What Does It Mean To Execute The Law?
- Marvin Harvey
In the context of contractual formalities, the way in which a person enters into a document or deed either by sealing it, or by signature, thereby giving it legal effect. In the context of dispute resolution, the ‘process for enforcing or giving effect to the judgment of the court’.
What does it mean to executing the law?
Execution means (1) the act of carrying out, performing, or completing, as in the execution of an order or decree ; (2) signing or completing all formalities necessary to make a contract or document effective, such as signing, stamping, or delivering ; (3) to put to death according to a court-rendered sentence ; (4) enforcement of a monetary judgment, See also: Execute
Who executed the law?
Proper execution of the laws is the responsibility of the executive branch of the government.
What is the meaning of execution of documents?
This case, it was held that the ordinary meaning of ‘executing a document’ is signing a document as a consenting evidence of his assent to a document is executant within the meaning of Section 35.
What is the power to execute the law?
The President – The President is both the head of state and head of government of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress.
Fifteen executive departments — each led by an appointed member of the President’s Cabinet — carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government. They are joined in this by other executive agencies such as the CIA and Environmental Protection Agency, the heads of which are not part of the Cabinet, but who are under the full authority of the President.
The President also appoints the heads of more than 50 independent federal commissions, such as the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as federal judges, ambassadors, and other federal offices. The Executive Office of the President (EOP) consists of the immediate staff to the President, along with entities such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses. The Executive Branch conducts diplomacy with other nations and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which the Senate ratifies.
The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws. The President also has the power to extend pardons and clemencies for federal crimes. With these powers come several responsibilities, among them a constitutional requirement to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Although the President may fulfill this requirement in any way he or she chooses, Presidents have traditionally given a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress each January (except in inaugural years) outlining their agenda for the coming year.
- The Constitution lists only three qualifications for the Presidency — the President must be at least 35 years of age, be a natural born citizen, and must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.
- And though millions of Americans vote in a presidential election every four years, the President is not, in fact, directly elected by the people.
Instead, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every fourth year, the people elect the members of the Electoral College. Apportioned by population to the 50 states — one for each member of their congressional delegation (with the District of Columbia receiving 3 votes) — these Electors then cast the votes for President.
- There are currently 538 electors in the Electoral College.
- President Joseph R.
- Biden is the 46th President of the United States.
- He is, however, only the 45th person ever to serve as President; President Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms, and thus is recognized as both the 22nd and the 24th President.
Today, the President is limited to two four-year terms, but until the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1951, a President could serve an unlimited number of terms. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President four times, serving from 1932 until his death in 1945; he is the only President ever to have served more than two terms.
By tradition, the President and the First Family live in the White House in Washington, D.C., also the location of the President’s Oval Office and the offices of his or her senior staff. When the President travels by plane, his or her aircraft is designated Air Force One; the President may also use a Marine Corps helicopter, known as Marine One while the President is on board.
For ground travel, the President uses an armored presidential limousine.
What does it mean to faithfully execute the laws?
– THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO FAITHFULLY EXECUTE THE LAWS THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO FAITHFULLY EXECUTE THE LAWS ======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION _ DECEMBER 3, 2013 _ Serial No.113-55 _ Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary Available via the World Wide Web: http://judiciary.house.gov – U.S.
- GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 85-762 PDF WASHINGTON : 2014 – For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S.
- Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; DC area (202) 512-1800 Fax: (202) 512-2104 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402-0001 COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia, Chairman F.
JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan Wisconsin JERROLD NADLER, New York HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina ROBERT C. “BOBBY” SCOTT, LAMAR SMITH, Texas Virginia STEVE CHABOT, Ohio MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama ZOE LOFGREN, California DARRELL E.
- ISSA, California SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas J.
- RANDY FORBES, Virginia STEVE COHEN, Tennessee STEVE KING, Iowa HENRY C.
- “HANK” JOHNSON, Jr., TRENT FRANKS, Arizona Georgia LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas PEDRO R.
- PIERLUISI, Puerto Rico JIM JORDAN, Ohio JUDY CHU, California TED POE, Texas TED DEUTCH, Florida JASON CHAFFETZ, Utah LUIS V.
GUTIERREZ, Illinois TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania KAREN BASS, California TREY GOWDY, South Carolina CEDRIC RICHMOND, Louisiana MARK AMODEI, Nevada SUZAN DelBENE, Washington RAUL LABRADOR, Idaho JOE GARCIA, Florida BLAKE FARENTHOLD, Texas HAKEEM JEFFRIES, New York GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina DOUG COLLINS, Georgia RON DeSANTIS, Florida JASON T.
SMITH, Missouri Shelley Husband, Chief of Staff & General Counsel Perry Apelbaum, Minority Staff Director & Chief Counsel C O N T E N T S – DECEMBER 3, 2013 Page OPENING STATEMENTS The Honorable Bob Goodlatte, a Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia, and Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary 1 The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan, and Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary.3 WITNESSES Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, George Washington University Oral Testimony.11 Prepared Statement.13 Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute Oral Testimony.26 Prepared Statement.28 Simon Lazarus, Senior Counsel, The Constitutional Accountability Center Oral Testimony.32 Prepared Statement.34 Michael F.
Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute Oral Testimony.41 Prepared Statement.43 LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary.6 Material submitted by the Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan, and Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary.56 Material submitted by the Honorable Robert C.
“Bobby” Scott, a Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary.65 Material submitted by the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary.84 APPENDIX Material Submitted for the Hearing Record Supplemental Material submitted by Michael F.
Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute.109 Material submitted by the Honorable Trent Franks, a Representative in Congress from the State of Arizona, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary.152 THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO FAITHFULLY EXECUTE THE LAWS – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2013 House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Washington, DC.
- The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:21 a.m., in room 2141, Rayburn Office Building, the Honorable Bob Goodlatte (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
- Present: Representatives Goodlatte, Smith of Texas, Chabot, Bachus, Issa, King, Franks, Gohmert, Jordan, Poe, Marino, Gowdy, Labrador, Farenthold, Holding, Collins, DeSantis, Conyers, Nadler, Scott, Lofgren, Jackson Lee, Cohen, Gutierrez, Garcia, and Jeffries.
Staff present: Shelley Husband, Chief of Staff & General Counsel; Branden Ritchie, Deputy Chief of Staff & Chief Counsel; Allison Halataei, Parliamentarian & General Counsel; Zachary Somers, Counsel; Kelsey Deterding, Clerk; (Minority) Perry Apelbaum, Staff Director & Chief Counsel; Danielle Brown, Parliamentarian; Heather Sawyer, Counsel; and Tom Jawetz, Counsel.
Mr. Goodlatte. The Judiciary Committee will come to order. Without objection, the Chair is authorized to declare recesses of the Committee at any time. The Chair welcomes the members of the audience who are here, but any member who disrupts this meeting will be removed. And presently we do not have order in the hearing room.
Members of the audience must behave in an orderly fashion or else they will be removed from the hearing room. Rule 11 of the House rules provides that the Chairman of the Committee may punish breaches of order and decorum by censure and exclusion from the hearing.
So if there are members here who wish to remain, they should sit down immediately or leave the room immediately, or they will be escorted from the room. Today’s hearing is about the President’s role in our constitutional system. Our system of Government is a tripartite one, with each branch having certain defined functions delegated to it by the Constitution.
The President is charged with executing the laws; the Congress with writing the laws; and the Judiciary with interpreting them. The Obama administration, however, has ignored the Constitution’s carefully balanced separation of powers and unilaterally granted itself the extra-constitutional authority to amend the laws and to waive or suspend their enforcement.
This raw assertion of authority goes well beyond the “executive power” granted to the President and specifically violates the Constitution’s command that the President is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The President’s encroachment into Congress’ sphere of power is not a transgression that should be taken lightly.
As English historian Edward Gibbon famously observed regarding the fall of the Roman Empire, “the principles of a free constitution are irrevocably lost when the legislative power is dominated by the executive.” Although the President’s actions may not yet amount to the executive powers overtaking the legislative power, they are certainly undermining the rule of law that is at the center of our constitutional design.
From Obamacare to immigration, the current Administration is picking and choosing which laws to enforce. But the Constitution does not confer upon the President the “executive authority” to disregard the separation of powers by unilaterally waiving, suspending, or revising the laws. It is a bedrock principle of constitutional law that the President must “faithfully execute” Acts of Congress.
The President cannot refuse to enforce a law simply because he dislikes it. Certainly presidents have from time to time made broad claims of executive power. However, assertions of executive authority have traditionally been limited to the area in which presidential powers are at their strongest-Foreign affairs.
- The Obama administration, though, has been equally assertive in the realm of domestic policy, routinely making end runs around Congress through broad claims of prosecutorial discretion and regulatory actions that push executive power beyond all limits.
- Indeed, President Obama is the first President since Richard Nixon to ignore a duly enacted law simply because he disagrees with it.
In place of the checks and balances established by the Constitution, President Obama has proclaimed that, “I refuse to take no for an answer,” and that “where Congress won’t act, I will.” Throughout the Obama presidency we have seen a pattern: President Obama circumvents Congress when he does not get his way.
- For instance, while Congress is currently debating how to reform our immigration laws, the President effectively enacted the DREAM Act himself by ordering immigration officials to stop enforcing immigration laws against certain unlawful immigrants.
- When he could not get his preferred changes to the No Child Left Behind education law, he unilaterally waived its testing accountability provisions.
When he objected to the work requirements in the bipartisan welfare reform law, he granted waivers that are specifically forbidden by the statutory text. Instead of working with Congress to amend Federal drug enforcement policy, he has instructed prosecutors to stop enforcing certain drug laws in certain States and mandatory minimum sentences for certain offenses.
