Its surprising how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit
It’s not so much that he thinks he’s above the law as that he thinks he is the law.
The duties of the President of the United States are spelled out in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, which states, inter alia, that the President “shall take Care that the laws be faithfully executed.” As Stanford Law Professor and former federal judge Michael McConnell explained in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “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.”
Section 1513(d) of the Unaffordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) states unequivocally, “The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.” In other words, the provisions of Obamacare become fully effective in 2014, as a matter of duly enacted federal law.
But over the long Fourth of July weekend, in a “Never Mind” moment, the Obama Administration announced, through a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, that contrary to federal law, the employer mandate of Obamacare shall not become fully effective in months beginning after December 31, 2013, but only in months beginning after December 31, 2014. Making the announcement through such a low level Administration official to me says that Obama has contempt for the American people, and for the rule of law.
Barack Obama: Lawbreaker
But it does not matter who announces it. The President is the one responsible. And the announcement constitutes the assumption of authoritarian powers by President Obama.
McConnell explained the history behind Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution:
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 led 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.
McConnell further explained the modern manifestation of this legal history. Official, governing opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Justice Department state that the President has the power to decline to enforce laws he believes are unconstitutional. “But these opinions have always insisted that the President has no authority…to ‘refuse to enforce a statute he opposes for policy reasons.’” Which includes as well suspending a statute temporarily for political reasons.
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