July 18, 2014 — Hearings on Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit against the president are now being held in the House of Representatives. The issue is, can the president postpone for one year the Affordable Care Act mandates?
The House complains that Obama is excessively using executive authority at the expense of the legislative branch. Although I strongly agree that the president is definitely abusing his powers, I find the lawsuit misplaced. I see it as a distraction with no chance of much good coming from it. It’s hypocritical as well.
Congress, for many decades, has generously abdicated its responsibility and willingly transferred legislative authority to the executive. Republicans and Democrats promoted, acknowledged and sanctioned these transfers of power without complaint. Republicans are now claiming this suit is designed to protect the constitution and restrain the president from making his own laws. Oh, if it were only so.
Here are a few facts: Republicans are not opposed to the government being involved in medical care, which is based on many mandates relating to taxation, regulations, price controls and rationing. The Supreme Court has said the mandates of Obamacare are constitutional. The House had voted many times to delay the mandates of Obamacare. The president, by executive order, does just that. And the Republicans express outrage over the president’s audacity for doing something the House of Representatives wanted done in the first place.
The suit is to express outrage over the president’s abuse of the constitution in the very narrow sense. I find this to be an irony of all ironies—a grand hypocrisy. If there was any sincere concern by Republicans for excessive executive power, they would be much more interested in confronting the president on quite a few other issues, like the executive order to assassinate American citizens, NSA spying, going to war without congressional approval, secret prisons, arresting American citizens as an associated force, [or the] thousands of regulations written yearly as if no one knows or cares about in which body all legislative powers are vested.
Since, on the big issues, the two parties agree, real executive power will not be challenged. This lawsuit is a distraction that benefits both parties and offers an opportunity for the political demagogues to pander to their constituencies.