And most notably, the President has-without statutory authorization-waived, suspended, and amended several major provisions of his health care law. These unlawful modifications to Obamacare include: delaying for 1 year Obamacare’s employer mandate; instructing States that they are free to ignore the law’s clear language regarding which existing health care plans may be grandfathered; and promulgating an IRS rule that allows for the distribution of billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidies that Congress never authorized.
The House has acted to validate retroactively some of the President’s illegal Obamacare modifications. However, rather than embrace these legislative fixes, the President’s response has been to threaten to veto the House-passed measures. The President’s far-reaching claims of executive power, if left unchecked, will vest the President with broad domestic policy authority that the Constitution does not grant him.
Those in the President’s political party have been largely silent in the face of this dangerous expansion of executive power. But what would they say if a President effectively repealed the environmental laws by refusing to sue polluters or the labor laws by refusing to find violators? What if a President wanted tax cuts that Congress would not enact? Could he instruct the IRS to decline to enforce the income tax laws? President George H.W.
Bush proposed, unsuccessfully, a reduction in the capital gains rate. Should he have, instead, simply instructed the IRS not to tax capital gains at a rate greater than 10 percent? The point is not what you think of any of President Obama’s individual policy decisions.
- The point is the President may not-consistent with the command that he faithfully execute the laws-unilaterally amend, waive, or suspend the law.
- We must resist the President’s deliberate pattern of circumventing the legislative branch in favor of administrative decision-making.
- We cannot allow the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution to be abandoned in favor of an undue concentration of power in the executive branch.
As James Madison warned centuries ago in Federalist No.47, “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” It is now my pleasure to recognize the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from Michigan, Mr.
Conyers, for his opening statement. Mr. Conyers. Thank you. And good morning, top of the morning to the witnesses and to my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee. The President’s constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws would be an important issue worthy of a hearing by this Committee if there was any evidence that the President has, indeed, failed to fulfill his duty.
But, unfortunately, it appears that some here view policy disagreements as constitutional crises and proof of possible wrongdoing. The fact is that disagreements or even allegations that a program is not being carried out the way Congress intended should not raise constitutional concerns.
- If some of my friends want to disagree with the Administration, it is, of course, certainly their right.
- But we should keep some perspective here and consider the following issues.
- To begin with, some of the Administration’s actions criticized by the majority are not really that much out of the ordinary.
Allowing flexibility in the implementation of a new program, even where the statute mandates a specific deadline, is neither unusual nor a constitutional violation. It is, rather, the reality of administering sometimes complex programs. This has been especially true in the case of health care legislation.
- The Affordable Care Act is not the first time implementation of a new law has not gone according to schedule.
- President George W.
- Bush, for example, failed to meet some of the deadlines in Medicare Part D even though it was legislation he strongly supported.
- And it is especially interesting that some Members who strenuously opposed the Affordable Care Act and who worked diligently to obstruct its implementation now complain that the President is unconstitutionally impeding the implementation of his signature legislative accomplishment.
How interesting. Taking steps to deal with the realities of implementation of a complex program hardly constitutes a failure to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. It is, rather, part and parcel of doing just that. There have been Administrations in the past that have obstructed the implementation of laws they opposed, but no one is seriously contending that President Obama opposes the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” or that his Administration’s actions constitute intentional obstruction of the law.
- And when in the past there have been legitimate concerns about delays in a law’s implementation, parties have turned to the Administrative Procedure Act.
- That act allows the courts to determine whether a delay is unreasonable and order appropriate relief.
- Notably, no one has alleged that such action is necessary here.
Instead, critics of President Obama and his signature legislation allege a constitutional crisis, but no court has ever found delay in implementation of a complex law to constitute a violation of the Take Care Clause. Now, some of my colleagues seem to think that the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, a traditional power of the executive, is a constitutional violation.
- The decision, for example, to defer deportation of individuals who were brought to the United States as children who have not committed felonies or misdemeanors and do not pose a threat to public safety-so-called “DREAMers”-is a classic exercise of such discretion.
- The Administration cannot legalize these individuals’ status without a basis in law, but the Administration’s decision to defer action against particular individuals is neither unusual nor unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court has consistently held that the exercise of such discretion is a function of the President’s powers under the Take Care Clause. For example, in Heckler v. Chaney, the Court held that an agency’s refusal to institute proceedings shares to some extent the characteristics of a decision of a prosecutor in the executive branch not to indict, a decision which has long been regarded as the special province of the executive branch, inasmuch as it is the executive who is charged by the Constitution to “take Care that Laws be faithfully executed.” Finally, I hope we can distinguish between failing to execute the laws and following the explicit dictates of the law.
Some here contend that the President’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act violated the Take Care Clause. In fact, the President made a judgment, subsequently vindicated by the United States Supreme Court, that the act was unconstitutional, but while the case was pending, he continued to comply with the law.
The President’s decision not to defend the law was not novel. Indeed, Congress itself recognized this possibility. Congress understood that sometimes the Administration’s duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed might include recognizing that a particular statute is unconstitutional.
