A Presidency Rebuked by the Courts
A long time ago, President Obama gave up on working through the traditional constitutional route of passing laws through Congress and administering them through the executive branch. He proclaimed that with his “pen and phone” he was going to centralize even more power in the imperial presidency.
As a result, the Obama Administration has:
- Issued over 25 veto threats issued since the beginning of the new year, including on a bill to increase charitable food donations and on others that were so bipartisan that they passed committee by a voice vote
- Added over 21,000 new rules to the federal register since the beginning of President Obama’s first time
- Ordered economically harmful executive actions like the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule and the costly power plant regulations to cut down on carbon
But by staking his legacy on over-expansive executive actions, President Obama is facing a series of foreseeable roadblocks: the courts and the Constitution. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board put it, “America’s most powerful former law professor is getting a re-education in the Constitution, and on present course President Obama might flunk out.”
Just yesterday, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals kept an injunction against the President’s illegal immigration actions—blocking it’s implementation—because the President has no legal authority to write and rewrite laws as he pleases. But this isn’t the first time President Obama has been rebuked by the courts. A short list includes:
- The Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the President’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board
- The Supreme Court struck down Obamacare’s HHS mandate for infringing upon religious liberty and violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
- The highest court in the land also found that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion was unconstitutional because it was too coercive of states
- The President’s signature health care law is again facing Supreme Court scrutiny after the Administration offered subsidies on federal exchanges even though the law literally says that subsidize can only be offered through exchanges “established by the state”
- The Administration is embroiled in a legal battle over its climate change provisions to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2025
All of these legal battles stem from the President’s intransigent desire to subvert the democratic process, ignore the will of the people as expressed through their representatives, and expand executive authority beyond any other President in history. That’s tough to defend in court, even if you are a law professor.