A post by Maynard
There’s been much discussion of Obama’s recent announcement that the Obamacare mandate on large employers to purchase health care has been pushed back a year.
At this point, the prominent Republican response is a request to suspend the mandate in its entirety, rather than just for targeted business interests. (Imagine how the Democrats would scream if a Republican president declared a suspension of legally-mandated employee benefits for the sake of big corporations.)
On the surface, the Republican response appears reasonable. It sounds odd for the president to selectively suspend the mandate. Isn’t it unfair to spare some but not all? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, eh?
What’s wrong with the foregoing reasoned response? There is a catastrophic flaw in the legal foundation of the Republican answer, that’s what’s wrong!
In announcing a delay on the employer mandate, Obama has singlehandedly set aside the Constitution and declared himself America’s sole lawgiver. If he gets away with this, we might as well pack up and go home, because the Constitution and the American heritage of rule of law will have gone extinct.
Am I overreacting? Making a mountain out of a molehill? Shall I take a Xanax and shrug? Read on and decide.
Most people don’t comprehend the forces in play here. These dynamics are explained in this WSJ editorial, Obama Suspends the Law.
President Obama’s decision last week to suspend the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act may be welcome relief to businesses affected by this provision, but it raises grave concerns about his understanding of the role of the executive in our system of government.
Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution states that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This is a duty, not a discretionary power. While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so.
You see the problem now? A world in which a president can simply suspend the law is a world in which there is no law. There is only a president, and the law becomes whatever the president declares it to be.
If our political players were sane and decent, we would have seen both Democrats and Republicans immediately screaming protests against Obama’s move. Democrats should realize that if Obama can do this, then the next Republican president can likewise unilaterally declare Obamacare suspended in its entirety. On what possible basis could they object? And it would be great if the next president would declare Obamacare suspended, except — do we really want to be living in a country with one-man rule? This is not the way America is supposed to work.
Obama has hijacked the Federal government, and not for the first time, but this may be the most barefaced, inexcusable act of corruption we’ve seen so far.
So what could stop Obama? The courts? In a sane country, judges would quickly put a stop to this criminality. But how could the case come before the courts? That’s where Obama, like all clever lawbreakers, throws up technical roadblocks. The WSJ notes:
The courts cannot be counted on to intervene in cases like this. As the Supreme Court recently held in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the same-sex marriage case involving California’s Proposition 8, private citizens do not have standing in court to challenge the executive’s refusal to enforce laws, unless they have a personal stake in the matter. If a president declines to enforce tax laws, immigration laws, or restrictions on spending—to name a few plausible examples—it is very likely that no one will have standing to sue.
So an executive act can be blatantly criminal, but it goes unchallenged because the legal system refuses to acknowledge that anyone has authority to complain. That’s the law for you.
As an aside, it’s harder (not impossible, but harder) to imagine a Republican president ignoring the rule of law as blatantly as Democrats do. Partly this is a matter of political philosophy, and partly it’s because there is less slack for Republicans. The nation’s watchdogs are looking to pounce if a Republican fails to cross a “t” or dot an “i”, while they make excuses for Democrat criminality. Thus a major story such as this is a tiny blip on the political radar. The man on the street hears the buzz of reasonable debate in search of reasonable compromise, and does not realize that his American heritage has been stolen.
Back to today’s news:
House Speaker John Boehner and other top GOP leaders this week urged the administration to delay the individual mandate as well. Separately, lawmakers are planning for a possible vote on the issue.
So Boehner is implicitly validating the legitimacy of the Obama dictatorship, and is merely begging that it be softened. Maybe he’ll try to schedule a vote on the matter. As if voting, or Congress, still mattered.