The Constitution is, as we are told in Article 6 of the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Presidents are required to follow it. So past Administrations have exercised their discretion not to defend a law that they have deemed unconstitutional. For example, the acting Solicitor General at the time, John Roberts, now the Chief Justice of the United States, refused to defend a law that he believed to be unconstitutional in the 1990 case of Metro Broadcasting v.
the FCC. Chief Justice Roberts argued that a statute providing for minority preferences in broadcast licensing was unconstitutional. Despite Supreme Court precedent applying a more permissive standard of review, he argued that strict scrutiny applied. Senate legal counsel appeared as amicus curiae to defend the law and prevailed.
- Clearly, there were reasonable arguments that Chief Justice Roberts could have made in defense of the law.
- Yet, no one suggested that he violated the Constitution by arguing for the Court to strike that law down.
- His view was not vindicated in that case but may ultimately have resulted in a shift in the law, which makes it additionally clear that the Administration’s decision not to defend DOMA was neither unprecedented nor inappropriate.
And so I join with all of the Committee in welcoming our witnesses, look forward to their testimony, and I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Mr. Conyers. Without objection, all other Members’ opening statements will be made a part of the record.
Mr. Goodlatte. We welcome our panel of witnesses today, and if you would all please rise, we will begin by swearing you in. Mr. Goodlatte. Let the record reflect that all of the witnesses responded in the affirmative. Thank you. And I will now begin by introducing our witnesses. Our first witnesses is Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University Law School.
Professor Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has published over 3 dozen academic articles and over 750 articles in newspapers, including The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
- Professor Turley has been recognized as the second most cited law professor in the country.
- Our second witness is Nicholas Rosenkranz, a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.
- Professor Rosenkranz has served and advised the Federal Government in a variety of capacities, including as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and as an attorney advisor to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
He has published numerous scholarly articles, including the “Subjects of the Constitution,” which is the single most downloaded article about constitutional interpretation in the history of the social science research network. Our third witness is Simon Lazarus, a senior counsel with the Constitutional Accountability Center.
- He is a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States and during his career has served as the public policy counsel for the National Senior Citizens Law Center as a partner at Powell Goldstein and as Associate Director of President Carter’s White House domestic policy staff. Mr.
- Lazarus has written articles that have appeared in law journals, as well as publications such as The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The New Republic.
Our final witness is Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute’s Director of Health Policy Studies. He has been recognized as an influential expert on the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Cannon has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News and has written articles that have been featured in numerous newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times.
- He is also the co-editor of a book on replacing the Affordable Care Act and the co-author of a book on health care reform.
- I would like to thank all of the witnesses for their appearance today.
- Each of your written statements will be entered into the record in its entirety.
- I ask that each witness summarize his or her testimony in 5 minutes or less.
To help stay within the time frame, there is a timing light on your table. When the light switches from green to yellow, you will have 1 minute to conclude your testimony. When the light turns red, it signals that the witness’ 5 minutes have expired. And we will turn first to Professor Turley.
Welcome. TESTIMONY OF JONATHAN TURLEY, SHAPIRO PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC INTEREST LAW, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY Mr. Turley. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Conyers, Members of the Judiciary Committee. It is a great honor to be invited to speak with you today about the meaning of the Take Care Clause.
You will have to forgive my voice. I am getting over a cold, but I hope to make it through this without having a coughing fit. This is obviously a difficult area of constitutional interpretation. As the Ranking Member pointed out, this is not the first time that we have dealt with this question.
- It is also difficult for some of us who happen to agree with the President’s policies, which I do.
- In fact, I voted for him previously.
- However, in a Madisonian system, it is often more important how you do something than what you do.
- And the reason this is such an important hearing is that the bedrock of our Constitution remains the separation of powers.
It is often misunderstood as some type of conflict between the branches. It is really a protection of liberty. It allows for issues that divide us to be cycled through a system in which factional interests can be transformed. Even though all branches are equal in the Madisonian system, the Congress is the thumping heart of that system.
- It is where issues that are divisive are transformed into majoritarian decisions.
- It is the very reason that our system has survived so well.
- It brings stability to the system.
- Benjamin Franklin used to say or liked to say that God helps those that help themselves.
- In our system, the Madisonian system, the Constitution helps those branches that help themselves.
It is designed to give each branch the ability of self-protection, of self-defense, and a great deal rides on the use of that power. In my view, some of the questions we are going to talk about today are close questions, things like Internet gambling, drug enforcement.
I think you can have credible arguments on the Administration side, but some of them I believe are not close questions. I believe the President has exceeded his brief. The President is required to faithfully execute the laws. He is not required to enforce all laws equally or commit the same resources to them.
But I believe the President has crossed the constitutional line in some of these areas, which I address in my testimony. What I want to start in my opening statement is to emphasize that this is not a turf fight between politicians. Rather, this goes to the very heart of what is the Madisonian system.
If a President can unilaterally change the meaning of laws in substantial ways or refuse to enforce them, it takes off line that very thing that stabilizes our system. I believe that Members will loathe the day that they allowed that to happen. This will not be our last President. There will be more Presidents who will claim the same authority.
