What authority does Obama rely upon to “improve” a law?

Constitution

The Constitution is very clear:  Congress writes the laws; the President enforces them.

In light of Obama’s announcement today that he was unilaterally “improving” a law by ignoring its terms (i.e., the time limits contained within Obamacare), Veronique de Rugy asks a good question:

What authority does the president of the United States have to decide that he will or will not enforce some parts of the law that have become inconvenient for him politically or that are proven to have been a terrible idea?

There’s a simple answer to this excellent question.  The limit to Obama’s authority lies in the Senate.  The only thing that can stop a rogue president is impeachment — and a Senate with a Democrat majority will not allow conviction.

The real power to control Obama’s unlawful activities lies with the voters. So far, though, they’ve chosen not to exercise this power.  Although Obama had been manifestly re-writing laws to suit his purpose before the 2012 election (e.g., immigration laws and Obamacare), the voters shrugged and kept the Senate in Democrat hands.

If voters in 2014 again return Democrats to the Senate in sufficient numbers to block impeachment, the voters have granted Obama the authority to ignore the limitations that the Constitution places upon him.  It’s obviously not an express grant of authority, because the president is still violating the Constitution, but it’s an implicit grant of authority.  Like the bribed police officer at the scene of a crime, voters will simply be looking the other way.

And speaking of 2014, there’s a Ricochet thread thinking about campaign slogans.  This is the top suggestion:  “If you don’t like your Democrat. you don’t have to keep him. Vote for ______.”  I think it’s on the right track, but somehow a little unwieldy.

Given the record on which Obama and the Democrats will be running in 2014, what catchy slogans would you guys and gals suggest?

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Comments

  1. Robert Arvanitis says

    Law, for all its pretenses, is merely a codification of the culture and its norms.
    There is an old Roman saying — “The law is a spider’s web, wherein the small are trapped, but the great escape.”

  2. Libby says

    How about images or video clips of the Dem Congressman or Senator pushing for Obamacare (especially if they were rude in a townhall or used Obama’s “keep your plan” lie) followed by “Heckuva job, [legislator]! Vote [republican candidate].
    I also think that every column and blog post referencing this bill should include that image of Pelosi (clutching a giant gavel) and her fellow Dems arrogantly marching through the crowd of Tea Partiesr on their way to vorte for Obamacare. Images have an emotional impact, and that one is a doozie.

  3. Blick4343 says

    For a Harvard law student, Barry did not retain much. He also did not learm much in the fraud class. He has committed fraud by selling Obamacare by lying and receiving a personal benefit from lying — reelection.  there is no Fix for his mess and he will not find enough people to blame for this one.  When the late night comedians use Barry as a joke you know he has lost the public.  My favorite;  What the difference between Barry and his dog Bo?  At least Bo has papers.

  4. says

    No Change? Then no Hope.
    Vote them out before they pivot to jobs.
    If you like your impoverishment, you can keep your impoverishment otherwise vote__________
    Aw Dude, You got screwed
    It wasn’t politics as usual. It was worse than that.
    Obama was so bad we don’t know how to throw this election. Paid for by the Republican National Committee.
     

  5. Eidolon says

    I don’t know about other people, and I know it was a long time ago, but I’m still furious that Obama got away with initiating war against another sovereign nation without going to Congress first. I can’t believe that he can just usurp Congress’s clear authority over war and suffer absolutely no consequences for it. He should have been impeached and there should not have been any debate about it. I would feel the same if he were a Republican.
    But things are so far gone, nobody even talks about that anymore. It’s despicable.

  6. JKB says

    If you like your Democrat, please keep him/her at home.  Maybe a nice job down at the DMV.
     
    Ann Althouse came up with this.  I added the “.”s
     
    IYLYP.YCKYP.
    Perhaps add “Why Lie?

  7. Michael Adams says

    Since the most immediate problem is the regs, not the law, he actually does have the legal standing to change them. However, there is more, that is law, not regulation, so put on a rain coat, and goggles, too, because something is about to hit the fan.In 2014, I hope we change!

  8. JKB says

     
     
     “But we have to pass the [Obamacare] bill so that you can find out what is in it…”
    Now that you know what’s in it?
     
     
     
     
    BTW check out these Pelosi quotes they are a font of material
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nancy_Pelosi
     
    This is a good for rebutting the teabagger slur:
    A woman is like a teabag. You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.

    Interview with ABC News, as quoted by Hilary Clinton.  

