A federal judge on Tuesday expressed concern over President Obama’s comments on the Supreme Court’s consideration of the health-care law and demanded a letter explaining whether Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. believes federal judges have the authority to strike down federal laws.
Judge Jerry Smith, a Republican appointee on the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the 5th Circuit, was part of a three-judge panel hearing
arguments in a lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act when he issued his
unusual demand, saying the Justice Department must submit the
three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday, according to a lawyer
who was in the courtroom. The demand was first reported by CBS News.
The lawyer said Smith cited Obama’s statements Monday,
when in unusually blunt language, the president said overturning the
law would amount to an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” of judicial
The judge “said the president has been saying that
unelected branches of government shouldn’t be activist and strike down
federal laws,’’ according to the lawyer, who spoke on condition of
anonymity to avoid antagonizing either side. (Continues)