When I teach constitutional law, I often ask my students what is the limiting principle of your argument. When that question is presented to this White House, too often it is answered in the first person, that the President is the limiting principle, or at least the limiting person.
- We cannot rely on that type of assurance in our system.
- So the greatest danger of nonenforcement orders is not what it introduces to a tripartite system but what it takes away.
- What it does is it allows for these issues that divide us to be resolved unilaterally.
- We do not have a dialogue anymore if someone can step in and make the legislative process simply an option as opposed to a binding stage or requirement.
It is here in Congress that factional interests coalesce and convert. This is the transformative branch. It is different from the other branches. And that is what makes this so dangerous. What Madison did is he created a type of Newtonian orbit of branches.
- In fact, he was very interested in Newton’s physics when he wrote much of the early writings.
- There is a belief that these are three branches that exist in orbit.
- They are held together by their gravitational pull.
- It is a delicate balance, but it is one that protects individual liberty.
- Federalist No.51 is one of the most cited sources for Madison’s views.
It is in that writing that he encouraged branches to be on guard for the encroachment of their powers. For decades, this Congress has allowed its core authority to drain away. I have written a lot about the rise of what is called the “fourth branch,” this expanding number of Federal agencies that are acting increasingly independently, even defining their own jurisdiction.
If that trend is to continue and the President’s power is to continue to expand, Congress will be left like a marginal line on the constitutional landscape, a sad relic of what was once a tripartite system of equal branches. There are times like this one of bitter, intractable divisions, but the Members of this body are tied by a covenant of faith, an article of faith.
And it is found in Article 1 that says that all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in the Congress of the United States. It is upon that covenant that we should not divide by parties and we should stand firmly for the separation of powers.
Prepared Statement of Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, George Washington University Law Center Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and members of the Judiciary Committee, my name is Jonathan Turley and I am a law professor at George Washington University where I hold the J.B.
and Maurice C. Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law. It is an honor to appear before you today to discuss the constitutional concerns raised by recent nonenforcement polices and the President’s duty to faithfully execute the law of the United States. The issue before the Committee is clearly a difficult one.
It is often difficult to separate the merits of the underlying policies from the means used to achieve them. It so happens that I agree with many of the goals of the Administration in the various areas where the President has circumvented Congress. However, in the Madisonian system, it is often more important how you do things than what you do.
We have long benefited from a system designed to channel and transform factional interests in the political system. When any branch encroaches upon the authority of another, it not only introduces instability into the system but leaves political issues raw and unresolved.
- However, to paraphrase one of Benjamin Franklin’s favorite sayings, the Constitution helps those branches that help themselves.
- Each branch is given the tools to defend itself and the Framers assumed that they would have the ambition and institutional self-interest to use them.
- That assumption is now being put to the test as many members remain silent in the face of open executive encroachment by the Executive Branch.
While I believe that the White House has clearly “exceeded its brief” in these areas, this question of presidential nonenforcement has arisen periodically in our history. In the current controversy, the White House has suggested an array of arguments, citing the interpretation of statutory text, agency discretion, or other rationales to mask what is clearly a circumvention of Congress.
It also appears to be relying on the expectation that no one will be able to secure standing to challenge such decisions in court. Finally, there is no question that the President as Chief Executive is allowed to set priorities of the administration and to determine the best way to enforce the law. People of good faith can clearly disagree on where the line is drawn over the failure to fully enforce federal laws.
There is ample room given to a president in setting priorities in the enforcement of laws. A president is not required to enforce all laws equally or dedicate the same resources to every federal program. Even with this ample allowance, however, I believe that President Barack Obama has crossed the constitutional line between discretionary enforcement and defiance of federal law.
- Congress is given the defining function of creating and amending federal law.
- This is more than a turf fight between politicians.
- The division of governmental powers is designed to protect liberty by preventing the abusive concentration of power.
- All citizens -Democratic or Republican or Independent-should consider the inherent danger presented by a President who can unilaterally suspend laws as a matter of presidential license.
In recent years, I have testified and written about the shift of power within our tripartite government toward a more Imperial Presidential model. Indeed, I last testified before this Committee on the assertion of President Obama that he could use the recess appointment power to circumvent the Senate during a brief intrasession recess.\1\ While I viewed those appointments to be facially unconstitutional under the language of Article I and II (a view later shared by two federal circuits), I was equally concerned about the overall expansion of unchecked presidential authority and the relative decline of legislative power in the modern American system.
The recent nonenforcement policies add a particularly menacing element to this pattern. They effectively reduce the legislative process to a series of options for presidential selection ranging from negation to full enforcement. The Framers warned us of such a system and we accept it- either by acclaim or acquiescence-at our peril.