     
     
     

  9. JKB says

    Pre Obama: Rule of Law
    Obama: Rule of Law Enforcement
    Post Obama:  ?????
    “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” — Barack Obama, October 30, 2008

  10. JKB says

    Do you like where America is headed?
    If not, don’t hope for, vote for change
     
    Obamacare: a Progressive Trifecta
    Higher costs, fewer choices, lower quality
     
    Obamacare is the law
    Do you know how your Congressman/Senator voted?

  11. Danny Lemieux says

    Sorry, but I believe that far too many voters will react with beaten-wife syndrome, as in “I know he lied, cheated and beat me up, but it’s my fault because I didn’t love him enough”. 

  12. JKB says

    Danny,   That may be true.  Working a beaten-wife away from her abuser is a long, tedious process.  So far the calm voice that offers a real alternative hasn’t appeared on the Republican side.  
     
    However, it is easier to get the abused to take vague actions against the abuser’s friends, especially if they are part of how he gets spun up to abuse.  

  13. JKB says

    I read Jonathan Adler’s discussion over at Volokh Conspiracy.  He brings up a good point, I’ve not seen elsewhere
     
    So, for instance, what happens when there’s a legal dispute under one of these policies? Say, for instance, an insurance company denies payment for something that is not covered under the policy but that would have been covered under the PPACA and the insured sues? Would an insurance company really want to have to defend this decision in court? After all, this would place the insurance company in the position of seeking judicial enforcement of an illegal insurance policy. If there’s an answer to this, I haven’t seen it. It’s almost as if the Administration has not thought this through.  
     
    So what might happen in a court?  Would they impose the Obamacare coverages on the company because the policy sold was illegal in its coverages?  Would the individual just get a refund of premiums (unlikely as most judges would be loath to leave the individual with a loss they thought was covered by the insurance)
     
    The insurance industry, despite their complicity, should recognize they are under attack by their “allies” in the Obama administration and simply tell the truth.  Tell all.  Tell about the terrible interface to the website, the bad data, the weak security, the extortions, etc.  

  14. JKB says

    It occurs to me that earlier this year, Obama and the White House declared they had no control over the IRS’s operations.  So how can Obama promise that those rogue IRS employees won’t collect the tax on those people who might retain non-ACA compliant insurance plans?  Well, actually, those IRS employees would be following the law and regulations.  

  15. Caped Crusader says

    We are all forgetting the most famous legal statement of all time by that sage of the West, inventor of the internet, and the man (a self made billionaire) who is single handedly cooling an overheated planet by extracting confidence scheme dollars from gullible taxpayers.
     
    A drum roll, please:
     
    I give you Albert Arnold Gore and his immortal legal statement:
     
    “There is no controlling legal authority that says this was in violation of law.”
    – Al Gore, seven times (in one form or another), White House news conference, March 3, 1997

  16. Charles Martel says

    Communists’ favorite tactic is “to heighten the contradictions” so that institutions are pushed to the breaking point, thus setting up the arrival of the socialist revolution (Cloward-Pliven).
     
    How deliciously ironic that the contradictions being heightened are the ones between the left’s claim of high intelligence and competency—and they’re being brought on by none other than the left’s own carefully constructed Pinocchio poster boy!
     
    Tee hee!

  17. DL Sly says

    “We have to pass it to see what’s in it.”
    Is the definition of a stool sample not your health insurance policy.
    Don’t flush your future away.
    Vote Republican.
    0>;~}

  18. Larry Sheldon says

    Here is a piece I wrote for the Facebook audience to ignore on the “Transformation” thing:

    A Thought Problem on “Fundamental Transformation”

    November 14, 2013 at 5:25pm
    (I’ll try to find a pornographer or somebody willing to translate it for those not capable of thought.)

    Think of two absolutely clean and sterile glass containers, each with a capacity of about 5 cups.

    Into one (let’s call it “The first One”), pour about 4 cups of the finest wine you can get.  (If you can not identify “finest”, use “most expensive”, for this purpose it doesn’t make enough difference to matter.

    Into the other (“The Second One”), pour about 4 cups of the rankest, foulest sewage you can stand.

    Now, add to the first one add about a cup of the sewage, and to the second, a cup of the wine.

    Have you fundamentally changed the second one (the one to which you added a little wine)?  No–it was sewage before, and it is sewage now.

    Have you fundamentally changed the first one?  Yes, you have.  It was fine (or expensive) wine before, it is sewage now, JUST LIKE THE SECOND ONE!

    Now HERE is the thought problem:

    What happens when you say “I’m sorry I ruined the wine.’?
     
