As far as I can tell at this point, this story originated with a Republican congressman from Virginia, Bob Goodlatte, who had this to say recently:
"The "9-0 decision last week was the 13th time the Supreme Court voted 9-0 that the president had exceeded his constitutional authority."
This claim has now spread to many right wing sources of information. The following are only a few.
Here's the innocuous sounding Business Insider on the subject:
"Since January 2012, the Obama administration has suffered at least 13 unanimous defeats in cases it argued (not counting cases in which it filed an amicus brief), according to the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute.
Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, told Business Insider that...unanimous decisions are "indicative of an administration that pushes and breaks through the envelope in its assertion of federal power."
Added a GOP Senate aide in an email to Business Insider: "Recent court decisions say as much about Democrat overreach as they do about anything else, and no data point underscores that more clearly than the dozen unanimous defeats they’ve handed to Obama."
And the long time right wing hack John Fund, at National Review Online:
"Supreme Court Rules Unanimously Against Obama for 12th and 13th Time Since 2012...Did you know the Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least 13 – thirteen — cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012 that were unanimous decisions?...The tenure of both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder has been marked by a dangerous push to legitimize a vast expansion of the power of the federal government that endangers the liberty and freedom of Americans."
This story has now even infiltrated its way into the supposedly reliable Washington Post:
"the cases decided today and yesterday are the 12th and 13th unanimous Supreme Court defeats for the administration since 2012."
Of course, the "mainstream" Republican party couldn't leave the story alone. Here's Reince Priebus:
“After being rebuked 13 times by a unanimous Supreme Court in just 3 years and with the House of Representatives filing a lawsuit to curb Obama’s presidential overreach, you'd think this administration would get the message,” he said. “Our Constitution is not a list of suggestions. Our Founders were not mistaken when they created three separate branches of government.”
And of course, Ted Cruz:
“Today, the Supreme Court invalidated President Obama’s unlawful abuse of the President’s recess appointments power. President Obama ignored the plain text of the Constitution and attempted to make unilateral recess appointments—circumventing the checks and balances of confirmation—when the Senate was not, in fact, in recess. Today, a unanimous Court rightly rejected that presidential abuse of power. This marks the twelfth time since January 2012 that the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the Obama Administration’s calls for greater federal executive power.”
Ted apparently can't count to thirteen.
And why is this important? This mass attack is designed, as its adherents say over and over again, to cast Obama as an out of control would-be dictator who is openly working to destroy the Constitution and the rule of law. Of course, this has been a Republican claim for a long time, but this is a little different. It is clearly designed to set the stage for impeachment, by propagandizing the American people to believe that Obama is in fact far outside the limits that former Presidents have recognized.
So, what is the truth? Let's turn to Polifact:
"in eight of the cases, the alleged overreach occurred under President George W. Bush...Bush’s Justice Department handled the initial court proceedings in most instances."
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...It has nothing to do with presidential authority.
Another case on the list, Arizona vs. United States, surprised our experts....This is the case surrounding Arizona’s tough immigration laws that many civil rights groups said amounted to racial profiling. In 2012, the Supreme Court...actually sided with the Obama administration on three of four counts. On the fourth provision, which allowed Arizona authorities to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant, the court basically said it’s too soon to tell, and unanimously decided to send the issue down to the lower courts to monitor for further challenges.
Another case on the list was last week’s ruling in United States vs. Wurie... 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.
(In) The last case included, Sekhar vs. United States...basically the FBI sought extortion charges against a Massachusetts venture capitalist, who was accused of trying to force a legal adviser to the New York state comptroller to persuade the comptroller to invest in his company. The Supreme Court said the FBI couldn’t arrest him under federal extortion laws."
In fact, the only unanimous Supreme Court decision of the whole bunch that really related to Obama was its recent finding on a technical matter involving a couple of recess appointments he made. The other twelve alleged cases are lies, which had nothing to do with Obama's supposed overreach; the majority of them are leftovers from the Bush Administration, when the right raised no objections at all:
"The only decision among the 13 in which the High Court clearly found Obama “had exceeded his constitutional authority” was...The late June decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning found that Obama had overstepped his authority in making three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board without Senate approval."
Remember that this is intended to form one of the main pillars of the Republican case to impeach Obama, and as usual with Republican claims, it is a lying smear. But as the excerpt from the Washington Post demonstrates, that will not stop the mainstream press from reinforcing the Republican effort to further damage our country through their treacherous behavior, and bringing closer the time when every Democrat who wins the White House can just assume that he is going to be impeached.