– \1\ I testified before Congress last year on the controversy surrounding these recess appointments. See Executive Overreach: The President’s Unprecedented “Recess” Appointments Before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 112th Cong.35-57 (2012) (statement of Jonathan Turley, Professor, The George Washington University Law School),
I also address the controversy at length in two forthcoming law review articles. See Jonathan Turley, Recess Appointments in the Age of Regulation, 93 B.U.L. Rev.1523 (2013); Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Adverse Possession: Recess Appointments and the Role of Historical Practice in Constitutional Interpretation, 2013 Wis.L.
Rev. (forthcoming fall 2013); see also Jonathan Turley, Op-Ed., Recess Appointments: President as Ruler, USA Today, Feb.15, 2012, at 7A. – The current claims of executive power will outlast this president and members must consider the implications of the precedent that they are now creating through inaction and silence.
What if a future president decided that he or she did not like some environmental laws or anti-discrimination laws? Indeed, as discussed below, the nonenforcement policy is rarely analyzed to its natural conclusion, which leads to a fundamental shift in constitutional principles going back to Marbury v.
Madison.\2\ The separation of powers is the very foundation for our system; the original covenant reached by the Founding Generation and passed on to successive generations. It is that system that produces laws that can be truly said to represent the wishes of the majority of Americans.
- It is also the very thing that gives a president the authority to govern in the name of all Americans.
- Despite the fact that I once voted for President Obama, personal admiration is no substitute for the constitutional principles at stake in this controversy.
- When a president claims the inherent power of both legislation and enforcement, he becomes a virtual government unto himself.
He is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he becomes the very danger that the Constitution was designed to avoid. – \2\ 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 177 (1803). – i. the separation of powers within the tripartite system A. Factions and the Legislative Process.
- One of the greatest dangers of nonenforcement orders is not what it introduces to the tripartite system but what it takes away.
- The Framers created three “equal” branches but the legislative branch is the thumping heart of the Madisonian system.
- It is the bicameral system of Congress that serves to convert disparate factional interests into majoritarian compromises.
In this sense, Congress is meant to be a transformative institution where raw, often competing interests are converted by compromise and consensus. One of the most striking aspects of the recent controversies involving presidential nonenforcement is that they involved matters that were either previously before Congress or actually under consideration when President Obama acted unilaterally.
- The role of the legislative process in stabilizing the political system is key to the success of the American system.
- Madison saw the vulnerability of past governmental systems in the failure to address the corrosive effects of factions within a population.
- The factional pressures in a pluralistic nation like the United States would be unparalleled and Madison understood that these factions were the expression of important political, and social, and economic interests.
As Madison explained, “liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an ailment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.” \3\ Congress is where these factional interests coalesce and convert in an open and deliberative process.
- 3\ THE FEDERALIST NO.10, 78 (James Madison) (Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961).
- The point of this background discussion is that the loss caused by the circumvention of the legislative branch is not simply one branch usurping another.
- Rather, it is the loss of the most important function of the tripartite system in channeling factional interests and reaching resolutions on matters of great public importance.
The importance of this central function of Congress is magnified when the country faces questions upon which there is great division. Ironically, these are the same areas where presidents are most likely to issue nonenforcement orders due to opposition to the underlying legislation.
Consider illegal immigration. There are few issues that are more divisive today. The immigration laws are the product of prolonged debates and deliberations over provisions ranging from public services to driver’s licenses to ICE proceedings to deportations. Many of these issues are considered in combination in comprehensive statutes where the final legislation is a multivariable compromise by legislators.
Severity in one area can at times be a trade-off for leniency in another area. Regardless of such trade-offs, the end result is by definition a majoritarian compromise that is either signed into law by a president or enacted through a veto override. The use of executive orders to circumvent federal legislation increases the shift toward the concentration of executive power in our system and the diminishment of the role of the legislative process itself.
- It is precisely what the Framers sought to avoid in establishing the tripartite system.B.
- The Royal Prerogative and the Faithful Execution of Federal Law.
- Juxtaposed against this legislative power is the Chief Executive.
- The Framers created a Chief Executive with a relatively short term of four years and clearly defined powers to fit within this system of shared government.
Despite the recent emergence of an uber-presidency of increasingly unchecked powers, the Framers were clear that they saw such concentration of power to be a danger to liberty. Indeed, the separation of powers is first and foremost a protection of liberty from the dangers inherent in the aggregation or aggrandizement of power.\4\ The Constitutional Convention and subsequent ratification conventions are replete with statements on the need to carefully confine the Chief Executive to enumerated powers and to specifically safeguard the powers of the legislative branch in the control of the purse and the creation of new laws.
- 4\ See generally, Turley, Age of Regulation, supra.
- At issue in today’s hearing is in many ways the first issue that arose in the creation of the office of a president.
- The Framers were intimately familiar with English history and law.
- The suggestion of a president immediately produced objections over the dangers of abuse and unilateral action.
This debate occurred against the backdrop of over 150 years of tension with the English monarchy that can be traced to the confrontation of Sir Edward Coke and James I. That confrontation had some interesting parallels to the current debate. At issue was not the circumvention of the legislative but the judicial branch.
- James claimed the right to remove cases from the court for his own judgment.
