Obama Says Court Overturning Health Law Would Be ‘Activism’

President Barack Obama, saying he’s confident the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the 2010 health-care law, said the “burden is on those who would overturn” a law that requires Americans to have insurance.

“The Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it,” Obama said at an Associated Press luncheon in Washington. “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.”

The president’s comments marked the second time in as many days that the one-time constitutional law professor weighed in on the legality of his presidency’s signature accomplishment. He professed “enormous confidence” that the law is constitutional and that “the court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully.”

After his comments yesterday, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said that inserting the court’s deliberations into the nation’s partisan political context was a “threat” that a president shouldn’t make.

‘Outrageous’ Step

“What the president is doing with the Supreme Court is outrageous,” McConnell said today, before Obama spoke. “He’s trying to intimidate them into making a decision on Obamacare that he favors. And the threat is, if you don’t decide the way I want you to, I will make you an issue in the campaign.”

Obama yesterday said it would amount to “judicial activism” for the justices to throw out the health-care statute.

The Supreme Court heard arguments over a three-day stretch last week on challenges to the law. The court is expected to issue a ruling by late June.

“There’s not only an economic element to this and a legal element to this, but there’s a human element to this, and I hope that is not forgotten in this political debate,” Obama said yesterday, pointing to provisions that provide medical care to people who otherwise wouldn’t have it.

The Supreme Court arguments have hurt the image of both the court and the health-care law, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Washington Post. Twenty-one percent said their view of the court is less favorable and 23 percent said their opinion of the statute is less favorable, the survey found.

The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted March 29-April 1. It has an error margin of plus or minus four percentage points.

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