White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recalibrated his spin today on President Barack Obama’s verbal goof on the Supreme Court, contending that the president’s statement Monday about an “unprecedented” ruling amounted to “shorthand.”
“Because he is a constitutional law professor, he spoke in shorthand,” Carney said, as he sought for a second day to swat away questions about the president’s demonstrably false remark Monday that it would be “unprecedented” for the court to strike down a law that was enacted with a “strong majority” in Congress.
Carney acknowledged that the president on Monday did not include the full context for his “unprecedented” remark — that it would be unprecedented for the court to reject a law with national economic significance on Commerce Clause grounds in 85 years — but said that it was “preposterous” to suggest that Obama does not understand the court’s role and ability to determine which laws are constitutional.
“The president believes the Supreme Court has the final word,” Carney said.
Carney’s explanations earned a few retorts from CBS correspondent Bill Plante. “He made a mistake and you can’t admit it,” Plante said. Plante later asked Carney if the mind reader paid by the General Services Administration in a wasteful spending scandal knew what the president meant on Monday.
Republicans, meanwhile, stepped up their attacks on the president for his remarks on the court, accusing him of crossing an important line in the separation of powers.
“The president crossed a dangerous line this week. And anyone who cares about liberty needs to call him out on it,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in prepared remarks today. “I would suggest the president back off. ... Let the court do its work. Let our system work the way it was intended. The stability of our system and our laws and our very government depends on it. And the duties of the presidency demand it.”
From left, Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., David Goldman, the father of a child who was abducted to Brazil by the mother, and Arvind Chawdra, a father whose two children were abducted to India by their mother, attend a news conference in the Rayburn House Office Building on international child abduction.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.