Obama not even pretending he has legal authority to delay the ObamaCare employer mandate

posted at 5:21 pm on July 29, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via Byron York, an amazing bit buried in the NYT’s interview with The One after his economy-speech snooze last week. This is as close as you’ll ever get to seeing a pol answer a reporter’s question with “because I said so”:

NYT: People questioned your legal and constitutional authority to do that unilaterally — to delay the employer mandate. Did you consult with your lawyer?

MR. OBAMA: Jackie, if you heard me on stage today, what I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security –

NYT: No, but specifically –

MR. OBAMA: — but where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people.

And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. But there’s not an action that I take that you don’t have some folks in Congress who say that I’m usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don’t think that’s a secret. But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions — very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.

I am concerned about the folks who I spoke to today who are working really hard, are trying to figure out how they can send their kids to college, are trying to make sure that they can save for their retirement. And if I can take steps on their behalf, then I’m going to do so. And I would hope that more and more of Congress will say, you know what, since that’s our primary focus, we’re willing to work with you to advance those ideals. But I’m not just going to sit back if the only message from some of these folks is no on everything, and sit around and twiddle my thumbs for the next 1,200 days.

Evidently if Congress doesn’t do what he wants, he enjoys legal authority under the Doin’ Good For The People Clause of the Constitution to do it himself. That’s not the first time he’s invoked that clause either; remember, he decided to continue his intervention in Libya even though his own lawyers concluded that he had no power to do so under the War Powers Act. There, as here, people on his own side of an issue reached a legal judgment — it was a party-line Democratic vote that passed O-Care into law, of course — and Obama eventually decided that because the law interfered with his policy preferences, he’d quietly ignore it. In the case of the War Powers Act, there was at least a halfhearted attempt to square the Libya intervention with the statute (by insisting that it didn’t quite rise to the level of “hostilities” in the meaning of the law). Here there’s none. He’s telling you to shut up and trust him because suspending the mandate is good policy and because he is, unlike many members of Congress, a lawyer. (More than half the Senate are lawyers, in point of fact.) Let’s hear from another lawyer, former appellate judge Michael McConnell, on why O’s unilateral suspension of the mandate is so novel and dangerous:

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the president on legal and constitutional issues, has repeatedly opined that the president may decline to enforce laws he believes are unconstitutional. But these opinions have always insisted that the president has no authority, as one such memo put it in 1990, to “refuse to enforce a statute he opposes for policy reasons.”…

The president defended his suspension of the immigration laws as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. He defended his amending of No Child Left Behind as an exercise of authority in the statute to waive certain requirements. The administration has yet to offer a legal justification for last week’s suspension of the employer mandate.

Republican opponents of ObamaCare might say that the suspension of the employer mandate is such good policy that there’s no need to worry about constitutionality. But if the president can dispense with laws, and parts of laws, when he disagrees with them, the implications for constitutional government are dire.

If Bush pulled the “because I said so” shtick in defending his own decision not to enforce a statute, Senator Obama would have screeched about it endlessly, just like he screeched about executive overreach, signing statements, drone warfare, domestic surveillance, and all the other supposed ills of the Bush age that he’s ended up adopting. As it is, McConnell’s skeptical that any private citizen has standing to sue to enforce the mandate, for the same reason that citizens lacked standing per the Supreme Court’s decision in the Prop 8 case. Maybe Congress could sue, but the GOP doesn’t want to be seen as forcing the employer mandate on business when Obama’s trying to suspend it and Democrats don’t want to cause political headaches for O, let alone side with a stupid health-care measure that’s apt to have adverse economic consequences once it’s in effect. He’s going to get away with this and the precedent will be set — or rather further cemented, per McConnell’s other examples of Obama power grabs — that when a law is inconvenient for the president politically, even when it’s part of his own signature legislation, he can simply ignore it. Because he says so.


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You think, but HEY!! It WORKED for the Democrats!!

But no, it didn’t. They ended up being able to do nothing else but slip through the exact same bs nothing mess of a law.

They got the same special interests, big business, and bribe addled swipe at the piggy bank that they would have gotten otherwise even if they’d lost.

They got sold down the river just like you did, and have before by your own.

There is no difference when it comes time to count the votes. Only in the narratives.

And if you give a sh*t about this one, there’s a shiny silver object pulling you along by your cheek. Left, right. Left, right. Doesn’t really matter which way. There’s two boats.

If Obama had lost it’d have been the Republican party that passed this law. And it’d be being defending again on the basis of “personal responsibility”. Just like it was before.

