Judiciary Could Force Obama to Work with Congress
John Fund documents the Supreme Court’s growing impatience with the Obama administration’s refusal to adhere to the letter of the law in a piece out today with National Review.
Citing Jonathan Adler, a conservative legal expert, Fund highlights several recent Supreme Court decisions that slap down the executive branch’s significant regulatory overreach. Justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum – from the liberal Kagan to the conservative Scalia – refuse to grant President Barack Obama and his bureaucratic lieutenants the authority to change statutory requirements on a whim to suit policy goals the underlying law does not allow.
This backdrop is important as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to hand down its decision in Halbig v. Burwell, a case that challenges an IRS interpretation of ObamaCare that, if overturned, could prohibit the subsidies most Americans need to pay for the law’s expensive insurance plans.
Weighing in the challengers’ favor are the 13 unanimous Supreme Court decisions that have invalidated moves by Obama executive agencies since he took office. In its reasoning the Court has consistently said that the president must adhere to the constitutional framework for making laws, which limits the executive to faithfully executing (i.e. carrying out) what Congress has actually passed as legislation.
In the ObamaCare context, that means striking down the IRS rule that explicitly ignores the prohibition on giving federal subsidies to users of the federal health insurance portal.
Making them available only on state exchanges was an enticement to get states to foot the bill for implementation. It has since backfired with 34 states declining the deal.
Does that complicate the Obama administration’s ability to call federal ObamaCare plans affordable? You betcha. But it also preserves the constitutional check on a president prone to act beyond his designated powers.
Though it might be unpleasant for the White House and its allies, the world will not end if Barack Obama is forced to negotiate with Congress. Another judicial reminder to respect the structure of the Constitution would be a public service by the D.C. Circuit – and the Supreme Court.