Playing Fast and Footloose with the Laws and Constitution of the United States

Playing Fast and Footloose with the Laws and Constitution of the United States

© David Burton 2014

Violating the Constituion

     President Barak Obama either doesn’t understand the laws of the United States and the American Constitution or he believes that he is above the law and possesses the imperial right to ignore the Constitution upon which this country has operated for over 200 years. Many contend that the President’s actions are a dereliction of his duty to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution, and to “take care that the law be faithfully executed.”

     There are some who have urged that President Obama should be impeached. In my view, impeachment of a president should be reserved only for the most extreme instances of wrong doing and malfeasance. I don’t presume to believe that President Obama’s actions have approached this criterion. However, what he and his administration have done is to repeatedly attempt to reinterpret the laws of the United States to suit their own objectives and to circumvent the American Constitution. While I may not consider such actions as grounds for impeachment, I do believe that these actions are wrong - if not outright illegal - and not befitting a United States president and his administration.

     The actions of the president and his administration have resulted in law suits that have taken up the time and resources of our federal court system all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS); these actions have created a conflict between the executive and legislative branches of our government that has resulted in governmental stalemate; these actions have resulted in a loss of faith by the American people in the our democratic form of government; these actions have resulted in ill-conceived laws, edicts, mandates, rulings, etc. that have had to be revised, reinterpreted, and thrown out – the result for the American people being confusion, inconvenience, increased costs, delays and gross inefficiencies.

     Let’s look at the 2013 actions of the president and his administration that are regarded as illegal or unconstitutional as reported in Reference 1.

     The Labor Department announced in February that it was delaying for a year the part of the healthcare law that limits how much people have to spend on their own insurance. But, changing the laws of the United States requires actual congressional legislation, not presidential edicts or actions promulgated by unelected federal bureaucrats.

     The administration announced via blogpost on the eve of the July 4 holiday that it was delaying the requirement that employers of at least 50 people provide complying insurance or pay a fine. It cited statutory authority to take this action, but the cited provisions only allows the delay of certain reporting requirements, not of the mandate itself.

     President Obama’s pledge that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” backfired when insurance companies started cancelling millions of plans that didn’t comply with Obamacare’s requirements. President Obama called a press conference to proclaim that people could continue buying non-complying plans in 2014. But, the Obamacare legislation explicitly states that this is not permitted. The president then refused to consider a House-passed bill that would’ve made this action legal.

     Part of Obamacare requires Congressmen and their staff to get insurance through the new healthcare exchanges, rather than a taxpayer-funded program. In spite of this provision in the health care law, President Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management to interpret the law to maintain the generous congressional benefits.

     Obamacare grants tax credits to people whose employers don’t provide coverage if they buy a plan “through an Exchange established by the State” — and then fines employers for each employee receiving such a subsidy. No tax credits are authorized for residents of states where the exchanges are established by the federal government. However, because so few (16) states did establish these Exchanges, the IRS issued a rule ignoring the plain text in the law and allowed subsidies (and commensurate fines) for plans coming from “a State Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary Exchange, and federally-facilitated Exchange.” In July of 2014, the District of Columbia Circuit Court ruled that the IRS action was illegal, dealing what could be a death blow to the Affordable Care Act.

     Clearly, the Obama administration attempted to brow-beat states into creating state-run health exchanges under Obamacare. They did this by explicitly writing the Obamacare law to state that only state-created healthcare exchanges would be federally reimbursed. But, President Obama and his Democratic followers failed in their attempted bribery. In August 2011, when the reimbursement regulation was issued, “only 10 states had created their own exchanges, and 17 states explicitly refused to do so."(Ref. 2) When the Democrats realized that that they had failed in their attempt to bribe states into creating their own healthcare exchanges, the administration unilaterally ignored the law and the Constitutional provision that only grants spending authority to Congress. In this case, Congress never granted authority to spend the money needed to reimburse enrollees in the federal healthcare exchange – it only granted authority to reimburse enrollees in the state-created healthcare exchanges. “The administration could have gone back to Congress and asked it to authorize subsidies in states with federal exchanges."(Ref. 3) They never did – they effectively said, the hell with trying to work with Congress and the hell with obeying the United States Constitution. Instead, the Obama administration decided to ignore the law and the Constitution and simply mandate the illegal payment of the reimbursements.

