KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Attorney General: DOJ Will Respond To Federal Judge On Judicial Review

In what has become a charged exchange, a federal judge in Texas demanded the Obama administration explain its views on the court's authority to overturn acts of Congress. Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday the Justice Department would respond "appropriately."

The Associated Press: Holder: Justice Department Will Respond To Judge
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that the Justice Department will respond "appropriately" to a federal appellate judge in Texas who demanded a letter recognizing federal courts' authority to strike down laws passed by Congress. Holder spoke a day after 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith questioned President Barack Obama's remarks this week about an "unelected" court possibly striking down the president's health care overhaul. Smith, during oral arguments in a separate challenge to the health law, asked the Justice Department for a three-page, single-spaced letter affirming the federal court's authority (Johnson, 4/4).

Bloomberg: Obama Health Remarks Draw Order For U.S. View On Court
A federal appeals court hearing a challenge to part of the 2010 health-care law ordered President Barack Obama's administration to give its view on whether the U.S. Supreme Court can strike down laws it considers unconstitutional. Obama, a Democrat, said April 2 that it would amount to "judicial activism" for the Supreme Court to throw out the statute….U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan, a Republican, asked U.S. Justice Department lawyer Dana Lydia Kaersvang during oral arguments in Houston yesterday to supply the administration’s position on so-called judicial review (Brubaker Calkins, 4/4).

Boston Globe: Judge Orders Justice Dept. To Acknowledge Courts' Power
A federal judge in Texas has demanded the Department of Justice acknowledge courts' authority to strike down acts of Congress, after President Obama said Monday that a Supreme Court ruling against his signature health care law would be an "unprecedented" display of "judicial activism." Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry E. Smith, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, said Tuesday that Obama's statements "troubled a number of people who have read it as somehow a challenge to the federal courts or to their authority or to the appropriateness of the concept of judicial review" (Borchers, 4/4).

The Hill: Bush Attorney General Defends Judge's Probe Of Obama Health Care Comments
A former attorney general on Wednesday defended the federal judge who demanded an explanation of comments President Obama has made about the Supreme Court and healthcare reform. Judge Jerry Smith, who sits on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, ordered the Justice Department to file a three-page letter explaining whether it believes courts have the power to strike down federal laws (Baker, 4/4).

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