Executive Power

Obama the Unchallengeable, on ISIS and Obamacare

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Whitehouse.gov

Yesterday afternoon, a federal appeals court tossed a lawsuit against the Obama administration filed by a consortium of doctors opposed to the president's delay of Obamacare's employer mandate.

The court did not rule that President Obama's decision to delay was legal. It did not rule on the merits of the delay at all. Instead, the three-judge panel in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the doctors had no standing to sue, because they could not demonstrate that they would be directly harmed by the delay.

The question of standing has always plagued challenges to the administration's multiple delays of the employer mandate. Even though liberal legal scholars who support the health law have suggested that it is likely an overstep of executive authority, it is hard to find anyone with the legal status to sue.

The appeals court decision suggests that a similar suit against the mandate now in the works from House Republicans will face the same problem. President Obama's move may be illegal, but there's no one who can stop him.

A few hours after the appeals court decision was released, American forces began bombing targets inside Syria. Obama had foreshadowed the strikes in a speech earlier this month, and had invited Congress to officially approve the action, in the way that one might invite a friend over at the last minute for a long-planned dinner. The table was already set, the meal already cooking. It was all going to happen, whether or not Congress decided to show up. 

Congress did not approve the strikes. The administration maintained it had the authority to wage war in Syria anyway under the Authorization to Use Military Force passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

It is, at best, a dubious proposition. That authorization allowed the use of military force against Al Qaeda and affiliated forces. The current strikes are aimed at ISIS, which is no longer part of Al Qaeda, which has disowned ISIS.

As such, the strikes are probably illegal.

At minimum, they do not meet the standard laid out by Barack Obama on the campaign trail in 2008, when he told The Boston Globe that "the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

In his recent speech on the strikes, President Obama suggested that ISIS "could pose a growing threat beyond" the Middle East "if left unchecked," but also said that "we have not detected specific plotting against our homeland." By Obama's own admission, ISIS does not meet the test he himself laid out while running for president.

But who can challenge the president's decision to wage war? The answer is almost certainly no one. Certainly not elected officials in Congress. Since 1973, with the passage of the War Powers Resolution, a law intended to restrain the executive branch's capacity to wage war, there have been multiple attempts by legislators to challenge a president's legal authority to wage war. None have made a dent in executive authority. In four cases, as the Congressional Research Service noted in 2012, the courts refused to render a decision on the merits, labeling the suits as fundamentally political in nature. Two cases were dismissed for lack of ripeness, and two more were tossed for lack of standing.

As with the delay of the mandate, the recent strikes are probably illegal, and yet no one can mount a challenge. President Obama is unchecked, and uncheckable.

Obama is the only one with the power to stop himself. Indeed, while running for president, that's exactly what he promised he would do.

"The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that's what I intend to reverse when I'm President of the United States of America," he said at a televised campaign event in 2008.

A year before that, he voiced explicit support for the War Powers Resolution. "The government of this country is not based on the whims of one person," he said.

The public liked Obama's vision, and voted him into office. But the promised reversal never arrived. And now, on too many policy issues, in too many significant decisions both at home and abroad, it seems all too clear that the whims of one person are what matter most.  

NEXT: Lois Lerner Claims the IRS Did Nothing Wrong. The Data Say Otherwise.

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  1. Well, they could always impeach him!

    Sorry, I’ll stop laughing now.

    1. Obama will probably never be impeached. However, he will be out of office and gone come January 2017, at which time another White, Republican will probably be elected.

      Whoever it is (the White, Republican) will probably serve for eight years, by which time the American people will probably be ready to elect another Democrat, and probably one who belongs to a race other than White.

  2. Standing is not enshrined in law or the constitution. Standing can be changed by passing a law stating that suits on constitutionality can go forward even if the plaintiff cannot demonstrate direct harm. The logic beihind such a law would be that unconstinutional governmental actions cause harm to everyone, thus provide standing to anyone.

    1. ^ This.

      The Americans with Disabilities Act already is an exception to the rule that you have to have to standing in order to sue someone – there’s NO reason the Constitution can’t be placed on the same enforcement level as ADA.

    2. your first 6 words say you don’t
      know what your talking about

      1. “your” ? “you’re”

        If you’re going to troll, try harder.

  3. “the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
    [but]
    “we have not detected specific plotting against our homeland.”

    Come on, Peter — you know absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You can’t prove there’s not an imminent threat.

  4. Honestly it seems that this administration has multiplied wrong and illegality so many times no one has the attention span to keep up with it all.

    So in a sense Obama is a genius at getting away with this shit.

    1. So in a sense Obama someone in the administration is a genius at getting away with this shit.

      FTFY

      1. I believe Rich has it.

    2. This is the “dense pack” theory of scandals: put up so many scandals that they effectively cancel each other out in the microscopic attention span of the public, aided and abetted, natch, by the DemOp Media.

      1. How many scandals can dance on the head of a pin?

        1. If the scandal doesn’t have legs, how can it dance?

          1. Of course scandals have legs….for how else would Chris Matthews feel that tingling were it not for legs?

      2. who’s running around yelling
        scandals, oh, that’s right it’s darryl
        issa, you post is laughable

    3. illegality is a matter of YOUR opinion

  5. The US government – and thereby its population – is so fucked.

    1. I went long on popcorn so, I’m good

  6. the three-judge panel in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the doctors had no standing to sue, because they could not demonstrate that they would be directly harmed by the delay.

