Friday, August 1, 2014

See You In Court, Mr. President

Gary L. Bauer
American Values

Last night, the House approved a resolution authorizing a federal lawsuit against President Obama for abusing his executive authority. The resolution cites President Obama's repeated waivers of statutory language in Obamacare. Obama's actions were not simply exercises of regulatory discretion, but direct violations of the plain language of the law.

With Congress divided between the Democrat Senate and the Republican House, it is hard for Congress to respond to Obama's abuses. But the president's critics have had some success in the courts.

For example, the Supreme Court declared that Obama exceeded his authority when he made certain recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. One columnist noted that the Obama Administration has lost 13 cases on 9-to-0 votes before the high court in the last two terms.

In the critical Halbig case, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently declared that taxpayer-funded subsidies granted through the federal Obamacare exchange are unconstitutional because the law is very clear that subsidies are supposed to be available only through state-based exchanges.

By the way, while liberals claim that conservatives are pushing an absurd interpretation in Halbig, a key Obamacare architect told various audiences that that was exactly what the law meant.

Supporters of Boehner's lawsuit also point to two Supreme Court cases, one striking down the line-item veto and a recent opinion on the EPA's authority.

In 1998, the Supreme Court struck down the line-item veto because it essentially permitted the president to amend legislation, a power the Constitution did not grant to the executive branch. Obama's executive orders have had the same effect -- essentially amending Obamacare without Congress' assent.

In the EPA decision, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, declared, "The power to execute the laws does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice." Justice Scalia could have been referring to the administration's haphazard implementation of Obamacare -- making it up as it goes along and ignoring whatever isn't working or causing too much political pain.