Can Obama use Supreme Court decisions as a campaign tool?

Although decisions have not been released, the U.S. Supreme Court have appeared very cool to the Obama administration in two very high-profile cases: the review of the president’s health care insurance reform law and the administration’s opposition to Arizona crafting its own anti-immigration laws.

Some political observers have suggested that President Obama’s re-election campaign, as well as the Democratic Party’s national campaign committee, could “run against the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court.” If both the ObamaCare and Arizona immigration law cases go against the Obama administration, the assumption is that popular outrage over the high court verdicts could help Obama and Democrats in November.

However, poll data from Quinnipiac University polling suggests that tactic would not work. In an April 20 national poll, a strong plurality of respondents, 49 percent, believe that the U.S. Supreme Court should overturn the health care law. In regards to Arizona’s anti-immigration law, a strong majority, 62 percent, say the high court should uphold the Arizona law. Only 27 percent of respondents want it overturned. (Read)

These numbers question the assumption that a conservative U.S. Supreme Court is out of touch with mainstream America. In fact, if the high court rules against ObamaCare and for Arizona, it appears its opinion is one that most of us agree with. Also, the poll data contradicts the assumption that overturning ObamaCare, or upholding Arizona’s law, would be an effective campaign tool for the president. At best, anger over the decisions could motivate progressive voters to the polls, but I have not seen data that might confirm that.

The consequences of the Arizona law being upheld is fascinating because it eliminates a constant argument from detractors that any state action that attempts to enforce federal law is unconstitutional. That is the basis for many lower-court decisions striking down state-directed immigration laws, and it is the main argument of the Obama administration as well. The high court was very skeptical of that argument. If its tossed by the Supreme Court, there’s no reason Utah’s recent immigration laws, that are tied up in litigation, should be delayed from implementation. The same applies to many other states.

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12 Responses to Can Obama use Supreme Court decisions as a campaign tool?

  1. Brent Glines says:

    I’m not seeing how two failures before the Supreme Court on subjects strongly supported by most Americans can possibly work in Obama’s favor.

    Since when did incompetance become a selling point?
    (cross posted on Doug’s facebook page).

  2. Doug Gibson says:

    What some may be thinking is that two losses on high-profile issues before the U.S. Supreme Court could inspire enough anger to galvanize the president’s base, and the Hispanic vote, and send high percentages of them to the polls. However, I agree that a widespread surge of support across the board on these issues is a fantasy.

  3. Midwinter says:

    If Obamacare is overturned, even in part, expect the DNC to make “activist judges” a major part of its campaign language.

    • Doug Gibson says:

      I agree it will happen. Maybe that more subtle approach will work better than an attack on the Supreme Court as an institution, but I don’t think there will be widespread anger over ObamaCare being overturned. Citing Citizens United might work better.

      • midwinter says:

        Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think the DNC would campaign against the 3rd branch of government other than to point out that one of the consequences of elections is that presidents get to appoint SCOTUS judges.

        At any rate, people are only opposed to Obamacare in the abstract; they are for it in the particular. It’s going to be really, really difficult for the GOP to advocate recision and get any traction among independents.

  4. Pingback: Will the Supreme Court Split the Difference on Health Care and Immigration? – Huffington Post | World News Magazine

  5. Pingback: Will the Supreme Court Split the Difference on Health Care and Immigration? – Huffington Post | Support Health Reform

  6. Myth Buster says:

    SCOTUS decision on Universal Health Care will be released in June. Forcing commerce between individuals and States, the Federal Government or Foreign Powers violates the Constitution. A SCOTUS vote for this Socialist legislation will abrogate their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution; 9 more Traitors will have come out of the closet.

  7. Steve Stones says:

    Mr. Brent Glines loves a good debate whenever he can get it. LOL

    • Brent Glines says:

      Alas, there’s not much debate going on in the SE blogs lately, which is why I prefer Doug’s Facebook page.

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