Just about every player in connection with the President’s remarks about the Supreme Court seem to me to be acting oddly or imprudently.
What a terrible idea for the President to charge the Supreme Court with an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” of judicial activism if it strikes down parts of the health care law. It was not a bad idea because it constituted bullying of the Court. It was a bad idea – at least from the President’s perspective – because it makes it harder for the Justices to rule in favor of the President’s position. After his very public criticism, a vote to uphold the law by the Justices who sharply questioned the law at oral argument will invariably be seen as cowing to the President – an appearance, I am confident, the Justices very much want to avoid. In other words, by questioning the Justice’s independence, the President made it harder for the Justices whose votes he needs to act in his favor. That, I suspect, is why the President has tried to walk back his remarks.