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Galveston County Daily News Header Court Reigns In
Presidential Actions

July 6, 2014

In one week the Supreme Court has reigned in Presidential actions; not once but twice! 

The court’s first ruling declared that Obama’s attempt on January 4, 2012, to appoint three people to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) without Senate approval was an overreach of Presidential authority.  The court’s unanimous decision confirmed the actions were unconstitutional.  The Senate normally holds hearings and votes on the President's nominees.  In this case, the Senate was taking a 2-3 day break, which according to the court didn’t meet the intent of the "recess appointment" provision of the Constitution.1  By its action, the Supreme Court invalidated over a hundred NLRB decisions, some of which were contentious.  But, the Court’s decision is also a stinging rebuke of the President for overstepping his authority.

Next the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby; a closely-held corporation (owned by a Christian family), that objected to an Obamacare regulatory mandate that free access be provided to contraception as part of the company’s health plans or face a multi-million dollar daily fine.  Hobby Lobby was willing to provide access to contraception but not abortion-inducing drugs. In the 5-4 decision the court found that laws passed by Congress trump regulations issued by executive branch agencies.  The court said that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 19932, gave closely-held corporations protections, just like people, in deciding how to limit health-care benefits, specifically with respect to religious objections to abortion and contraception.  The Majority also commented that this exception would have been extended further had there not been existing regulatory religious exceptions.  Again, this was a stunning defeat for Obamacare and the Administration.

But already Democrats, including Wendi Davis and Hillary Clinton, are saying this decision was an attack on women.  The truth is, any form of contraceptive can be obtained free-of-charge through Planned Parenthood. The Court excused employers when it is against their moral convictions. 

These two Supreme Court decisions also bode well for Speaker Boehner’s forthcoming lawsuit against the President.  This lawsuit attempts to stop any President from overstepping his authority by choosing which, and when, to implement enacted legislation.  It’s rumored the suit will question the 25+ delays/modifications the President has made to the “Affordable Care Act”  without Congressional authorization, This case will also require the courts to decide whether Congress has “standing” in order to sue.  Laws gain their authority from the governed through Congress.  If the representatives of the people don't have this authority, it means that some are acting above the law.

The humanitarian crisis we are seeing on the border, with thousands of children entering the country illegally, is a direct result of President Obama’s unilateral decision to allow illegal children under 16 to stay in the U.S.  This promise was itself illegal.  Obama says we are a nation of laws.  We honestly wonder what he means.  The President has repeatedly said if the Congress will not act he will.  There is a pattern here of usurpation of power -- and even from a former Constitutional law professor: Obama should know better!

He claims he knows nothing about what’s happened, and only learned about each new event by watching CNN.  Perhaps he should switch channels!  The President gets daily briefings from the intelligence community and the FBI.  It’s the President’s duty to provide leadership and protection by enforcing the law.   To avow ignorance on meaningful issues, and every scandal, is either criminal misconduct or an unbelievable dereliction of duty.  In our view either is unacceptable!

This column was written by all three of us! Bill did the initial draft, then John added some important parts to it and Mark put on the final touches. Truly a team effort!

1 Although the NLRB decision was unanimous, Justice Alito pointed out that there was no constitutional basis for determining how many days the Senate needs to be on recess in order for the President to make recess appointments. One day, two, eight, nine, ten -- the length of the recess is not addressed in the Constitution.

2This bill was passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate with only a handful of votes against it. It was signed into law by President Clinton -- Hillary's husband. The bill upon which the court based its decision was not about contraception but instead about religious freedom.