Networks Fail to Notice Obama Attacking Supreme Court Ahead of ObamaCare Ruling

The “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC all refused to mention on Monday night comments made by President Barack Obama earlier in the day in which he attacked the Supreme Court for taking a case regarding ObamaCare subsidies and warned them not to rule that they’re unconstitutional. 

While the networks arguably would have covered this story if a Republican president went after the Court, they remained on the sidelines as the Fox News Channel (FNC) program Special Report with Bret Baier worked to once again fill the void with not only a full segment, but also a discussion of it with the show’s “All-Star Panel.”

Correspondent Shannon Bream reported about the President’s blunt statements (which were made during a press conference at the G-7 Summit):

Just days away from a Supreme Court ruling on the legality of ObamaCare subsides extended to millions of Americans, the President is not only questioning the legitimacy of the justices even hearing the dispute, but also characterizing an adverse ruling as completely out of line.

Bream then played a portion of Obama’s remarks, in which he blasted the very question that was placed before the Court: “It's not something that should be done based on a twisted interpretation of four words in, as we were reminded repeatedly, a couple thousand page piece of legislation.”

After explaining the arguments made by both sides concerning whether subsidies can be given to those ensured under the health care law in states without their own exchanges, Bream returned to covering the President’s outburst:

Today, Mr. Obama says that would require legal gymnastics. Court watchers say the president's comments seeming to both chide and direct the justices are highly unusual, though he made similar comments in the weeks leading up to the Court's 2012 ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act...The President went on to say that he’s optimistic the Supreme Court will, quote, “play it straight” when it comes to the ruling, implying that a decision striking subsidies would be something else.

Later in the program, the show’s panel debated Obama’s lashing out at the Court and featured FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer lambasting the remarks as “com[ing] under the heading of constitutional indecency.” Nothing how Obama waited until after the Citizens United case was handed down to attack the Court, Krauthammer slammed him for “preemptively attacking the Supreme Court on a case that's in front of it.”

The syndicated columnist then continued:

[B]ut, I mean, this is after years and years of overstepping the boundaries of what Congress is allowed to do. Changing laws unilaterally and expanding executive power way beyond where it should be as in immigration, for example. But here, for the President to speak out and to accuse it, sort of impugn the motives of any justice who rules against him by saying in advance it will be a twisted interpretation that the straight interpretation is exactly what he wants, I think is – it's a pattern in which he steps over the boundaries of what the executive ought to do. It's not illegal, of course, but it shows no respect for the Constitution. 

Krauthammer capped it off by arguing that Obama “did not swear an oath to provide subsidies for healthcare,” but rather “an oath to defend, essentially to respect the Constitution” that he “hasn’t shown.” With a heavy dose of sarcasm, Krauthammer discerned: “Other than that, he has been a great president.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on June 8 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
June 8, 2015
6:31 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Awaiting a Ruling]

BRET BAIER: President Obama says the U.S. Supreme Court really has no business messing with his health care law. The comment comes as the justices consider what to do about language in that law that would seem to make a key element of ObamaCare illegal. Correspondent Shannon Bream fills us in. 

SHANNON BREAM: Just days away from a Supreme Court ruling on the legality of ObamaCare subsides extended to millions of Americans, the President is not only questioning the legitimacy of the justices even hearing the dispute, but also characterizing an adverse ruling as completely out of line. 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's not something that should be done based on a twisted interpretation of four words in, as we were reminded repeatedly, a couple thousand page piece of legislation. 

BREAM: The law says subsidies or tax credits are to be available only in states that is establish their own exchanges. More than 35 of them opted not to, yet the IRS extended subsidies into every state. Critics argued the language is plain, leaving the justices no option but to strike the subsidies extended into states without their own exchanges. Today, Mr. Obama says that would require legal gymnastics. Court watchers say the president's comments seeming to both chide and direct the justices are highly unusual, though he made similar comments in the weeks leading up to the Court's 2012 ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. 

(....)

BREAM: The President went on to say that he’s optimistic the Supreme Court will, quote, “play it straight” when it comes to the ruling, implying that a decision striking subsidies would be something else.

(....)

6:51 p.m. Eastern

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I think this comes under the heading of constitutional indecency. The president preemptively attacking the Supreme Court on a case that's in front of it, at least with Citizens United he stepped over the bounds and attacked it after it had been handed down, but, I mean, this is after years and years of overstepping the boundaries of what Congress is allowed to do. Changing laws unilaterally and expanding executive power way beyond where it should be as in immigration, for example. But here, for the President to speak out and to accuse it, sort of impugn the motives of any justice who rules against him by saying in advance it will be a twisted interpretation that the straight interpretation is exactly what he wants, I think is – it's a pattern in which he steps over the boundaries of what the executive ought to do. It's not illegal, of course, but it shows no respect for the constitution. He did not swear an oath to provide subsidies for healthcare. He swore an oath to defend, essentially to respect the constitution. He hasn't shown that. Other than that, he has been a great president.

NB Daily Judiciary Health Care Medical Insurance Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Liberals & Democrats ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Fox News Channel Special Report Video Government & Press ObamaCare President Barack Obama President Obama Bret Baier Shannon Bream Charles Krauthammer Barack Obama
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