March 21, 2014
By Elizabeth Slattery and Andrew Kloster
This expansive view of executive power is not what our Constitution envisions. In fact, the president has a constitutional duty to “take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” He does not have the power to make or suspend the law, but time and again, that is precisely what President Obama has done. From making sham “recess” appointments to waiving the 1996 welfare reform work requirement to implementing the Dream Act with the stroke of a pen, he has routinely bypassed Congress and violated the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution. Pointing to inaction and dysfunction in Congress, President Obama says, “Where they won’t act, I will.”
No discussion of abusive executive power would be complete without mentioning Obamacare. With nearly 30 delays and unilateral changes to the law, the law in operation looks vastly different from what Congress passed in 2010.
There’s the new “hardship” exemption from the individual mandate to purchase insurance; congressional staff insurance subsidies that flagrantly violate the law; allowing insurance companies to continue offering plans that fail to meet the required coverage until 2016; and delaying until 2016 the requirement that employers with more than 50 employees provide certain coverage.
All these changes have been made without Congress passing a single amendment to the law. Some of these actions can be (and have been) challenged in court, but many cannot. In those instances, the only recourse is the ballot box.
This is the same president who once claimed President George W. Bush was “trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all,” and who promised to bring change to Washington. Now we are realizing that this “change” means less accountability and increasingly lawless action.
Obama’s unfaithful execution of the law seems to include an ostensible power to ignore or revise laws he doesn’t like. Indeed, as liberal law professor Jonathan Turley has noted, President Obama is “becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid.”
- Elizabeth Slattery is a senior legal policy analyst in the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.
Originally appeared in U.S. News and World Report
Read More >>
Request an interview >>
Please complete the following form to request an interview with a Heritage expert.
Please note that all fields must be completed.
Heritage's daily Morning Bell e-mail keeps you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.
The subscription is free and delivers you the latest conservative policy perspectives on the news each weekday--straight from Heritage experts.
The Morning Bell is your daily wake-up call offering a fresh, conservative analysis of the news.
More than 450,000 Americans rely on Heritage's Morning Bell to stay up to date on the policy battles that affect them.
Rush Limbaugh says "The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell is just terrific!"
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says it's "a great way to start the day for any conservative who wants to get America back on track."
Sign up to start your free subscription today!
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate donors. Heritage, founded in February 1973, has a staff of 275 and an annual expense budget of $82.4 million.
Our mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Read More
© 2015, The Heritage Foundation Conservative policy research since 1973