“Liberals” on the right. They do exist. Lotr’s…

Oh my god! The Lords of the Rings! It’s perfect! Haha! The republican party can lead them in circles and have them never have a second thought.

“We caaaaaan’t!!! The narrative is too powerful! I can feel it pulling at me, it won’t let me let go!!! My precious!!”

Wait, what was I talking about?

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 8:27 PM

But, you repeat yourself…

Resist We Much on July 29, 2013 at 7:57 PM

I was going to say it myself, and then I wondered who would say it for me. Well done.

Jaibones on July 29, 2013 at 8:30 PM

And you sit back while Obama ignores our laws. Fu ck you. You pus sy.
CW on July 29, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Haha! Is that right?!

I sit back? No, I just don’t give **** about your petty base narratives they feed you to constantly be outraged about.

There’s a difference. I’m fighting a bigger fight. Your fighting someone else’s fight, someone who does not give a d*mn about you and who would have passed the exact same thing if Obama had lost.

You’re nothing but speakers, wired up to the receiver.

Try thinking for YOURSELF for once, sending out your own signals.

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 8:34 PM

I know that RWM commented this upthread but I’m going to comment it again anyway:

Frost / Nixon Interiews: In Part 3, Frost asked Nixon about the legality of the president’s actions. Nixon replied: “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”[13]

.

ExpressoBold on July 29, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Isn’t it interesting that all I hear on the media, including what is suppose to the the Right wing media Fox, is that Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have a lot of nerve being all uppity with the establishment but Obama gets a pass on this. Is there any main stream media the least bit concerned? Tapper? Tapper?

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 8:36 PM

ExpressoBold on July 29, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Yeah but how did that work out for him? Think Obama is going to feel any repercussions?

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 6:38 PM

What the heck are you talking about. Insurance has never been on my radar and even if I did have a complaint (which I didn’t) in what universe would anyone think the federal government was to go to place to fix it? Or much of anything else.

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Genuine you’re another master useful idiot. You’re embarrassing.

CW on July 29, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Actually, Genuine is an apprentice useless idiot.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 29, 2013 at 8:48 PM

“Argue FOR insurance mandates for at least a decade. When the “other guy” enacts them, suddenly decide they are the worst, most unconstitutional, and nation destroying thing that could ever be come up with by someone so vile as to demand that everyone carry their own health insurance.”

A decade or so? Perhaps, Genuine, you can point to the bills introduced by the GOP to create insurance mandates during the Bush years? Ya can’t? Oh.

Oh sure, you can go back twenty years to G.H.W. Bush , when two bills with GOP sponsors were offered—-but then died, one in committee, one never even getting that far. No massive groundswell, I guess, from either party, since the Dems held both houses of Congress in those years, and Clinton was Preezy.

Why, if the GOP bills were the same as what the Dems (and Clinton) wanted, did they die so quickly?

So in 1994, no more GOP legislative activity for universal mandates, either on business or individuals. No party platforms on it, nada.

But , of course, Gingrich talked healthcare mandates up during the 2000′s, but he was out of office as of January 1999, and….here’s the point…HE’s not “the GOP”.

So you’re full of carp.

fulldroolcup on July 29, 2013 at 8:51 PM

fulldroolcup on July 29, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Don’t bother to fire it up what they have is still too small for any version of an Electron Microscope to see.

chemman on July 29, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Heard Mike Lee on Levin. Go to…..

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 9:04 PM

What the heck are you talking about. Insurance has never been on my radar and even if I did have a complaint (which I didn’t) in what universe would anyone think the federal government was to go to place to fix it? Or much of anything else.
Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Haha! This is why I love HotAir. You guys are just so cute!!!

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

…THE KING!

KOOLAID2 on July 29, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Well you certainly come up in an awfully lot of circumstances arguing Republican Base narratives.

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 8:12 PM

That’s your opinion. Check out the Gallup SSM thread.

I am a LIBERTARIAN. I have never been a Republican.

Resist We Much on July 29, 2013 at 9:22 PM

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

And you type a lot of words and still don’t say anything.

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 9:23 PM

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

…there’s nothing Genuine about you Goofball!

KOOLAID2 on July 29, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

I also notice that you didn’t respond to fulldroolcup on July 29, 2013 at 8:51 PM, why is that?

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 9:25 PM

And you type a lot of words and still don’t say anything.

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 9:23 PM

…its been smoking the pot threads!

KOOLAID2 on July 29, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Why would anyone be surprised that Obama thinks he can do anything he wants? He is above all of this pettiness.

Barack Obama sees the Constitution in general as little more than a list of suggested rules to be considered and the Bill of Rights in particular as a Maginot Line to simply be bypassed whenever deemed necessary.

