Only the courts can stop President Barack Obama from tweaking the Affordable Care Act without going through Congress, according to Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar and professor at George Washington University Law School.
"This administration's been very successful in blocking challenges to actions that were viewed as unconstitutional. We have to get over what's called the standing barrier where courts just refuse to hear challenges," Turley told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
Republican lawmakers have complained that Obama's changes to the healthcare law, including delays and tweaks of certain parts of it that are causing problems, are unconstitutional because they must be passed through Congress.
"The Framers [of the U.S. Constitution] would have been appalled that you can have very clear violations of the Constitution, but literally no one can actually get a hearing to review them," Turley said.
"At a minimum, courts should recognize that members of Congress have standing to challenge these types of rules and policies. If they did, many of these things would be struck down.
"We have the emergence of what is often called an imperial presidency, something that we have resisted for generations."
Monday, December 9, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
During the 2012 Republican presidential primary season, I repeatedly criticized Romney — and personally challenged him during his editorial board meeting with the Washington Examiner — for promising that if elected, on day one of his presidency, he would grant Obamacare waivers to all 50 states.
As I reported, under the text of the law, the ability to offer waivers to states was subject to many restrictions and wouldn’t even be an option until 2017, four years after his hypothetical swearing in.
Though I still believe I was right about what the statute said, as it turns out, I was being old-fashioned by taking the letter of the law so literally.
Having watched President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius over the past several months unilaterally alter or outright ignore major portions of the law, I now believe that a future Republican president would have greater latitude to gut Obamacare than I once thought possible.
The changes instituted by the Obama administration in response to implementation snags have ranged from perfectly legal areas of administrative discretion stemming from the vast regulatory powers granted to the HHS secretary under Obamacare, to more creative interpretations of that discretion, to Obama simply choosing to ignore parts of the law that became inconvenient.
Obama has turned his signature legislative accomplishment into a constantly evolving wikilaw, with editing privileges restricted to himself and a few administration officials.
He’s largely been able to get away with it due to the difficulties posed by gaining standing in court for legal challenges.
Two stories yesterday thrust pension reform in the front of the political news. In Michigan, a judge declared that Detroit could consider bankruptcy to deal with its debt crisis and that public pension obligations can be treated like any other contract under bankruptcy law. In Illinois, the state legislature passed a public pension reform that supporters say will save $160 billion and fund the retirement system over 30 years by reducing benefits for workers and retirees.
Both actions await the inevitable lawsuits promised by the public employee unions that don’t want to see members’ benefits reduced. Both stories have meaning to California cities that are struggling with fiscal problems that are wrapped around pension and health care liabilities.
Let’s state here that no one wants to see pensioners lose income they expected. That goes for public workers as well as citizens on Social Security who could see benefits cut in the not-too-distant future if the current gap between available revenue and payments due is not altered.
Saying that, something has to be done to avert the city bankruptcies and everything is on the table.
The judge making the Detroit bankruptcy decision clearly stated that, “it has long been understood that bankruptcy law entails the impairment of contracts.” That argument is at issue in the San Bernardino bankruptcy debate and could arise again in Stockton. Other California cities facing difficult fiscal conditions due to heavy pension burdens will take note.
The pension decision in Detroit will now become front and center as city officials sit down with union leaders to discuss resolutions to budget problems. The decision also gives a boost to San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s effort to find resolution on the pension issues that are threatening the budget in his city and cities across the state.
Reed’s proposed ballot initiative would give local governments more power to negotiate reductions in pension benefits. He has reached out to unions in an effort to find a solution to the pension crisis and avoid a war over the initiative. The unions responded by rebuffing Reed’s overture unless he drops his initiative plan.
In light of the decision coming out of Detroit on bankruptcy and public pensions, perhaps public employee unions should reconsider and accept Reed’s invitation to at least attempt to find common ground.
Media Matters has continued its monitoring of the Sunday morning talk shows on broadcast and cable networks. Following up on our previous studies, we've added data for July, August, and September to the existing data collected for the first six months of this year on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CBS' Face the Nation, Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, NBC's Meet the Press, CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, and MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki and Melissa Harris-Perry. Unless otherwise specified all charts and analysis below are based on the full nine months of data.
The White Male Stranglehold On The Sunday Shows
White Men Still Represent The Largest Proportion Of Guests Except On Melissa Harris-Perry. Six of the seven shows analyzed -- This Week, Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday, Meet the Press, State of the Union, and Up -- have hosted white men at a significantly higher rate than their 31 percent portion of the population.Melissa Harris-Perry provided the greatest diversity among guests, providing a much higher rate of white women and African-American guests than the other programs; Up also hosted a higher percentage of people from those demographics than CNN or the broadcast programs. Latino, Asian-American, and Middle Eastern guests have been largely absent from the Sunday shows. Native Americans fared even worse, with only two appearances (one on Melissa Harris-Perry and one on Up) out of a total of 2,436 appearances over the nine-month period studied.
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