Obama consolidating power

Posted by / 04-Dec-2017 12:58

" The substance of the lawsuit was soaked in irony: Republicans, taking a break from trying to repeal Obamacare wholesale, were now suing Obama for not implementing the law fast enough.

They held that when the administration delayed the law's employer mandate last year, it violated congressional will — and the president's own oath to uphold and enforce the laws of the United States.

It was a charge that, a few short years before, would have sounded perfectly natural coming from Senator Barack Obama.

"I taught constitutional law for 10 years," Obama said in March 2008. The biggest problems that we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all.

"If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so," he said.

The president spoke for several minutes about how the time had come for Congress to finish the job.

To help counteract this, the Affordable Care Act doesn't grant the president waiver power over the employer mandate — intentionally so, because if it did, a Republican president could simply refuse to enforce it. But Obama wouldn't engage with legal specifics, saying instead, "Where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people." He downplayed the delay, saying Indeed, there are arguments that Obama's actions are perfectly appropriate.

Yale Law professor Akhil Reed Amar notes that the Constitution calls on the president to make sure the laws are "faithfully executed" — that they work. Obama, or the guy who's voted against it 3,000 times who doesn't want it to work? the Bush Administration's 2006 decision to waive Medicare Part D penalties for some seniors who signed up late.

And here again, the administration argues that a less polarized Congress would be able to make minor patches to Obamacare, as past Congresses have repeatedly done with big new laws — yet the GOP refuses to do so, demanding only a full repeal of the law.

A protest in front of the White House, July 31, 2014 (Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty) On November 25, 2013, President Obama arrived at the Betty Ong Recreation Center in San Francisco to give a speech on immigration.

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"Bush had grabbed these powers unilaterally, but it was then more or less ratified by Congress," says Andrew Rudalevidge, a professor at Bowdoin College.

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