A LONG READ BUT IT COMBINES FOUR ARTICLES AND SHOWS HOW OBAMA GOES AROUND THE CONSTITUTION—READ IT IF YOU CARE ABOUT OUR CONSTITUTION’
FROM FOUR ARTICLES
Today, the Constitution turns 226 years old. Let’s not forget it states that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
The Obama Administration has done the opposite, turning the law on its head and ignoring constitutional limitations on its power.
Here are five of the Administration’s largest violations:
1. Changing Obamacare on the fly without congressional action:
The law schedules this mandate to begin in January 2014. Yet the Administration has already announced that it will put this requirement on hold. Meanwhile, Congress explicitly considered and rejected proposed amendments to Obamacare that would have created a specific allowance for a congressional health insurance subsidy in the exchanges, and indeed, such an exemption is illegal. But the Administration told Members of Congress and their staffers that it would give them a generous taxpayer-funded subsidy just the same. Obamacare won’t work as written, and the Administration is just seizing power unilaterally to rewrite it.
2. Implementing the DREAM Act by executive fiat
Congress has repeatedly considered, and rejected, a bill known as the Dream Act that would effectively grant amnesty to many illegal aliens. Yet in June 2012, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a directive to immigration officials instructing them to defer deportation proceedings against an estimated 1.7 million illegal aliens. Oddly, this happened about a year after President Obama admitted that “the President doesn’t have the authority to simply ignore Congress and say, ‘We’re not going to enforce the laws you’ve passed.’”
3. Making “recess appointments” while the Senate was in session
In January 2012, President Obama made four “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, claiming that the Senate was not available to confirm those appointees. Yet the Senate was not in recess at that time. The Recess Appointments Clause is not an alternative to Senate confirmation and is supposed to be only a stopgap for times when the Senate is unable to provide advice and consent. Eventually, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit struck down the appointments to the NLRB as unconstitutional.
4. Waiving welfare work requirements
In July 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services gutted the work requirements out of the welfare reform law passed in 1996. It notified states of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s “willingness to exercise her waiver authority” so that states may eliminate the work participation requirement of Section 407 of the 1996 reforms. This flatly contradicts the law, which provides that waivers granted under other sections of the law “shall not affect the applicability of section 407 to the State.” Despite this unambiguous language, the Obama Administration continues to flout the law with its “revisionist” interpretation.
5. Encouraging federal contractors to violate the law
The WARN Act requires that federal contractors give 60 days’ notice before a mass layoff or plant closing. Employers who do not give notice are liable for employees’ back pay and benefits as well as additional penalties. With defense-related spending cuts set to start on January 2, 2013, defense contractors should have issued notice by November 2, 2012 (just four days before the presidential election). Yet, the Department of Labor instructed defense contractors not to issue notice for layoffs due to sequestration until after the election—and assured them they would be reimbursed with taxpayer funds for any subsequent liability for violating the law.
President Obama’s Executive Power End Run Around The Constitution:
Reports that President Obama is considering the issuance of 19 executive orders on gun control raise a new round of questions about presidential power. Frustrated by his inability to work with Congress, Obama seems willing to do more and more unilaterally, to the ultimate detriment of the republic. Consider his use of executive orders. There’s no real Constitutional authority for these, but presidents have long allowed themselves this privilege. The theory is that they are essentially “executing” laws Congress has already passed. But, as the Supreme Court told President Truman when he attempted to use an executive order to place all steel factories under control of the federal government, executive orders may not be used to make laws, only to execute them.
What’s new is Obama’s use of executive orders to initiate action where, in his view, Congress is moving too slowly. On gun control, rather than working things through the Congress, he could throw down the gauntlet, saying here’s a series of reforms I will do by executive order, deal with it! Another example is Obama’s extensive use of czars, amassing and deploying yet more presidential power in the White House, avoiding Senate confirmation that is normally required of people as powerful as cabinet officers. Obama has appointed a record number of czars—somewhere around 38.
My personal favorite is the Asian carp czar (who apparently couldn’t bend the fish to his will after all). Surely a gun czar—a role temporarily being held by Vice President Biden—can’t be far behind. All these are unelected and unconfirmed senior White House officials with considerable power. The President says he will eschew another huge stretch of executive power: minting a platinum coin to cover the federal deficit. Defenders of this ridiculous idea pointed to the Treasury’s legal power to issue platinum coins. The real question was where the President could find the power to use such a coin to cover the national debt. Obama has wisely walked away from this option, at least for now.
Obama Skips Past Congress Again With Health Mandate Delay:
A constitutional law professor at George Washington University said that Obama “has been far more aggressive in circumventing Congress and far more successful in creating an imperial presidency” than Bush.
President Barack Obama’s latest legal end run around Congress — delaying enforcement of the employer health mandate — has sparked more questions about whether he’s abusing his executive discretion under the Constitution.
The administration notes that parts of laws are delayed in implementation all the time — including various pieces of the tax code. A Treasury official said the administration has “longstanding administrative authority to grant transition relief when implementing new legislation like the ACA.”
When Congress won’t do what he wants, he ignores it and acts anyway:
Matthew Spalding recently wrote on the Heritage Foundation blog, is “disregard for the powers of the legislative branch in favor of administrative decision making without—and often in spite of—congressional action.” Put another way: Mr. Obama proposes, Congress refuses, he does it anyway. Congress refused to pass Mr. Obama’s Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for some not here legally. So Mr. Obama passed it himself with an executive order.
Mr. Obama disagrees with federal law, which criminalizes the use of medical marijuana. Congress has not repealed the law. No matter. The president instructs his Justice Department not to prosecute transgressors. He disapproves of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, yet rather than get Congress to repeal it, he stops defending it in court. He dislikes provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, so he asked Congress for fixes. That effort failed, so now his Education Department issues waivers that are patently inconsistent with the statute.
Obama wants a new program and Congress won’t give it to him, he creates it regardless. Congress, including Democrats, wouldn’t pass his cap-and-trade legislation. His Environmental Protection Agency is now instituting it via a broad reading of the Clean Air Act.
wouldn’t pass his “card-check” legislation eliminating secret ballots in union elections. So he stacked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with appointees who pushed through a “quickie” election law to accomplish much the same. Congress wouldn’t pass “net neutrality” Internet regulations, so Mr. Obama’s Federal Communications Commission did it unilaterally.
In January, when the Senate refused to confirm Mr. Obama’s new picks for the NLRB, he proclaimed the Senate to be in “recess” and appointed the members anyway, making a mockery of that chamber’s advice-and-consent role. In June, he expanded the definition of “executive privilege” to deny House Republicans documents for their probe into the botched Fast and Furious drug-war operation, making a mockery of Congress’s oversight responsibilities.
This president’s imperial pretensions extend into the brute force the executive branch has exercised over the private sector. The auto bailouts turned contract law on its head, as the White House subordinated bondholders’ rights to those of its union allies. After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Justice Department leaked that it had opened a criminal probe at exactly the time the Obama White House was demanding BP suspend its dividend and cough up billions for an extralegal claims fund. BP paid. Who wouldn’t?
And it has been much the same in his dealings with the states. Don’t like Arizona’s plans to check immigration status? Sue. Don’t like state efforts to clean up their voter rolls? Invoke the Voting Rights Act. Don’t like state authority over fracking? Elbow in with new and imagined federal authority, via federal water or land laws.
Sources—heritage, Elizabeth slattery, rich tucker, morning bell,getty images, steven dennis, matt fuller, roll call, saul loeb, Kimberley strassek, chip somodervilla