Last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that he will respond “appropriately” to the demand made by a federal appellate judge that the Justice Department provide him with a written statement reaffirming the department's respect for the authority of the federal courts to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional.
The request was made Tuesday by U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith. Smith was concerned about statements made earlier by President Barack Obama. In his comments, the President seemed to indicate doubt regarding the right of the judiciary to strike down ObamaCare, a law passed by the duly elected representatives of the people. President Obama leaned on the "unelected" courts not to make the "unprecedented" move of overturning a "duly constituted and passed law."
During oral arguments made in a challenge to ObamaCare over which he is presiding, Smith revealed his disappointment with the President’s meddling and announced that he wanted an explanation of whether the President and Holder believe it is "inappropriate" for federal courts to overturn congressional laws. Further, Judge Smith insisted that the letter include a statement clarifying the issue of whether the Obama administration recognized the power of federal courts to overturn laws held to violate the Constitution.
In his remarks, Judge Smith laid out the formatting requirements for the letter he requires of the government:
The letter needs to be at least three pages, single spaced, no less and it needs to be specific. It needs to make specific reference to the president's statements.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Smith would make no further comments on the matter, as the case is pending before his court.
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Photo of Eric Holder: AP Images