsored legislation that would have drastically altered the nation’s system of checks and balances — it would have allowed Congress to overturn a high court decision with a two-thirds majority in each chamber.
— In 2005, furious at the courts over the Terri Schiavo case, Majority Leader Tom DeLay vowed that the Republican-controlled House would “look at an arrogant and out-of-control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the president.” He said the “time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.” …
— In Iowa one year ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said that the federal government can “limit the subject matter that justices can rule on. We have it within our authority to decide what judges can rule on and what they can’t.”
— At a GOP primary debate last October, Rick Santorum said same-sex marriage was authorized in Iowa because “seven justices forced gay marriage on the people” and in response, he went to Iowa “and made sure that those three justices were defeated.”
— Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a member of the GOP leadership, warned against “judicial activism in July 2009 on the Senate floor. He said overreach by the courts “has the necessary consequence of taking power away from the elected representatives and thus the people themselves, and conferring those in life-tenured, unelected judges.” Years earlier he said a spate of attacks on courthouses might be linked to overzealous judging. “I don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection, but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. … And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters, on some occasions, where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in, engage in violence. Certainly without any justification, but a concern that I have.”
It’s all quite amusing watching the Repubicans say, in their best Foghorn Leghorn voice, “How dare you, sir!” The right has run against the Supreme Court for decades, going all the way back to the New Deal. What Obama said was idiotic, but it was idiotic precisely because he was repeating the absurd rhetoric that the right has used routinely for more than 80 years now.