Obama’s Move to Trample State Rights
It’s bad enough that Obama has trampled all over the Constitution, the Bill of Rights – All amendments etc. that our Confederate ancestors fought to maintain against the overreaching North, but he’s now moving to trample the sovereign rights of the States in a move that makes Northern aggressor, Republican President Abraham Lincoln look like a choir boy. Before we get to that, let’s review his flagrant disregard for the Constitution. Let’s not forget it states that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” and that he takes an oath “…and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”, to that end.
1. Changing Obamacare on the fly without congressional action
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that businesses employing 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance or pay a fine per uncovered employee. The law schedules this mandate to begin in January 2014. Yet the Administration has already announced that it will put this requirement on hold. Meanwhile, Congress explicitly considered and rejected proposed amendments to Obamacare that would have created a specific allowance for a congressional health insurance subsidy in the exchanges, and indeed, such an exemption is illegal. But the Administration told Members of Congress and their staffers thatit would give them a generous taxpayer-funded subsidy just the same. Obamacare won’t work as written, and the Administration is just seizing power unilaterally to rewrite it. Here also, just within Obamacare, we have multiple infractions of Constitutional authority.
- Delay of Obamacare’s out-of-pocket caps. The Labor Department announced in February that it was delaying for a year the part of the healthcare law that limits how much people have to spend on their own insurance. This may have been sensible—insurers and employers need time to comply with rapidly changing regulations—but changing the law requires actual legislation.
- Delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate. The administration announced via blogpost on the eve of the July 4 holiday that it was delaying the requirement that employers of at least 50 people provide complying insurance or pay a fine. This time it did cite statutory authority, but the cited provisions allow the delay of certain reporting requirements, not of the mandate itself.
- Obamacare’s Bay State bailout and Commonwealth kickback. To bail out Massachusetts’s malfunctioning health-care exchange, President Obama and Governor Deval Patrick (before he left office) arranged for more than 300,000 state residents to receive temporary Medicaid coverage without any verification of eligibility, and for the state to get the most generous taxpayer-funded premium subsidies in the entire country.
- Delay of Obamacare’s insurance requirements. The famous pledge that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” backfired when insurance companies started cancelling millions of plans that didn’t comply with Obamacare’s requirements. President Obama called a press conference last month to proclaim that people could continue buying non-complying plans in 2014—despite Obamacare’s explicit language to the contrary. He then refused to consider a House-passed bill that would’ve made this action legal.
- Extending Obamacare subsidies to non-exchange plans. The administration found in February 2014 that some exchanges were having difficulty determining people’s eligibility. And so now, owing to this “exceptional circumstance,” exchanges can grant retroactive coverage based on the application date rather than on the date of acceptance. Also, those enrolled in plans outside the exchanges who were then determined to be eligible for coverage could receive the subsidies granted to those in an exchange plan.
- Delay of Obamacare’s transparency requirements. In October 2014, the administration announced that it would not be enforcing the Obamacare’s “transparency in coverage” provisions, which require insurers to disclose data on enrollment, denied claims, and the costs to consumers for certain services.
- Obamacare’s hidden tax on states. The Affordable Care Act imposed a health-insurance providers’ fee on insurance companies, for the purpose of taxing the windfall they were expected to receive from increased enrollment. In March 2015, states were notified that they too would be assessed this fee, because they use managed-care organizations to provide Medicaid services. Nothing in the ACA allows the federal government to force states to pay the fee, so the administration left it to the “private” Actuarial Standards Board to determine what makes a state’s payments to managed-care organizations “actuarially sound,” as required by law. The board then interpreted that “actuarially sound” standard to require states to pay the taxes assessed on their managed-care organizations. For Texas, that means an unanticipated annual budget hit of $120 million. This assessment raises serious coercion issues, as the states have no choice but to pay the tax or lose their federal Medicaid funds. Texas, joined by Kansas and Louisiana, sued the government in October.
- Exemption of Congress from Obamacare. A little-known part of Obamacare requires Congressmen and their staff to get insurance through the new healthcare exchanges, rather than a taxpayer-funded program. In the quiet of August, President Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management to interpret the law to maintain the generous congressional benefits.
- Expansion of the employer mandate penalty through IRS regulation. Obamacare grants tax credits to people whose employers don’t provide coverage if they buy a plan “through an Exchange established by the State”—and then fines employers for each employee receiving such a subsidy. No tax credits are authorized for residents of states where the exchanges are established by the federal government, as an incentive for states to create exchanges themselves. Because so few (16) states did, however, the IRS issued a rule ignoring that plain text and allowed subsidies (and commensurate fines) for plans coming from “a State Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary Exchange, and federally-facilitated Exchange.”
