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Policy: Law

Obama's differing reactions to Supreme Court rulings

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Beltway Confidential,White House,Barack Obama,Supreme Court,Ashe Schow,Law

When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Obama's signature health care legislation in 2012, Obama was all about the court, saying, "the highest court in the land has now spoken" and "it's time to move forward" in regards to implementing the law.

"What we won't do, what the country can't afford to do, is re-fight the political battles of two years ago," Obama said at the time.

Fast forward to today, and the president has taken a different tune now that the high court has defied him. Today, Obama called the decision to allow states to determine their own laws a "setback." Not only did Obama not refer to the court as "the highest court in the land," but he also decided that instead of moving forward and not fighting previous battles, Congress should completely revisit last year's voter ID battles and pass legislation that ensures an end-run around the court.

At issue is a provision in the Voting Rights Act designed to combat voting discrimination by allowing the federal government to oversee states' changes to voting practices. The issue arose last year when several states tried to implement ID laws that would require voters to show some form of photo identification at the polls to prove who they were. Keep in mind that you need a photo ID to buy a house, open a bank account, get medical care, get married and buy alcohol and dozens of other items, so requiring one to vote should have in no way made it difficult for anyone to cast a ballot.

But logic aside, opponents claimed that these laws would disenfranchise minorities who would have difficult obtaining an ID -- ignoring the fact that most of the voter ID laws included provisions to provide ID cardss to those who didn't already have one.

The decision didn't go Obama's way, so now he's taking his ball and going home.

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