     Between January 2012 and June 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Justice Department’s extreme positions 9 times. The cases ranged from criminal procedure to property rights, religious liberty to immigration, securities regulation to tax law. These Justice Department positions had nothing in common other than the administrations’s view that federal power is virtually unlimited.

     Last year, President Obama appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board, as well as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, during what he considered to be a Senate recess. But the Senate was still holding “pro forma” sessions every three days. This was in spite of the fact that the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, provides that authority remains with the Treasury Secretary until a director is “confirmed by the Senate.” In January, the D.C. Circuit held the NLRB appointments to be unconstitutional.”

     Responding to complaints about the University of Montana’s handling of sexual assault claims, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, in conjunction with the Justice Department, sent the university a letter intended as a national “blueprint” for tackling sexual harassment. In a blatant attack on the first amendment right to free speech, the letter urges a crackdown on “unwelcome” speech and requires complaints to be heard in quasi-judicial procedures that deny legal representation, encourage punishment before trial, and convict based on a mere “more likely than not” standard.

     Lacking immigration reform legislation concerning young people who were brought into the country illegally as children, President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority, directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers. Granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.

     In June of 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court followed up on an earlier circuit court decision and dealt a setback to President Obama’s usurpation of Congressional authority by “ruling decisively that President Obama violated the Constitution by going around the Senate to name key labor relations watchdogs.
     “Resolving a long-standing battle between the two other branches of government, the justices declared invalid key ‘recess appointments’ made by Obama in 2012 when the Senate was holding only pro-forma sessions every three days.
      - - -
     “Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell hailed the ruling. ‘The president made an unprecedented power grab by placing political allies at a powerful federal agency while the Senate was meeting regularly and without even bothering to wait for its advice and consent,’ he said. ‘A unanimous Supreme Court has rejected this brazen power-grab.’"(Ref. 4)

     The Committee For Justice listed more than 20 purported violations of U.S. laws and the Constitution by president Obama and his administration. (Ref. 3) These violations are summarized below.