2. Implementing the DREAM Act by executive fiat
Congress has repeatedly considered, and rejected, a bill known as the Dream Act that would effectively grant amnesty to many illegal aliens, and has shamelessly failed to pass any sort of immigration reform, including for the most sympathetic victims of the current non-system, young people who were brought into the country illegally as children. Nonetheless, President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority (“the President doesn’t have the authority to simply ignore Congress and say, ‘We’re not going to enforce the laws you’ve passed.”), directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers and in June 2012, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a directive to immigration officials instructing them to defer deportation proceedings against an estimated 1.7 million illegal aliens. The executive branch undoubtedly has discretion regarding enforcement priorities, but granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.
3. Making “recess appointments” while the Senate was in session
In January 2012, President Obama appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board, as well as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, claiming that the Senate was not available to confirm those appointees. Yet the Senate was not in recess at that time. The Senate was still holding “pro forma” sessions every three days—a technique developed by Sen. Harry Reid to thwart Bush recess appointments. The Recess Appointments Clause is not an alternative to Senate confirmation and is supposed to be only a stopgap for times when the Senate is unable to provide advice and consent. (Meanwhile, the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, provides that authority remains with the Treasury Secretary until a director is “confirmed by the Senate.”) Eventually, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit struck down the appointments to the NLRB as unconstitutional.
4. Waiving welfare work requirements
In July 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services gutted the work requirements out of the welfare reform law passed in 1996. It notified states of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s “willingness to exercise her waiver authority” so that states may eliminate the work participation requirement of Section 407 of the 1996 reforms. This flatly contradicts the law, which provides that waivers granted under other sections of the law “shall not affect the applicability of section 407 to the State.” Despite this unambiguous language, the Obama Administration continues to flout the law with its “revisionist” interpretation.
5. Encouraging federal contractors to violate the law
The WARN Act requires that federal contractors give 60 days’ notice before a mass layoff or plant closing. Employers who do not give notice are liable for employees’ back pay and benefits as well as additional penalties. With defense-related spending cuts set to start on January 2, 2013, defense contractors should have issued notice by November 2, 2012 (just four days before the presidential election). Yet, the Department of Labor instructed defense contractors not to issue notice for layoffs due to sequestration until after the election—and assured them they would be reimbursed with taxpayer funds for any subsequent liability for violating the law.
6. Political profiling by the IRS. After seeing a rise in the number of applications for tax-exempt status, the IRS in 2010 compiled a “be on the lookout” (“BOLO”) list to identify organizations engaged in political activities. The list included words such as “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” and “Israel”; subjects such as government spending, debt, or taxes; and activities such as criticizing the government, educating about the Constitution, or challenging Obamacare. The targeting continued through May of this year.
7. Outlandish Supreme Court arguments. Between January 2012 and June 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Justice Department’s extreme positions 9 times. The cases ranged from criminal procedure to property rights, religious liberty to immigration, securities regulation to tax law. They had nothing in common other than the government’s view that federal power is virtually unlimited. As a comparison, in the entire Bush and Clinton presidencies, the government suffered 15 and 23 unanimous rulings, respectively.
8. Assault on free speech and due process on college campuses. Responding to complaints about the University of Montana’s handling of sexual assault claims, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, in conjunction with the Justice Department, sent the university a letter intended as a national “blueprint” for tackling sexual harassment. The letter urges a crackdown on “unwelcome” speech and requires complaints to be heard in quasi-judicial procedures that deny legal representation, encourage punishment before trial, and convict based on a mere “more likely than not” standard.
9. Mini-DREAM Act. Congress has shamelessly failed to pass any sort of immigration reform, including for the most sympathetic victims of the current non-system, young people who were brought into the country illegally as children. Nonetheless, President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority, directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers. The executive branch undoubtedly has discretion regarding enforcement priorities, but granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.
10. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. In June 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule for regulating power-plant emissions. Despite significant criticism, on August 3, 2015, it announced a final rule. It gives states until 2018 — it “encourages” September 2016 — to develop final plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, with mandatory compliance beginning in 2022. EPA cites Section 111 of the Clean Air Act as justification for the Clean Power Plan, but that section can’t give the agency such authority. Section 111(d) doesn’t permit the government to require states to regulate pollutants from existing sources when those pollutants are already being regulated under Section 112, as those deriving from coal-fired plants are.
11. EPA’s Clean Water Rule. On May 27, 2015, EPA announced its new Clean Water Rule, which aims to protect streams and wetlands from pollution. The agency insists that the rule doesn’t affect bodies of water not previously regulated, but several groups have sued on the basis that the rule’s definitions of regulated waters greatly exceed the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate “waters of the United States.” The Supreme Court has thrice addressed the meaning of that phrase, making clear that, for the EPA to have regulatory authority, a sufficient nexus must exist between the location regulated and “navigable waters.” The Clean Water Rule, however, purports to give EPA power far beyond waters that are “navigable” by any stretch of the definition of that word.