- When various people objected, James noted “I thought law was founded upon reason, and I and others have reason as well as the judges.” \5\ Modern presidents in nonenforcement policies claim that same basis in reason-adjusting legal authority to a more equitable or more efficient reality.
However, in the case of James I, Coke objected that “natural reason” does not make for good laws or legal analysis. Rather, law is a form of “artificial reason and judgment” or “an art which required long study and experience before that a man can attain to the cognizance of it.” \6\ Even in the face of a treason charge, Coke maintained that, “the king ought not to be under any man, but he is under God and the law.” \7\ – \5\ 7 Sir Edward Coke, Reports 65, quoted in Roscoe Pound, The Spirit of the Common Law 5 (1921) at 61.
- 6\ Id. \7\ Id.
- The principle articulated by Coke drew the distinction between the King and the law-the latter which is made separate from the King and governs the King.
- It was the rejection of what has been called the “royal prerogative.” \8\ This rejection was first seen in the state constitutions in crafting the powers of Governors and later manifested in the drafting of the new federal Constitution.
For example, Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1783 with regard to the Virginia Constitution that “By Executive powers, we mean no reference to the powers exercised under our former government by the Crown as of its prerogative, We give them these powers only, which are necessary to execute the laws (and administer the government).” \9\ Jefferson’s statement reflects the same Cokean distinction-now a mantra for American framers in defining the new concept of executive power.
- 8\ See Julius Goebel, Jr., Ex Parte Clio, 54 Colum.L.
- Rev.450, 474 (1954); David Gray Adler, The Steel Seizure Case And Inherent Presidential Power, 19 Const.
- Commentary 155, 164 (2002).
- 9\ This quote is from Jefferson’s Draft of a Fundamental Constitution for Virginia.
- Adler, supra, at 164 (citing Charles Warren, The Making of the Constitution 177 (Harvard U.
Press, 1947)). – The earliest references to executive power or the presidency in the Constitutional Convention refer to the execution of federal law- affirming the idea that the executive must enforce the law established by the legislative process. Indeed, it was the introduction of the Virginia Plan that most clearly cast this executive model.\10\ Roger Sherman stated this most clearly in describing “the Executive magistracy as nothing more than an institution for carrying the will of the Legislature into effect.” \11\ Likewise, James Wilson defended the model of an American president by assuring his colleagues that “did not consider the Prerogatives of the British Monarch as a proper guide in defining the Executive powers.
Some of these prerogatives were of a Legislative nature.” \12\ – \10\ Max Farrand, 1 The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 at 62-63 (Yale U. Press, 1911) (Edmund Randolph describing a “national executive, with power to carry into execution the national laws, to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for.”); see also Adler, supra, at 164.
\11\ Farrand, supra, at 65; Adler, supra, at 164-65. \12\ Farrand, 1 Records at 62-70; Adler, supra, at 165. – Reflecting these views, and the view of Framers like Madison that the chief executive must only be given power that is “confined and defined,” \13\ the first draft of the Take Care Clause read “it shall be his duty to provide for the due and faithful execution of the Laws.” \14\ That language then became, with the report of the Committee of Detail, “he shall take care that the laws of the United States be duly and faithfully executed.” The final language of the Committee of Style was refined further into “The executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States of America,
He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” What is most striking about this process is how little the language actually changed- reflecting a general consensus on limiting the office to the execution- as opposed to the creation- of laws. – \13\ Id. at 70. \14\ Id. at 171; Adler, supra, at 165.
– While the line between legislation and enforcement can become blurred, this view is generally reflective of the functions defined in Article I and Article II. The Take Care Clause is one of the most direct articulations of this division. The Clause states “ shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,
- ” U.S. Const. art.
- II, Sec.3, cl.4.
- It is one of the clearest and most important mandates in the Constitution.
- The Framers not only draw the distinction between making and enforcing laws, but, with the enforcement of the law, the Framers stressed that the execution of the laws created by Congress must be faithfully administered.
The language combines a mandate of the execution of laws with the qualifying obligation of their faithful execution. The constitutional obligation contained in the Take Care Clause is amplified by the oath that a president takes as a pre-condition for assuming power as Chief Executive under Section 1 of Article II.
Indeed, the order of these references is interesting. In order to assume office, a president must “solemnly swear (or affirm) that will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” U.S.
CONST. art. II, Sec.1, cl.7. The Take Care Clause appears later in Section 3. This section happens to refer to the legislative function of Congress in stating that “from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Id.
- Notably, the section affirms the right of a President to ask Congress for legislative action that he deems to be necessary.
- The clause then affirms the obligation of the President to faithfully execute those laws created by Congress.
- It is equally significant that the clause following the obligation to faithfully execute the laws is the clause allowing for the impeachment and removal of presidents.
The import of these clauses is that the President can seek legislative changes and even call Congress into session, but it remains the prerogative of Congress to decide what laws will be enacted (subject to presidential signature or veto override). The most obvious meaning of faithful execution is that the President must apply the laws equally and without favoritism.
