Joe Lieberman: Still A Troll
July 4, 2014

The guy who was supposedly our ideological ally on everything but Iraq said this yesterday on a wingnut television show:

The nation is blessed to have the legal wisdom of the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of the 13 rulings it has made against the Obama administration in the past 18 months, former Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut tells Newsmax TV.

"It's unusual or maybe even unprecedented to have that many decisions," Lieberman said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."

"The good thing to say for those who are worried is that we do have a Supreme Court ... and the vision of the founders to exercise nonpolitical authority to keep our government within the bounds of the Constitution."

Lieberman adds that while not perfect, it works quite well in keeping the White House in check.

"It's not a perfect system but when you've got an ideologically split court and 13 cases saying 9-0 the president or the administration exceeded its constitutional authority, that says something very powerful," Lieberman said.

"It should be reassuring to the American people about protecting their rights." ...

Liberman is parroting this John Fund blog post for National Review, and an assertion by GOP congressman Bob Goodlatte that the "9-0 decision last week was the 13th time the Supreme Court voted 9-0 that the president had exceeded his constitutional authority." That most recent 9-0 decision -- praised by Lieberman -- overturned a Massachusetts law establishing abortion clinic buffer zones. Let me remind you that Lieberman was endorsed by both NARAL and Planned Parenthood in his last Senate race; in response to the Planned Parenthood endorsement, Lieberman said this:

"I am extremely proud to receive this endorsement from Planned Parenthood," said Lieberman. "Throughout my career I have tirelessly fought to protect women's rights. I am energized by this show of support and I look forward to being able to continue fighting to protect every woman's most basic freedom… -- choice."

That was from a press release that called Lieberman "an ardent defender of women's right to choose."

Lieberman parrots Goodlatte's language in saying that these cases were in response to 13 instances in which "the president or the administration exceeded its constitutional authority." Politifact, addressing Goodlatte's comments, calls this unambiguously "false":

For starters, in eight of the cases, the alleged overreach occurred under President George W. Bush, as did the court cases that challenged the administration (United States vs. Jones, Sackett vs. EPA, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School vs. EEOC, Gabelli vs. SEC, Arkansas Fish & Game Commission v. United States, PPL Corp. vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Horne vs. USDA, and Bond vs. United States). Bush's Justice Department handled the initial court proceedings in most instances....

Additionally, in many of the cases, executive overreach wasn't really even at issue. For example, in United States vs. Jones, the court was ruling on whether the FBI had the power to use a GPS to track a suspect and gather evidence.

Technically, the FBI is a federal department under the Justice Department, a department in the executive branch. But the court was not reeling in an administration that was abusing power. Rather, "it gave us some guidance about how new technology and the Fourth Amendment should interact," [Georgtown University law professor Susan] Bloch said. "It has nothing to do with presidential authority." ...

Another case on the list was last week's ruling in United States vs. Wurie, which was decided along with Riley vs. California. The court ruled that police could not search your cell phone without a warrant if you were arrested.

... the Wurie case ... also originated prior to Obama taking office and was the result of a Boston police effort. Like the Jones case, it dealt with technology issues, not executive overreach.

Another case on the Goodlatte's list and decided last week, McCullen vs. Coakley, dealt with state laws, particular whether a Massachusetts law that put no-protest zones around abortion clinics was constitutional. While the Obama administration filed a brief supporting the Massachusetts law, the issue decided had little to do with executive authority....

Verdict: Lieberman is still a Democrat-bashing troll.

(Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog)

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