Today in The Wall Street Journal, Michael McConnell, a former federal judge and law professor, makes virtually the same point about President Obama as John Yoo, formerly of the Bush Justice Department and now a law professor, made this past October.
McConnell says that the Obama administration decision to suspend the employer mandate in the ObamaCare law for a year is a blatant abrogation of the constitutional obligation under Article II, Section, which states that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
“This is a duty, not a discretionary power,” McConnell writes. “While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so.”
Writing at Fox News in October, Yoo used the same constitutional citation to explain why it was wrong for the Obama to basically legislate by executive fiat a law Congress refused to pass — the DREAM Act.
“Obama has pursued a dangerous change in the powers of his office that disregards the Constitution’s careful separation of power between the branches of the federal government,” Yoo writes. “The Constitution imposes on the president two clear duties – to protect the national security and to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.’ Obama is the first chief executive since Richard Nixon to ignore a duly-enacted law simply because he disagrees with it, in clear defiance of his constitutional duty.”
McConnell concludes with this:
“As the Supreme Court said long ago (Kendall v. United States, 1838), allowing the president to refuse to enforce statutes passed by Congress ‘would be clothing the president with a power to control the legislation of congress, and paralyze the administration of justice.'”
But Obama’s law breaking extends far beyond these two incidents.
As an extension of the suspension of the employer mandate in ObamaCare, his administration also suspended the requirement that individuals seeking subsidized health insurance prove their eligibility. Not to mention all those waivers from ObamaCare requirements for hundreds of unions and companies.
As with the DREAM Act, Obama is working to enact “law” to prevent climate change by unilaterally declaring war on coal. As he said in a letter to me and a few other of his closest friends:
“I told Congress in February that if they didn’t take action to fight climate change, then I would.
“Today, I announced a plan of action to make good on that promise.
“My administration is taking steps to cut carbon pollution, prepare our nation for the unavoidable impact of climate change, and put America’s best and brightest to work to solve this issue on a global scale.”
Even though the law requires foreign aid be cut off to a country that has undergone a coup, Obama’s administration refuses to halt the flow of $1.5 billion in U.S. tax money to Egypt.
Though the No Child Left Behind law contained no provision for waivers, Obama’s administration granted waivers.
Tough the 1996 Welfare Programs Act required people on welfare to work or prepare for a job in order to continue to receive federal benefits, Obama’s administration waived the requirement.
Then there was the Obama decision to tell Attorney General Eric Holder to not defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act.
Don’t forget the regulatory contortions the administration attempted to get around the fact ObamaCare unconstitutionally interferes with the First Amendment rights of the Catholic Church.
In 1868, the House impeached President Andrew Johnson for defying the Tenure of Office Act, which prohibited him from firing anyone from Lincoln’s cabinet. Johnson fired Secretary of War Edwin Stanton anyway. The Senate refused to convict by a single vote.
The Constitution says:
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
How many does it take? Nonfeasance of office is surely at least a misdemeanor.