Democrats going after SCOTUS prior to ObamaCare ruling
Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales reacts
- Duration 8:32
- Date May 24, 2012
Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales reacts
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-- struck by how little respect some of the justices.
Show congress -- dismissed as they were of the months of work we edit hearings dozens of hearings.
-- the committee actions.
President may have amendments and motions of point of order.
On the senate and house floor before the measures enacted.
-- that was almost summarily dismissed myself.
New fallout today from those remarks and many others that were made on the senate floor.
By the democratic senate Judiciary Chairman pat Leahy that's the committee in the US senate that confirmed Supreme Court justices.
Senator Leahy taking to the senate floor recently just days before a possible Supreme Court ruling on the president's health care law.
The senator giving a speech that sounded a whole lot like a warning shot across the ballot Chief Justice John Roberts warning of judicial activism.
If this court.
Rules against the president's signature legislative achievement.
The warning comes just one month after President Obama said an adverse ruling on health care law would -- quote judicial activism remarks he then came under criticism for.
Joining me now Alberto Gonzales.
He's the former US attorney general under president George W.
Bush former counsel to president George W.
Bush and -- counsel at Waller law firm.
General thank you so much for being here and and you're also on the Texas Supreme Court -- you know what it's like to be a judge.
In the highest court in a state that what not not completely unlike being a judge the highest court in the land.
You tell me what senator -- offering a warning in your -- Chief Justice John Roberts.
And the others who might rule against the president's health care law.
Well I think he was that you know and a half I think it's important to understand that that for someone who has lifetime -- like the Chief Justice.
I'm not sure how much attention is gonna pay to the -- -- -- President Obama.
Who may be out of a job and in a few months -- you know I think judges generally.
They are concerned about their legacy some more than others.
But the best way to protect your legacy to enhance your legacy is simply to do your job as a justice to apply the law and and I every confidence said.
Someone like chief Justice Roberts is gonna do that -- I interviewed.
And recommended -- that chief Justice Roberts to to to President Bush so I feel like -- have pretty good idea bad about the way he's approached these kinds of cases.
And I have every confidence that he's going to apply the law it is true that in some certain instances.
In the -- the congress does pass a law signed into law by the president that is unconstitutional.
And it's not unprecedented for the for the courts to strike down such acts and so if that's what the court decides here than the court will will will decide according.
He bit do you think that it was appropriate but what senator Leahy said in the way he set out.
The -- legal standard by which he thinks this court should be approaching this in particular he said they are supposed to begin their inquiry by respecting the will of the people.
Well I do believe as a justice I always begin with the presumption that an act passed by the Texas legislature for example.
If hours sitting on the court and I suspect.
Some of the summit not all the -- is begin with the same assumption that an act passed by congress.
Is constitutional but that -- in the end of the inquiry that's the beginning of the inquiry.
From there you look at the constitution you look at the words of the statute and you make a decision you you do your job as to whether or not the law passed by congress.
Is consistent with the constitution.
Is he authority granted by that statute.
Consistent with the constitution.
I got quite frankly having some of the language here is a bit over the top.
It's confrontational to the court.
I think it may be counterproductive I don't think it's gonna have an influence them on members of the court.
-- I'm very confident that they're gonna do their job and apply the laws they say it.
I think you know it just based on having covered the high court for a few years for Fox News and and practicing -- myself for nine years.
-- in my experience tells me right at the High Court business or listen to politicians who are out there.
You know saying don't do this or do do this although it is unusual for that kind of warning shot to come before the -- even been issued.
As opposed to criticism after the fact nonetheless.
This is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee he is in a position to influence a lot of people.
And -- a lot of Americans who are trying to pay attention to this debate wondering now.
Whether he is right that's and I quote.
This case should not become an instance in which a conservative activist majority on the Supreme Court intervenes by way of another 54 decision.
Driven by ideology to rewrite the law I mean it seems.
Like he is undermining.
A possible decision against obamacare before it's even handed down.
Well I'd I didn't believe I -- with that -- it is wrong for any member of congress much less the chairman judiciary committee to make statements to call into question the integrity.
That the motives of a -- for the decision is even rendered.
Let's wait for the for the for the judges to do their job and then we can flatten then I think it is appropriate to analyze to critique.
To criticize a decision.
And we did that -- what we're used to that I mean that is High Court accident -- -- criticize all the time.
But it is usually after people as -- -- -- real.
No question about it and and again -- I think even after the fact I think it's appropriate to say.
-- not we respectfully disagree with the decision of the court but we're gonna follow that decision because that is that is a role the court.
That's the way our system of checks and balances works out again I think -- I'd -- questioning the propriety of calling into question.
The motivation of the -- before even -- I want to say about that though because when you get an adverse ruling from the Supreme Court as both sides don't -- a feeling senator Leahy -- wouldn't be upset about.
-- -- -- ideological.
Ruling if it went five for his way.
What obligation do our politicians.
On both sides of the -- have to be respectful of the US Supreme Court even if they disagree with -- I -- These justices they can't fight back they can't.
They they don't go on cable news they don't speak out.
And an offer more analysis about the rulings the ruling is what it is and then they sort -- have to sit back and take get.
So what obligation is there at as a as a senator as a politician to sort of keep your powder dry.
Well I'm forty touched upon this mega yeah I think it's it is inappropriate to call into question.
-- The motives.
The -- before even renders a decision.
Not to perhaps suggest that that the court is motivated by by political ideology.
I don't believe that Betty is appropriate.
But listen to senator Leahy had an opportunity to question chief Justice Roberts.
That's the role -- judiciary committee to reevaluate how an individual is gonna make a decision once they go on the court and and and decision's been made by the US senate.
-- persons like Jud chief Justice Roberts is qualified to serve on the court.
And and clearly over a period of time deeper than that -- some decisions people are not gonna like some decisions.
But as long as the just -- they're doing their jobs and their ruling in a way that's consistent.
And defend the -- in terms of what the constitution.
Requires half then I think that that we have to accept those decisions.
Before LA got a -- at -- ask -- for quick answer on this weekend.
Some on the right are now saying they are concerned the chief Justice Roberts is not gonna go along with the way they want to see this case come out they believe he might go with the liberals.
In a possible decision to uphold the law as you say having been the -- to recommend him for -- to the High Court to President Bush.
What is your what is your anecdotal -- on.
This is a very hard decision.
I almost laughed when I -- at pundits say you know it's gonna go that's what's gonna go that way it's gonna is it fairly easy decision I think this is a very difficult decision.
Difficult -- respective jurisdiction to -- with respect to whether or not congress has the authority to -- Difficult with respect if congress doesn't have the authority can be severed -- in my -- it's a very difficult decision.
I think I think chief Justice Roberts is gonna find a way to decide this case in the most narrow grounds possible.
But beyond that you know I'm like he is just to get it's it's -- hard to predict where the court's gonna come out.
Time now let layup a hook on that while -- not nearly handicap it that well narrow decision that doesn't tell -- much general -- is there.
Thank you that's that you -- -- typical lawyer we always like to hedge our bets.
But we should know soon how that that will come out whatever we think it's gonna go because high court's gonna come out with this decision.