12. EPA’s cap-and-trade. On October 23, 2015, EPA issued a carbon-emissions cap-and-trade regulation, establishing for each state limits on carbon dioxide emission, with four interim steps on the way to the final goal. The focus is on cap-and-trade as the means to meet the limits. EPA says that this rule, too, is authorized by Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, but Congress considered and rejected such a cap-and-trade program in 2009. Far from being authorized by the Clean Air Act or from lying in some zone of statutory ambiguity, this new regulation contradicts the express will of Congress.
13. Net neutrality. In the works throughout the Obama presidency, the Open Internet Rule was adopted in February and went into effect on June 12, 2015. Although the Federal Communications Commission touts the regulation as a means to ensure that the Internet remains free of censorship, the rule impinges on the First Amendment rights of Internet-service providers, which are forbidden to prioritize any Internet traffic.
If that wasn’t enough, he has trampled all over The Bill of Rights which was created to state explicitly some of the individual rights that many of its authors thought the Constitution guaranteed and protected implicitly. So how many of these protections to our liberties have President Obama and his administration violated or tried to restrict?
First Amendment — Taking just the free speech provision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United vs. FEC that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations, associations and labor unions. And yet Obama has looked for ways to circumvent that decision and even criticized the Court in a State of the Union address. In addition, as previously mentioned in his trampling of the Constitution, the IRS has illegally and unconstitutionally stonewalled and harassed conservative-leaning and tea party groups trying to apply for tax-exempt status. It’s clearly an effort to limit their speech and free association, and yet Obama has recently dismissed the criticisms and supported even tighter restrictions.
Second Amendment — The president put gun-restricting legislation at the top of his political agenda at the beginning of 2013, and it failed miserably. He couldn’t even get many in his own party to go along. Ironically, his efforts boosted National Rifle Association membership from 4 million to 5 million.
Third Amendment — The Supreme Court has never decided a Third Amendment case, which prohibits the quartering of soldiers in an home without the owner’s consent. But a 21st century application of this amendment could be the government’s demand for what is in essence intelligence agency squatting rights on private sector communications companies’ servers. While that legal theory might sound novel, Andrew P. Morriss and Richard L. Stroup argued in a paper that, under a “living Constitution” theory—which the president clearly holds to—the Endangered Species Act’s requirement that private landowners must allow government-designated endangered species to live on their land runs afoul of the Third Amendment.
Fourth Amendment — Some federal courts have ruled that the Obama administration violated the “unreasonable searches and seizures” clause by using the National Security Agency to “search” Americans’ phone calls, which has now become the subject of international debate—and criticism. Obama wasn’t the first president to rely on the NSA to collect data on U.S. citizens, but his administration took it to a whole new level.
Fifth and Sixth Amendments — Both amendments guarantee due process, which Obama clearly violated in killing Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman. Both were U.S. citizens, and both were killed, at different times and places, by drone strikes in Yemen. The government claims that Anwar was a terrorist, and he may have been, but he never got the chance to defend himself against those charges. And given this administration’s challenges with being truthful, it doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. As Anwar’s father, also a U.S. citizen, wrote in the New York Times: “The government repeatedly made accusations of terrorism against Anwar—who was also an American citizen—but never charged him with a crime. No court ever reviewed the government’s claims nor was any evidence of criminal wrongdoing ever presented to a court. He did not deserve to be deprived of his constitutional rights as an American citizen and killed.”
Seventh Amendment — One of the constant liberal criticisms of President George W. Bush was that he held enemy combatants in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba without ever being given a trial or released. There are constitutional scholars who argue that these non-citizens have no right to a jury trial, but Obama was convinced they did. As president he tried to bring them to the mainland, but he met with congressional resistance, including from his own party. He eventually signed legislation that keeps the camp open and the detainees in place, countering his stated constitutional concerns.
Eight Amendment — The Eight Amendment has to do in part with the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. When Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delivered his 13-hour Senate filibuster, he was trying to get Obama to agree not to use lethal drone strikes against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. Obama eventually conceded, but only because his refusal had become a PR nightmare. The public understandably has a lot of trepidation about drones watching and targeting them, especially with a president who thinks it is morally superior to kill people with a drone rather than capturing them and putting them in prison.
Ninth and Tenth Amendments — Both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments deal with limiting the federal government and reaffirming that powers not specifically enumerated in the Constitution reside with the states and individuals.
