Today Rush Limbaugh had a segment cheering on Judge Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit for joining the “team” that is trying to make President Obama “a one-termer this November at the ballot box”:
Now, yesterday afternoon a federal judge by the name of Jerry Smith at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston had had enough, and he demanded that the Justice Department give him a three-page memo on whether or not this administration understands the concept of judicial review. Now, I saw this and I started cheering. I started laughing. Because it’s about time people started fighting back on this. The American people love the concept of a team. You have to have the right people on the team, but we are a team here. There is a team that’s opposing this president, and attempting to make him a one-termer this November at the ballot box. It’s great to have this response.
After playing the audio recording of Judge Smith’s statements at oral argument yesterday, Rush adds:
By the way, I love the fact that [Judge Smith] called it “Obamacare” from the bench. And he tells this lawyer: You go back to your boss and I want three pages on this. This is like a college professor punishing a student who doesn’t quite understand what’s going on. You go back, and you get me three pages, no less, single-spaced. I can’t believe it. Single-spaced! He gets that specific. And it needs to be specific, because he wants these people on record. Obama’s out saying, “There is no such thing; that’s never happened.” Judge Smith wants Obama’s Justice Department to have it on paper from their office that essentially the president either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is lying. That’s what’s going on here. These judges, folks, they serve for life. Their egos aren’t chump change, either. They have just the same kind of self-importance Obama does, and they’re gonna sit around here and be belittled like this?
I think the court’s order was highly inappropriate, and Rush’s comments are an excellent example of why. Whatever the judges were thinking, their order was inevitably going to be interpreted as the product of three conservative judges trying to enter the political fray and take on a Democratic President. As Rush and many others saw it, the judges were joining the GOP “team,” trying to “punish” Obama and make him a “one-termer.” Rush Limbaugh celebrates that political role for the Fifth Circuit. Others condemn it. But given that the President’s statement at the press conference was not at issue in the case, and the court’s order was based on a very strained reading of a single sentence in the press conference, it was inevitable that the order would be interpreted in that way on the national political stage.