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Holder: Supreme Court power to review laws 'beyond dispute'

April 05, 2012|By Richard A. Serrano
  • Atty. Gen. Eric Holder addresses the second annual National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence April 2, 2012 in Washington.
Atty. Gen. Eric Holder addresses the second annual National Summit on Preventing… (Alex Wong / Getty Images )

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. told a federal appellate court that President Obama respects the Supreme Court's power to interpret the constitutionality of the nation's law, adding that the president's recent comments about the healthcare reform law were "fully consistent" with established judicial precedent.

His three-page letter Thursday came after Judge Jerry E. Smith of the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans criticized Obama for comments that the judge said questioned whether the courts have the power to invalidate acts of Congress. He was irked by the president’s comments earlier this week that it would be "unprecedented" if the Supreme Court, now deciding the 2010 healthcare reform law, overturned the measure.

"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 on Monday.

On Tuesday, Judge Smith asked the administration to clarify that statement, as he was part of a three-judge appellate panel deciding a legal challenge to the healthcare law bought by a group of physician-owned hospitals in Texas.

"The power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute," Holder wrote.

He added, "The longstanding, historical position of the United States regarding judicial review of the constitutionality of federal legislation has not changed."

richard.serrano@latimes.com

Original source: Holder: Supreme Court power to review laws 'beyond dispute'

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