One week after the U.S. Supreme Court opened oral arguments in the federal challenge to the federal health care law, President Barack Obama expressed confidence that the law would be upheld. Striking the law down, the president warned, would be an act of judicial activism.
“Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” Obama said during a news conference Monday. “And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint – that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.”
Obama stressed that the individual mandate at the heart of the constitutional challenge is a crucial element of the law.
“I think it’s important, and I think the American people understand, and I think the justices should understand, that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care,” Obama said. “So there’s not only a economic element to this, and a legal element to this, but there’s a human element to this. And I hope that’s not forgotten in this political debate.”