When President Obama said that "unelected" justices shouldn't overturn ObamaCare, he apparently offended a federal appeals court judge in Houston. Yesterday, during oral arguments on a separate challenge of the health care law, Judge Jerry Smith asked a Justice Department attorney to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter specifically referring to Obama's comments, and acknowledging "that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice do recognize the authority of the federal courts through unelected judges to strike acts of Congress or portions thereof in appropriate cases."
Attorney Dana Kaersvang seemed "somewhat surprised" when presented with the request, the AP notes, and assured Smith that the Justice Department does recognize the judicial review powers held by the courts, but Smith insisted on the letter anyway. Earlier yesterday, at a meeting of the AP in Washington, Obama had clarified his comments. The Supreme Court "is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it," he said. "I have enormous confidence that in looking at this law, not only is it constitutional, but that the Court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully because of the profound power that our Supreme Court has." (Read more Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act stories.)