CHARLESTON -– West Virginia Supreme Court candidate Allen Loughry took exception to President Barack Obama's comments surrounding the role of the judiciary made last week.
"I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," Obama said in defense of what is commonly known as Obamacare. "And I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.
"Well, this is a good example. And I'm pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step."
Loughry took offense.
"I am deeply troubled by President Obama's recent comments surrounding the role of the judiciary," Loughry said. "A court's impartiality is its principal source of its strength and legitimacy."
Loughry said an impartial judiciary is necessary for a separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. He also said that pressure on the judiciary branch from the other branches of government, or from influential individuals, erodes democracy.
"Judges should not be subject to pressure from the other branches of government or from politically powerful and well-connected individuals or groups," Loughry said. "They must be able to make impartial decisions based solely upon our laws. This is necessary for both individual liberty and economic prosperity and serves even a far more important goal of maintaining public trust in the legal system as it keeps the other political branches in check."
Loughry said the concept of judicial review is more than two centuries old and he is committed to defending it regardless of political pressure.
"Judicial review has been firmly established since the United States Supreme Court's 1803 landmark case of Marbury v. Madison," Loughry said. "That decision resulted in the first time in the history of the United States that a court invalidated a law by declaring it 'unconstitutional.'"
In light of the State's Code of Judicial Conduct, judicial candidates are limited in their ability to make comments about other candidates running for office. Loughry explained, however, that his comments were specifically directed at the President's remarks concerning the judicial branch of government.
"This is not about the President, his re-election, or any candidate's re-election for that matter. It is not about Republican versus Democrat, and it is certainly not about Obamacare," said Loughry. "This is about recognizing and respecting the importance of an impartial judiciary and allowing it to serve as the check and balance on the three branches of government as provided by the Constitution."