From your Facebook passwords to Section 8 housing… why Barack Obama should be impeached for dismantling the very Constitution he swore to preserve, protect and defend.

http://www.imperfectamerica.com

imperfectamerica on July 29, 2013 at 9:58 PM

very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.

Hear that, folks? Unless you’re a lawyer, you are not to be taken seriously by this president.

CurtZHP on July 29, 2013 at 10:01 PM

KOOLAID2 on July 29, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Figures.

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Wait, what was I talking about?

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 8:27 PM

You drink a lot, don’t you kid?

Solaratov on July 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM

There’s a difference. I’m fighting a bigger fight.

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 8:34 PM

You aren’t fighting anything at all, kid.

And posting drunk just makes you look more stupid.

Solaratov on July 29, 2013 at 10:15 PM

I think you buried the lead, Allah. Obama just admitted that Obamacare is hurting the middle class.

I am concerned about the folks who I spoke to today who are working really hard, are trying to figure out how they can send their kids to college, are trying to make sure that they can save for their retirement…I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security…

And so he delays his own mandate.

Heywood U. Reedmore on July 29, 2013 at 10:17 PM

some folks in Congress who say that I’m usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency.

Does anyone know if that is the first time Obama has used the phrase “usurping my authority”

An increasing number of Congress members are becoming aware of the hard evidence that Sheriff Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse has of felony forgery of multiple Obama “documents”, including his “birth certificate” and “selective service registration card”.

There is a growing awareness that Obama really is a usurper.

It’s interesting to see Obama use “usurp[ing] my authority” in 2 consecutive sentences. And he’s subtly playing the race card by saying, “Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency.”

The problem is NOT that a half-black man won an election.

The problem is that he presented a forged PDF as his “birth certificate”. That is a FELONY.

ITguy on July 29, 2013 at 10:46 PM

He and Holder are teflon due to skin color and a crazy base. The Repubs will never impeach either because of Obama’s crazy base and their lack of courage. So to sum it up, unless we do it ourselves we are screwed.

neyney on July 30, 2013 at 12:23 AM

Obama’s use of the phrase, “…very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers” clearly is an attempt to say, “Hey, I’m a constitutional lawyer, so if I say it’s ok, then it’s ok.”

The problem with that implication is that, like most of what this president says, it isn’t true.

Obama was not a professor of constitutional law, nor was he even an associate professor. He was a visiting professor, essentially a teacher on a short term contract. The single course he taught was essentially how the law was used to suppress blacks, using schools of thought steeped in black liberation theology and similar radical racial overtones.

So, not only is he falsely covering himself in a cloak he did not earn to in order to diminish opponents who also (but at least honestly!) lack that cloak, but by examining it, the argument that he is a post-racial president is seen as a lie on its face. Insomuch as four and a half years of empirical data support this, I’d say the case against Obama on this one is a slam dunk.

NeoCon_1 on July 30, 2013 at 3:47 AM

I have a bona fide law degree (I don’t know about him) and actually studied Con Law as it was called back in the day. The difference is he actuated the short form nic, while the rest of law abiding Americans do not. An oath keeper he is (also) not.

What he is doing on all fronts is illegal. He should be prosecuted post haste and sent to jail for the rest of his life.

Opinionator on July 30, 2013 at 4:02 AM

He’s going to get away with this and the precedent will be set — or rather further cemented,

yup but a gop president will get lambasted by it big time…the lsm will not stand that the gop president is doing the EXACT same thing this president has been doing..that just won’t do…

cripe…

cmsinaz on July 30, 2013 at 6:31 AM

Of course he does not have the authority to delay the employer mandate for a year. Congress should force it to begin as the law states, thus letting it die on the vine, as it should. At worst, let Congress delay the individual mandate with the employer mandate. That would only be fair.

Amazingoly on July 30, 2013 at 8:04 AM

The GOP, as a whole, seems oblivious to the essential nature of the threat and/or thoroughly incapable of confronting it. Until someone stands up to the bully, the bully always wins.

petefrt on July 30, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Thanks for making this a story, Allah. If we didn’t hear it from you, we wouldn’t hear it anywhere, and I would wonder whether I was imagining things.

The President is just unilaterally deciding that whatever laws he doesn’t like don’t exist. That really is happening. *pinches myself*
Okay. Now what do we do?

