Obama Broke the Law Unscathed to Delay the Employer Mandate



Photo of Obama Bonaparte

President Obama announced last week that the employer mandate would be delayed until after the 2014 elections. The employer mandate is the Obamacare fine employers face if they do not offer affordable and minimum value coverage to workers.

The Obamacare implementation is not going well and will be an albatross around Democrats’ necks in 2014. The employer mandate is one of the hot button issues.

Obama also delayed the collection of information from employers until 2015, which will leave everyone high-and-dry in 2015 instead of 2014 because no one will know the cost and money due.

The Affordable Care Act and its provisions are law. They were passed by Congress and they must be enacted.

The Cato Institute said that Obama has clearly broken the law. Congress has not given the Treasury the authority to waive penalties nor waive the reporting requirement. Obama is ignoring Congress again for political expediency.

Michael McConnell, former 10th Circuit judge, US Court of Appeals, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on July 8th outlining the “grave concerns” about Obama’s understanding of his role in our system of government.

The following Article of the Constitution was to prevent the Executive from assuming regal authority:

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.

Justice McConnell explains:

This matter—the limits of executive power—has deep historical roots. During the period of royal absolutism, English monarchs asserted a right to dispense with parliamentary statutes they disliked. King James II’s use of the prerogative was a key grievance that lead to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The very first provision of the English Bill of Rights of 1689—the most important precursor to the U.S. Constitution—declared that “the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament, is illegal.”

To make sure that American presidents could not resurrect a similar prerogative, the Framers of the Constitution made the faithful enforcement of the law a constitutional duty…

McConnell reminds us that Obama’s own Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has said the president has no authority to “refuse to enforce a statute he opposes for policy reasons.” Except for President Nixon, no president has ever “claimed the power to negate a law that is concededly constitutional.” The Supreme Court of the United States has backed this up.

As he further points out, the Affordable Care Act “contains no provision allowing the president to suspend, delay or repeal it. Section 1513(d) states in no uncertain terms that ‘The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.'”

Employers are rejoicing over Obama’s decision to break the law. Republicans are silent on behalf of employers, Democrats are silent because they want to win in 2014. The SCOTUS, which has bowed to the other branches of government in recent decisions, cannot be counted on.

Meanwhile the President of the United States is breaking the law unscathed and unquestioned.

This is a law that must be obeyed if we are to maintain our constitutional rule of law no matter how popular Obama’s decision is.

Allowing the president to pick and choose which laws he will follow threatens our constitutional rights.  Are we to give the powers of a monarchy to the Executive Branch?

The powers that belong to Congress are being usurped by the Executive. Obama is writing and changing law from the White House. He does not follow the rule of law or respect the balance of powers.

Should any president be allowed to circumvent not only Congress but our laws or did that only apply to Nixon?