  1. The Obama Administration used the IRS to target conservative, Christian and pro-Israel organizations, donors, and citizens.
  2. In violation of the First Amendment, the Obama Justice Department ordered criminal investigations of FOX News reporters for doing their jobs during the 2012 election year.
  3. President Obama has refused to enforce long-established U.S. immigration laws.
  4. President Obama has refused to build a double-barrier security fence along the U.S.-Mexican border in direct violation of the 2006 Secure Fence Act.
  5. The President has conducted an unconstitutional assault on the Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
  6. President Obama’s Health and Human Services Department has, on its own (without Congressional approval), issued a mandate that all health insurance plans must include coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. As a result, pro-life employers and taxpayers are now effectively required by law to pay for abortions. This mandate is an unconstitutional attack on the protections for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience in the First Amendment and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This mandate also directly violates the ObamaCare law enacted by Congress, which prohibits any and all taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions.
  7. President Obama forced ObamaCare on an unwilling public through bribery and lying about its cost.
  8. Under "Operation Fast & Furious", thousands of American-made semi-automatic weapons were put in the hands of Mexican drug cartels and resulted in the death of at least one U.S. Border Patrol Agent. Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress and the public, claiming he didn't know about his Justice Department's Fast & Furious operation. Congress has now held Holder in contempt for defying congressional subpoenas and refusing to turn over thousands of Justice Department documents. President Obama asserted Executive Privilege to try to protect Holder.
  9. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulated the Internet in contradiction to a court order from the Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. stating that the FCC does not have the power to regulate the Internet.
  10. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed Cross-State Air Pollution Rules on the state of Texas at the last minute and without an opportunity for Texas to respond to the proposed regulation. This EPA overreach was based on a dubious claim that air pollution from Texas affected a single air-quality monitor in Granite City, Illinois more than 500 miles and three states away from Texas.
  11. The Department of Justice (DOJ) ignored state voter ID statutes that are similar to those already approved by the Supreme Court of the United States. DOJ ignored section 8 of the Voting Rights Act which calls for protections against voter fraud, and used section 5 to administratively block measures to protect the integrity of elections passed by state legislatures.
  12. The DOJ, in violation of 10th Amendment, sued to prevent Arizona from using reasonable measures to discourage illegal immigration within its borders.
  13. The DOJ went to court to stop enforcement of Alabama's immigration reform laws, which require collection of the immigration status of public school students, require businesses to use E-Verify, and prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving public benefits.
  14. The White House made "recess appointments" to the National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when Congress was NOT in recess. The Obama Administration has ignored the ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that the appointments are unconstitutional.
  15. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) interfered with a Michigan church's selection of its own ministers by trying to force the church to reinstate a minister who was discharged for her disagreement with the religious doctrine of the church.
  16. In 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) arbitrarily broke federal law, violated various contracts, and derailed the most studied energy project in American history at Yucca Mountain by denying it a license, thus costing the American people more than $31 billion.
  17. The Department of the Interior (DOI) forced Glendale, a family-oriented town in Arizona, to become another Las Vegas against its will by granting "reservation status" to a 54-acre plot in the town, where the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation plans to build a resort and casino.
  18. Without Congressional approval, Obama gutted the work requirement for welfare recipients passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
  19. In the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, Obama illegally shortchanged bond holders in favor of Labor Unions, despite U.S. bankruptcy laws that specify that bond holders be first in line to be paid back.
  20. President Obama exposed the identity and method of operation of the Navy SEALs team that conducted the operation against Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. It is a violation of law for the President or any American to reveal classified military secrets.
  21. President Obama established an extra-constitutional top secret "kill list" of people (including Americans) who can be summarily killed on sight – presumably by drones -- without due process. Once on Obama's kill list, an American citizen can be targeted and executed on the opinion of a single government bureaucrat. That's not how our legal system is supposed to work.
  22. Obama Administration officials twisted the arms of defense contractors to not issue layoff notices in October of 2012 so as to avoid causing bad news for Obama right before the election — even though federal law (the "WARN Act") requires such notices. Not only is this a violation of the WARN Act, it's also an unlawful use of federal officials for campaign purposes.
  23. President Obama intervened militarily in Libya in 2011 without the Congressional approval required by the War Powers Act.
  24. President Obama knowingly lied to Congress and the American people about the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
     Recently, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama warned of another step toward violation of the Constitution in regard to the ongoing illegal immigration issue.

     “Sessions' warning came as White House officials revealed that the commander-in-chief is planning for a large-scale expansion of rights for illegal immigrants, including rights to apply for jobs.
     “Obama's plan would be enacted by executive order. {So, What’s new?}
     "’These workers would be a given a work authorization and be able to take any job in America at a time where we are hurting, workers are hurting for a lack of jobs,’ Sessions said.
      - - -
     “He said the president's executive order, which could grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, would be ‘one of the most dramatic overreaches of executive power certainly since I've been in Congress and maybe in the last 100 years.’” (Ref. 5)

  1. President Obama's Top 10 Constitutional Violations Of 2013, Ilya Shapiro, Forbes, 23 December 2013.
  2. Dems lose health exchanges bet, Michael Barone, Boston Herald, Page 21, 28 July 2014.
  3. 25 Violations of Law By President Obama and His Administration, Committee for Justice;, Accessed 23 July 2014.
  4. High court rules against Obama on recess appointments, Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, 26 June 2014.
  5. Sessions: Obama Move on Illegals Would 'Alter Constitutional Framework', Bill Hoffmann, Newsmax, 28 July 2014.


  28 July 2014 {Article 195; Govt_53}    
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