For a former senior lecturer in constitutional law, Obama is making a fool of himself for claiming that it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to strike down the new health care law.
Even high school civics classes teach that the first precedent for overturning a law was Marbury vs Madison. In 1803 the Supreme Court declared a portion of the Judiciary Act of 1789 to be unconstitutional. This established the principle of judicial review. Judicial review means that the Supreme Court Justices can decide the constitutionality of state and federal laws.
Another good example is Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka. This case, argued by Thurgood Marshall on behalf of the NAACP, over turned the previous Supreme Court decision in Plessy vs Ferguson. In the 1896 Plessy case, the Supreme Court declared that “separate but equal” facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional. In 1954, the Supreme Court in Brown vs Topeka ruled that “separate but equal” facilities were unconstitutional. The court by threw out the old law started the nation on the road to integration. It was the opening salvo for a whole series of cases dealing with equality.