Human Events Blog

White House works to influence the Supreme Court on ObamaCare

The New York Times reported Friday on the aggressive White House campaign “to use approaching Supreme Court arguments on the new health care law as a moment to build support for the measure seen as President Obama’s signature legislative achievement”:

On Wednesday, White House officials summoned dozens of leaders of nonprofit organizations that strongly back the health law to help them coordinate plans for a prayer vigil, press conferences and other events outside the court when justices hear arguments for three days beginning March 26.

Just for fun, close your eyes and imagine a Republican president was summoning dozens of non-profit organizations to coordinate activities, including a prayer vigil, for his signature legislation, and imagine the media reaction.  While you’re at it, imagine that same Republican president was making blatant attempts to influence the Supreme Court in defense of his legislation:

The advocates and officials mapped out a strategy to call attention to tangible benefits of the law, like increased insurance coverage for young adults. Sensitive to the idea that they were encouraging demonstrations, White House officials denied that they were trying to gin up support by encouraging rallies outside the Supreme Court, just a stone’s throw from Congress on Capitol Hill. They said a main purpose of this week’s meeting, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, was to give the various groups a chance to learn of the plans.

For months, Democrats in Congress and progressive groups have urged the White House to make a more forceful defense of the health care law, which is denounced almost daily by Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.

Don’t forget that the American people denounced ObamaCare daily too, New York Times!  They hate ObamaCare.  They’ve hated it since the day it was passed, and they hate it even more, as its grim practical-joke peanut cans pop open, and throw budget-blasting, liberty-shredding surprises in their faces.  At the moment, polls show Americans oppose ObamaCare by 11 to 13 points.  A December poll from the Associated Press showed they opposed ObamaCare by twenty points.

Sadly, the necessity of trying to manipulate the Supreme Court has distracted President Solyndra from his brilliant management of the U.S. economy:

Administration officials said that they would much prefer to focus on job creation and the need for clean energy at the moment and that the court arguments were forcing health care to the forefront. But they appear to have decided that they cannot risk allowing the court proceedings to unfold without making sure that backers of the sweeping overhaul will be prominent and outspoken.

To be sure, the opponents of ObamaCare are not sitting on their hands:

Opponents of the law will be active as well and are planning to show their sentiments at a rally on the Capitol grounds on March 27, the second day of Supreme Court arguments. Republican lawmakers, including Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, are expected to address the rally, being organized by Americans for Prosperity, with support from conservative and free-market groups like the Tea Party Express.

But they don’t have anything to compare with the taxpayer-funded firepower of the White House, and the lockstep solidarity of the Left’s grievance coalition:

People who attended the meeting on Wednesday said the speakers included Jennifer Palmieri, deputy communications director at the White House; Jon Carson, director of the president’s Office of Public Engagement; Jeanne M. Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy; and Mark B. Childress, a deputy chief of staff at the White House.

“The White House was very encouraging and supportive of our activities,” said Ronald F. Pollack, executive director of Families USA, one of more than 60 organizations that sent representatives to the meeting.

Mr. Pollack said the theme of events at the Supreme Court would be, “Protect our health care, protect the law.”

Jennifer M. Ng’andu, a health policy specialist at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic rights group, said White House officials emphasized that the court case provided “a great opportunity to highlight benefits of the law for real people.”

A White House official who attended the session said that at least 100 people were present, but he declined to provide a list of their organizations.

Of course he did.  Nothing less would be expected of The Most Transparent Administration In History.  I wonder who they’re hiding, when they’re apparently comfortable with admitting they invited a group whose name translates to “The Race.”  And this fog-shrouded White House isn’t shy about playing hardball with people who oppose it, such as Americans for Prosperity:

On its Web site, the Obama re-election campaign describes Americans for Prosperity as a “special-interest front group run by the oil billionaire Koch brothers.” In a recent fund-raising appeal, Jim Messina, the campaign manager, said that the oilmen, Charles and David Koch, were “obsessed with making Barack Obama a one-term president.”

Mr. Russell said, “The Koch brothers were involved in the founding of Americans for Prosperity and contribute to it, but they are just two out of 90,000 donors.”

Now, hold on a second.  Didn’t Barack Obama just make a big spectacle about the evils of attacking private citizens who choose to become involved in politics, in part because he doesn’t want his daughters to worry about being “attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens?”  I guess that only applies to people with the correct politics.

In theory, the Supreme Court would consider the constitutionality of the absurdly unconstitutional “individual mandate” in a scholarly vacuum, unperturbed by what anyone is doing on the lawn outside.  In practice, the Court is subject to popular and political influence.  One of the biggest battles Obama will face is the patent absurdity of keeping Justice Elena Kagan on the case, when the need for her recusal is blindingly obvious.  There isn’t any mechanism for forcing Kagan off the case – it’s up to her.  Muddying the waters, to keep the American public from shaking the walls of the Supreme Court with a united cry for her to step aside, is a crucial political objective for the White House.

Both sides of this debate are also well aware that the saga of ObamaCare will not end in the Supreme Court.  You don’t seriously think Obama will shrug and return to the drawing board if the Court tears out the beating heart of his monstrous “legislative achievement,” do you?  Of course not.  He won’t admit the whole thing is an unsalvageable mess when its core principle is ruled out of order.  The already broken and bloated ObamaCare nightmare will lurch onward, even as the final stitches of fiscal sanity are pulled out of it. 

ObamaCare’s opponents will likewise continue their attempts at legislative repeal, if the Court doesn’t destroy it.  The results of ObamaCare’s constitutional challenge will be enormously important – in fact, a Court defeat could actually make legislative repeal more politically difficult, since certain opponents of the President’s program have heavily based their complaint on the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate – the one thing that separates ObamaCare from certainly highly similar programs in certain states that have a lot of esses and tees in their name.  

Sign Up