The 10th Amendment is the amendment which reserves for the States all powers not explicitly granted to the Federal government. The president has been so aggressive in expanding federal power—e.g., health care, environmental restrictions, marriage, meddling in the Confederate flag/monument issue, bathroom availability for men pretending to be women etc. that he has singlehandedly ignited a Tenth Amendment backlash, in which states, but also individuals, are increasingly challenging his unconstitutional overreach into spheres that belong to the states and citizens. On issues from medical marijuana to voter-identification laws to malpractice reform, President Barack Hussein Obama has shown few qualms about trampling all over the 10th Amendment. Earlier this month, Mr. Obama cited a respect for states’ rights as he announced his personal “evolution” to support of gay marriage, but has repeatedly deployed his Justice Department to challenge states over their voter-ID and immigration laws, and medical marijuana use policies. Mike Maharrey, of the Tenth Amendment Center, said this kind of fair-weather federalism illustrates an inconsistency running rampant in both major parties.
Now however, Mr. Obama is moving not only to trample State rights in an area not explicitly granted to the Federal government to control, but is also planning to “punish” non compliant States. President Barack Obama’s administration is drafting a new regulation which would override state laws that redirect federal funding away from its political ally — Planned Parenthood — towards competing healthcare providers. The federal rule is aimed at the laws passed by states t0 redirect Title X family planning funding away from Planned Parenthood, following the organization’s alleged involvement in the illegal sale of body parts of aborted babies. The proposed regulation is the “latest stunt from President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services,” Rep. Diane Black, a member of the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, said in a statement Tuesday.
“We’ve known all along that the Obama Administration will go to untold lengths to protect its friends in the big abortion industry,” Black, a registered nurse, said. “After all, this Administration has previously used backdoor maneuvers to line Planned Parenthood’s pockets with Obamacare navigator grants and praised the abortion provider’s ‘high ethical standard’ even after it was caught trafficking in baby body parts.” Several states now redirect the federal funding to other Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) which provide more comprehensive medical services, but which do not provide abortions. Nationally, there are 13,000 FQHCs – a figure that outnumbers Planned Parenthood facilities by 20 to 1.
Nevertheless, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asserts that by redirecting Title X funding away Planned Parenthood, the states “have interfered with” low-income individuals’ ability to access federal assistance quickly. “Moreover, states that restrict eligibility of subrecipients have caused limitations in the geographic distribution of services, and decreased access to services through trusted and qualified providers,” HHS charges. The Obama administration also uses the argument that no federal monies can be used for abortions anyway under the Hyde Amendment; therefore, Planned Parenthood should not be excluded from receipt of the Title X funding, based on the types of services it provides.
Ironically, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood itself are threatening that, if Clinton is elected president, she will work to repeal the Hyde Amendment so that federal funds can be used to provide abortions to low-income, minority women especially.
Rep. Black responded.
They have taken the unprecedented step of thwarting states’ rights with a shady proposed rule change that prevents states from funding the providers who will best serve their citizens. In the coming days, I intend to lead a letter expressing the deep concerns of Members of Congress on this proposal, but we won’t stop there. We must use the full force of Congress and the grassroots strength of the national pro-life movement to defeat this absurd rule and prevent the Obama Administration from acting unilaterally to carry out political favors and prop up a scandal-ridden abortion provider.
Support for abortion on demand has declined in recent years and state legislatures’ approval of restrictions on abortion highlights this change. A recent Marist College Institute for Public Opinion poll found a full 81 percent of Americans favor some restrictions on abortion — including limiting the procedure after the first three months — and a continued ban on public funding of abortion. In the survey of 1,700 Americans, even 66 percent of respondents who identify themselves as pro-choice say, “Abortion should be allowed, at most, in the first trimester, in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, or never permitted.”
Without substantial genuine public support for abortion on demand, Planned Parenthood has had to rely largely on activist courts and the Obama administration’s directives and rules to block the will of the states. The new rule comes after the Obama administration has threatened states attempting to defund the nation’s largest provider of abortions with potential violation of federal law and, ultimately, the complete cut-off of Medicaid funds to those states.
This should be enough to make the American people rise up, but instead, the sheeple look the other way, justify his actions or simply ignore the facts in favor of living out “ignorance is bliss”. The very same rights that our Confederate ancestors fought to maintain, and that later US soldiers fought and died for are being eroded right under our noses, but no one will rise up. President Obama has been a successful president in one way at least, he has successfully done what Abraham Lincoln could not. Men and women of the South, RISE UP!!! The hour of truth is at hand! If we allow him to do this, there is no end to what he will be able to do. By allowing him to flex his muscles, we enable him to seize power that is not his to seize. I don’t really care where you stand on the abortion issue, do I support the wholesale slaughter of millions of innocent babies? No. But this is another issue entirely. This is the issue of the seizure of authority and sovereignty from the State, and Federal dictatorship. Do something, while you still can. Call your Senate/Congress representatives. Call your State Government officials. Call anyone and everyone that you can think of to call, and make a stand.