     

  19. Wolf Howling says

    I was wrapped up in pondering Obama’s lack of legal authority also, until it dawned on me that there was an even larger issue – the incredible cynicism in the Obama’s change itself.  We have gone from “if you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance, period” to “You are really mad at my lie so you can keep your insurance for a year, period, until right after the midterm election.”  The naked political cynicism of this fix seems to be secondary with most people at the moment, but it really should be shouted from the roof tops.

  20. Mike Devx says

    Thanks, Wolf.
    You’ve described Obama’s biggest shortcoming.  He operates solely by putting out fires.  The current fire is the 2014 election, so he solves every problem based on the 2014 elections.  The Libya debacle or the Syria debacle?   He seeks the short term fix that puts out today’s fire.
     
    Is it because he is stupid?  Is it because he is incapable of perceiving the long-term effect, that the long-term effect will be even more disastrous because of his incredibly stupid short-term patches?  Or is it a peculiar sort of wisdom: “I’ll take care of today, let tomorrow take of itself.” ?
     
    So every ObamaCare manipulation will be chosen based solely on its effects on the 2014 elections.  Well, what has been happening to individuals with insurance WILL happen in September and October next year to all employees at all companies.  The Obama villains deferred the company health insurance mandates for one year.  Now they’re trying to repair the damage in the individual market by doing approximately the same thing.  Neither can work.  But can they create a PR push with the help of a complicit media in those late months in 2014 to distract the voters from yet another unfolding disaster?
     
    I want to add one more thing.  I’ve been hearing that the Obama solution is to *ALLOW* the IRS to *selectively choose to ignore* the law, so that people can keep their illegal health care plan if they want to.” This will leave you, as an individual choosing a plan, and insurance companies, who offer them, at the helpless mercy of individuals within the IRS.  The IRS that targetted conservatives and the Tea Party for political harassment and harm during the 2012 elections.  The Obama administration, led by Obama, are serial liars and deceivers who regularly stab people in the back at a moment’s convenience.  Would you trust them?  As an insurance company, would you trust them?
     
    Also note how the Obama approach destroys respect for the law.  It destroys compliance with the law.  It’s enormously destructive in the long term to a society for its President to selectively direct his institutions to simply ignore the law.  Obama’s proclivities run to tyranny.  They run to POWER, not to respect for the law.  His solution is tyrannical, and that is on purpose.  It is in fact the REASON he wants to do it this way:  Because it does not rely on the law, it relies on the exercise of raw power.

  21. SADIE says

    Wolf and Mike:
     
    After all of your fine words and analysis; would it be too brief just to sum up that Obama is a political pyromaniac who is not only hosing us down, but enjoys adding accelerants.  In the book, Double Down, the authors stand by the  president’s words: “I am really good at killing people.” I have yet to hear a denial from the WH.

  22. Caped Crusader says

    “There is no controlling legal authority that says this was in violation of law.”
    – Al Gore, seven times (in one form or another), White House news conference, March 3, 1997
     
    And there is still not one as long as the Congress shirks its duty!

  23. Caped Crusader says

    A message from Maxine, who wishes to make her comment!
     
     
    Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel , “Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land.”

    Nearly 75 years ago, (when Welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said, “Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land.”

    Today, Progressives have stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of Camels and mortgaged the Promised Land! I was so depressed last night thinking about Health Care Plans, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc…. I called a Suicide Hotline. I had to press 1) for English. I was connected to a call center in Pakistan . I told them I was suicidal. They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck…… Folks, we’re screwed.
     
     

  24. Larry Sheldon says

    “I was wrapped up in pondering Obama’s lack of legal authority also, until it dawned on me that there was an even larger issue – the incredible cynicism in the Obama’s change itself.  We have gone from “if you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance, period” to “You are really mad at my lie so you can keep your insurance for a year, period, until right after the midterm election.”  The naked political cynicism of this fix seems to be secondary with most people at the moment, but it really should be shouted from the roof tops.”

    I took the liberty of posting that to Facebook with the added comment to the effect that it could not be said better.

  25. Larry Sheldon says

    I ripped the following reply as well–very well done.

    (I did not show attribution beyond “on The Bookworm Room” but if you want (or don’t mind) mention on Facebook let me know here or via email (or, horrors, if you want me to take it down).  My email address is my name here, less punctuation, on Cox’s network.)

  26. says

    I was so depressed last night thinking about Health Care Plans, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc…. I called a Suicide Hotline. I had to press 1) for English. I was connected to a call center in Pakistan . I told them I was suicidal. They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck……

    ROFLMAO…..and laughing and laughing and laughing still. That was just so great.

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