Friday, April 6, 2012

Constitutional Scholar

I was just remarking the other day that I thought it was peculiar that few if any former students of the president, as far as I knew, had come forward to talk about his professorial talents and to describe their impressions of him as both a teacher and a man. Lo and behold, today I came across this piece, written by a former law student of President Obama's named Thom Lambert.

Lambert voices his embarrassment at the president's recent remarks in which he seemed to be saying that it would be an unprecedented instance of judicial overreach if the Supreme Court were to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

Here's Lambert:
Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun. Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise. Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5. You’d be a little embarrassed, right? You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.

Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense (the deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act got through the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed to survive a filibuster and passed 219-212 in the House), saying that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that violates the Constitution is like saying that Kansas City is the capital of Kansas.

Thus, a Wall Street Journal editorial queried this about the President who “famously taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago”: “[D]id he somehow not teach the historic case of Marbury v. Madison?”
I don't know which is more remarkable, that Mr. Obama, a "constitutional scholar," would make such an absurd claim or that we now have proof that he actually did teach classes in constitutional law at U. of Chicago.