Burke on July 30, 2013 at 9:03 AM

I believe the 14th amendment to the U.S. constitution guarantees me equal protection under the law. If the president sees to it that a mandate should not be enforced for a particular class of people, then the mandate should not be enforced for me.

supersport667 on July 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Obama was not a professor of constitutional law, nor was he even an associate professor. He was a visiting professor, essentially a teacher on a short term contract.
NeoCon_1 on July 30, 2013 at 3:47 AM

Correct. Nor was he “Editor” of the Harvard Law Review. He was President of the Harvard Law Review, a different title with more political responsibilities than editorial. Still, he contributed no articles to his law review journal. Nothing.

rrpjr on July 30, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Guys, Genuine is just a Lefty troll. Don’t feed him/her/it.

I see types like Genuine ALL THE TIME in political arguments. They usually pop up when people on the more conservative side are winning an argument with Leftists.

Just about the time that most of the Lefty arguments get exhausted, suddenly pops up the “disinterested” party to tell everyone that “The parties are actually all the same and don’t matter and all this arguing is just wasting your breath so you might as well just hunker down or make some alternate plans like me (what plans those might be are NEVER specified)and stop trying to fight the Big Government that is inevitable.”

It’s just a lefty tactic designed to take the wind out of the sails of Conservatives. It doesn’t damage Leftists because they really do believe that Big Government is inevitable and they WANT IT. So anything that demoralizes their opponents is good for them, even if it appears on the surface to work against them.

Frankly, it’s times like this I wish we had some kind of voting system so we could bury the troll comments. Stuff like Genuine’s comments really is insidious and it’s better to simply not have it hanging around for newer/younger Cons to get sidetracked on.

wearyman on July 30, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Wait, what was I talking about?

Genuine on July 29, 2013 at 8:27 PM

A question every single one of us asks every time we see you vomit on the keyboard and hit “Enter.”

PJ Emeritus on July 30, 2013 at 9:43 AM

This is not about hypothetically supposing what the reaction to Bush or any other president engaging in this type of extra-constitutional behavior would be. That’s a distraction.

This is about a president whose proclivities are imperial and despotic.

Constitutional “scholars” can speak all day long about how presidents have continually tried to expand the Executive’s power. But past examples pale in comparison to Mr. Obama’s outright disregard for constitutional separation of powers and disrespect for the law.

We are a nation of limited government and very clearly articulated powers for each branch. Mr. Obama disagrees with that model not just in words but in deeds. It is precisely this type of despotism our constitution sought to dissuade and protect us against. It’s about time we started to push back and stopped engaging in political tom-foolery.

Mr. Obama’s “agenda”, if one can call it that, has been stymied because it is not what the people want. Period. Full stop.

Marcus Traianus on July 30, 2013 at 11:22 AM

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Republican Party. The party left me.”

dissent555 on July 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM

So the President is refusing to enforce the policy and law that he signed into place?

Yet another of the 50 Shades of Maroon.

ajacksonian on July 30, 2013 at 12:15 PM

All his actions are protected under the white guilt and friendly press clause of the Constitution.

The Rogue Tomato on July 30, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Remember he also ignored the law that contractors had to inform their workers 90 days prior to a layoff (just before the election) and even offered to pay any legal expenses they may incur for ignoring the law. A law meant to ‘protect the little guy’ facing layoff can be swept under the rug if an election is near. Not a peep from the media or the GOP on this blatant abuse of power.

Schwalbe Me-262 on July 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

blink on July 30, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Unbelievable. Pretty sure Genuine clutches Rules for Radicals under his pillow every night.

kirkill on July 30, 2013 at 1:02 PM

He’s going to get away with this and the precedent will be set — or rather further cemented,

yup but a gop president will get lambasted by it big time…the lsm will not stand that the gop president is doing the EXACT same thing this president has been doing..that just won’t do…

cripe…

cmsinaz on July 30, 2013 at 6:31 AM

A GOP president? When will that be? After Hillary is elected, and sadly that will be the case due to a stupid and ignorant electorate, there will be eight more years of illegals crossing the border and voting in our elections. A GOP president? There may not even be a GOP, especially if they continue to meld into Dem-lite.

HiJack on July 30, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Gawd! *facepalm*

To think this is a president talking.
.
.
.

Obama was not a professor of constitutional law, nor was he even an associate professor. He was a visiting professor, essentially a teacher on a short term contract.
NeoCon_1 on July 30, 2013 at 3:47 AM

Correct. Nor was he “Editor” of the Harvard Law Review. He was President of the Harvard Law Review, a different title with more political responsibilities than editorial. Still, he contributed no articles to his law review journal. Nothing.

rrpjr on July 30, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Yep!
Glad that you brought this up.

avagreen on July 30, 2013 at 2:46 PM

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