    Why the Repubs don’t front a challenge to this delay by standing up an employee who would (notionally) be benefited by the employer mandate continues to mystify me. It puts the administration in the impossible position of arguing either (a) there is no standing because employer mandate would not directly benefit employees or (b) the case has standing and the court should hear the challenge.

    1. The Repubs aren’t known as … well, you know.

      Also, “standing” seems about as well-defined as “insider trading”.

    2. I had this exact same thought – if this law is supposed to be such a boon to humanity, isn’t a delay in implementation a de facto harm? Can’t we just pick anyone who has a job and no insurance as someone who’s been harmed by the President’s action?

      It’s like it doesn’t even occur to them that the law was supposed to benefit people.

    3. the employer mandate has to do with
      the “employer”, not the employee
      who would have no standing
      hope you don’t think your intelligent

  7. President Obama’s move may be illegal, but there’s no one who can stop him.

    Wow, this is the best one sentence summation of his presidency that I’ve seen yet.

    1. he expressd an opinion that you
      agree with, you must be a fox news viewer

  8. Obama hasn’t been challenged on Obamacare? That’s hysterical. And ISIS? I’ve got an idea…how about Rand Paul challenging him. Oh that’s right, he pretty much agrees.

    1. I might add that the entire election in 2012 was a challenge to both Obama and Obamacare, or don’t you remember that his opponent was going to “repeal it on day 1.” Oh, that’s right, that guy lost. So much for a challenge.

      1. I remember Biden saying that if Romney was elected, we’d be in a disastrous war in Syria. Thank Allah we elected the right guy then!

        1. And that has what to do with the price of eggs?

        2. we aren’t in a disastrous war in syria
          the stupid never ends with you people

      2. Obama won becuase Romney was going to confiscate 47% of all the uteruses out there. Or something like that.

        1. yeah…binders and binders full of uteruses……uteri!

    2. Yes, yes, Obama won, deal with it, he is the duly elected God-Emperor, blah blah.

      Remember, Jack:

      Me today, you tomorrow.

      1. actually, goober, if your not
        wealthy, you get screwed along
        with the rest of us, you are so
        out of touch

  9. Approximately, it’s people resignedly thinking, “We’ve got to indulge this black guy, to make up for all the time black people weren’t allowed to do shit. We spent all that time hurting the black man, now the black man has to have his turn hurting us all back. It’ll be over soon.”

    1. American? Is that you?

      It’s been, what, almost two weeks now!

      1. Ask him about his insane Lost conspiracy theory.

      2. No, it’s me, the same me, not spoofing. It’s just why this prez is indulged to a degree I’ve never seen of a previous one. The people who vote for him (even the 2nd time) are groaning, but they just figure it to be a price they have to pay.

        People are right that race is still a factor in people’s thinking in the USA. It’s just that it comes out in odd ways.

    2. the race card just makes you look a fool

      1. It sure does for Obama !

  10. I wonder if the pilots doing the airstrike have “standing” to sue? I can’t imagine that anyone would if they didn’t.

    I suppose this is one of the “benefits” for the state of switching to drones; there is no-one with standing to sue…

    1. why would they sue?? they get tired
      of just “practicing”

  11. The concept of standing is so retarded only lawyers could have come up with it.

    1. wow, you win the stupidest post
      of the day award

      1. I’m pretty sure that goes to the weapons-grade assclown whose incoherent gibberish posts are formatted like retarded haikus and who apparently doesn’t know what the SHIFT keys on his keyboard are for.

        Go eat a bag of deep-fried dicks, you worthless cunt.

  12. “The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America,” he said at a televised campaign event in 2008.

    The public liked Obama’s vision, and voted him into office.

    “You fucked up! You trusted [me]!” – Obama

    1. hey, airhead, he told congress
      to repeal the AUMF, but they wouldn’t
      do that, they want that power for the
      “next” republican president

      1. So calling Republicans on their BS negates the lies and reversals of your Dearest Leader?

        Iron Logic.

  13. le Roi Soleil cannot be wrong

  14. my friend’s sister makes $74 every hour on the computer . She has been out of work for eight months but last month her payment was $15002 just working on the computer for a few hours. you can try this out……….

    http://www.Works6.com

  15. Everybody will receive free shit from everyone else
    and no one will have to pay for it
    why can’t you fox newsboys
    understand mainstream economics.

    /josh rendell

  16. You seem to be implying that the doctrine of “standing” was something made up by biased judges to avoid ruling on challenges to Obama’s decisions. The reality is that it’s something built right in to the Constitution of the United States. The federal courts are not empowered by the Constitution to issue advisory opinions. They can only rule on cases in which there is a genuine legal conflict between the plaintiff and the defendant. A citizen disliking or disagreeing with the actions of a government official is not sufficient to meet that requirement.

  17. my co-worker’s mom makes $78 hourly on the computer . She has been fired for 6 months but last month her payment was $21331 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit this website ….

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

  18. my co-worker’s mom makes $78 hourly on the computer . She has been fired for 6 months but last month her payment was $21331 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit this website ….

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

  19. One more of your talking points down the tubes, Peter. Remember how insurance companies were supposed to be avoiding Obamacare? Well, it seems that the number of insurance companies planning to take part in 2015 is jumping by 20%. It will now be 248.

    People were going to avoid it, insurance companies were going to avoid it….and in fact, just the opposite. More and more people are joining, and more and more insurance companies are joining. You know what that is indicative of Peter? A program that is gaining in popularity, and if the marketplace is always right, its a program that is working.

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