Newspaper article The Canadian Press

His Health Act under Threat, Obama Lectures Supreme Court on Constitutional Law

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

His Health Act under Threat, Obama Lectures Supreme Court on Constitutional Law

Article excerpt

Obama, his health law at risk, lectures court

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WASHINGTON - With his proudest achievement in danger of being torpedoed by an imminent U.S. Supreme Court decision, President Barack Obama has pre-emptively fired off a rocket of his own -- one aimed directly at the high court itself.

The president is challenging the court's decision to even hear a case that could shred the Affordable Care Act, the landmark legislation better known as Obamacare.

With a ruling expected this month, the president offered clear signs Monday that he's gearing up for one more possible fight over the bill that will define his legislative legacy.

The White House said Obama will deliver a speech Tuesday on the history of health reform in the United States, and a century of failed previous attempts to provide universal coverage.

He also challenged the court's wisdom in hearing the King vs. Burwell case. A group of Obamacare opponents have found a four-word phrase in the law that they believe essentially renders it invalid in 34 states.

The law's defenders call those words an insignificant error in the law's drafting.

The president switched into his role as a former constitutional law professor Monday to lecture those obsessing over what his side describes as a legislative typo.

"This should be an easy case," Obama told a news conference in Germany, before coming home from the G7 summit.

"Frankly, it probably shouldn't even have been taken up. And, you know, since we're going to get a ruling pretty quick, I think it's important for us to go ahead and assume that the Supreme Court is going to do what most legal scholars who've looked at this would expect them to do."

Under well-established legal precedent, he said, both liberal and conservative judges have historically tended to interpret laws, to the greatest extent possible, on how lawmakers intended to write them -- not on the literal wording.

And he said it's clear what lawmakers intended to create in 2010: a national system of health exchanges, with some run by participating states and the rest co-ordinated by the federal government, all aimed at providing coverage across the country for people with all medical conditions. …

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