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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Health care debate illustrates how politicians reach too far

    Checks and balances are significant in politics, but the Democrats and Republicans should not use this long-respected process as an excuse for petty behavior.

    President Barack Obama needs to be patient and wait for the Supreme Court’s health care ruling.

    Obama doesn’t seem to worried about the fate of his health care law. He said he is confident the Supreme Court won’t “take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law passed by Congress.”

    But just where is this confidence coming from?

    Sure, Obama was a lawyer. So were a lot of presidents before him. Many presidents have had legal education, but there is a reason that the job of being the president is separate from being a judge on the Supreme Court. Just because the president appoints Supreme Court justices does not mean he gets to make their decisions.

    The two branches of government have counteracted each other in a system of checks and balances since the concept of judicial review was established by Marbury v. Madison.

    The landmark ruling, made in 1803, helped define the division between the executive and judicial branches of the government, and it asserted the Supreme Court’s power to interpret the law objectively and separately from lawmakers or outside influence.

    Although Article III of the Constitution is relatively vague about the judicial branch’s powers, it is clear that the founding fathers wanted to make sure court justices could make their decisions based on the law, not on pressure by the public or politicians.

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell would prefer the president let his law speak for itself and stop butting into the legal process.

    “The independence of the court must be defended. Regardless of how the justices decide this case, they’re answerable, above all, to the Constitution they swore to uphold,” said McConnell, according to the Miami Herald. “I would suggest the president back off.”

    He even went so far as to say Obama had “crossed a dangerous line.”

    Big important changes, like a law that would alter the country’s health care system, require politicians to remember what their duties are and — more importantly — are not.

    When it comes down to it, the judicial branch should solely make the decision concerning the constitutionality of the health care law, without any interference by either the executive or legislative branches.

    People need to focus on their own jobs and allow the judges to get their own work done. Politicians need to stop telling the judges what to do and instead just let them do it.

    Obama and McConnell can comment on the issue all they want, but the thoughts of both men do not matter in the end. The public should pay attention to the judges, and take this time to recognize the amazing complexity of government.

    Congress and the president get a lot of attention for what they do, but checks and balances need to get fair acknowledgment right now.

    — Megan Hurley is a journalism junior. She can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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