- Favoritism is clearly shown in the failure to enforce the laws against friends or political cronies.
- However, it can also apply more widely to favored groups or political allies.
- Merriam-Webster defines “faithful” as “having or showing true and constant support or loyalty.” In this controversy, this true and constant support is to the laws themselves.
It is worth noting that this is not loyalty tied to the “law” in general-possibly inviting a more nuanced interpretive response to what specific laws serve or disserve the law in general. The use of the plural form encompasses the laws referenced in Article I as the product of Congress.
It is those laws that the President is bound to execute faithfully under Article II.C. Nonenforcement Orders and the Rise of the Fourth Branch. The current controversy over the nonenforcement of federal law transcends the insular issues of particular statutes or regulations. The American governmental system is being fundamentally transformed into something vastly different from the intentions of the Framers or, for that matter, the assumptions underlying the constitutional structure.
As I recently discussed in print,\15\ we are shifting from a tripartite to a quadripartite system in this age of regulation. The Administrative State that is credited with so many advances in public welfare has also served to shift the center of gravity in our system to a fourth branch of federal agencies.
As a result, our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of the sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency. At the same time, we have seen a rapid growth of executive power, particularly since 9-11, where the President is asserting largely unchecked authority in many areas.
– \15\ Jonathan Turley, Op-Ed., The Rise of the Fourth Branch of Government, Wash. Post (May 24, 2013), at C1; see also Turley, supra, Age of Regulation, at 1542-61. – When the Framers created the tripartite system, our federal government was quite small.
In 1790, it had just 1,000 nonmilitary workers. In 1962, there were 2,515,000 federal employees. Today, we have 2,840,000 federal workers in 15 departments, 69 agencies and 383 nonmilitary sub-agencies.\16\ Indeed, these numbers can be themselves misleading since much federal work is now done by contractors as part of “downsizing”, but the work of the agencies has continued to expand.
Moreover, technological advances have increased the reach of this workforce. With the expansion of the government has come a shift in the source of governing rules for society. Today, the vast majority of “laws” governing the United States are not passed by Congress but are issued as regulations, crafted largely by thousands of unnamed, unreachable bureaucrats.
To give one comparative measure, one study found that in 2007, Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules, including 61 major regulations.\17\ Adding to this dominance are judicial rulings giving agencies heavy deference in their interpretations of laws under cases like Chevron.
In the last term, this Supreme Court added to this insulation and authority with a ruling that agencies can determine their own jurisdictions – a power that was previously believed to rest with Congress. In his dissent in Arlington v. FCC, Chief Justice John Roberts warned: “It would be a bit much to describe the result as `the very definition of tyranny,’ but the danger posed by the growing power of the administrative state cannot be dismissed.” – \16\ Turley, supra, Age of Regulation, at 1533; Walter E.
Volkomer, American Government 231 (11th ed.2006) (citing Bruce D. Porter, Parkinson’s Law Revisited: War and the Growth of American Government, 60 Pub. Int.50, 50 (1980)). In 1816, the federal system employed 4837 employees. Deanna Malatesta, Evolution of the Federal Bureaucracy, in 1 A History of the U.S.
Political System: Ideas, Interests, and Institutions 373, 380 tbl.1 (Richard A. Harris & Daniel J. Tichenor eds., 2010). \17\ Anne Joseph O’Connell, Vacant Offices: Delays in Staffing Top Agency Positions, 82 S. Cal.L. Rev.913, 936 (2009). – With agencies increasingly performing traditionally legislative and judicial functions,\18\ the nonenforcement of federal law exacerbates the shift away from the original calibration of the tripartite system.
Federal agencies are becoming practically independent in their operations in assuming new forms of regulatory law and adjudications. The refusal to execute those laws enacted by Congress would serve to marginalize the legislative branch further and make the federal government even less dependent on or responsive to that branch.
– \18\ As the number of federal regulations has increased, Congress has shifted the adjudication of many disputes between citizens and their government to administrative courts tied to individual agencies. The result is that a citizen is 10 times more likely to be tried by an agency than by an actual court.
In a given year, federal judges conduct roughly 95,000 adjudicatory proceedings, including trials, while federal agencies complete more than 939,000. Turley, supra, Age of Regulation, at 1533; Anne Joseph O’Connell, Vacant Offices: Delays in Staffing Top Agency Positions, 82 S. Cal.L. Rev.913, 936 (2009).
– ii. nondefense orders, presidential prioritization policies, and signing statements It is important to distinguish between the various ways that presidents can oppose laws, which can blur the line between nonenforcement and inadequate enforcement. While a president does not have authority to negate or amend laws, there is overlap between the branches in different functions.
Clearly, for example, the President is allowed to set goals in the execution of laws that place certain public programs above others in priority. No area of the law has one-hundred percent enforcement. There are discretionary actions that can include staffing and resource allocations with impacts on the level of enforcement in a given area.
Before delving further into the constitutionality of nonenforcement, three types of executive decisions are important to distinguish.A. Nondefense Orders. The nondefense orders arise when presidents decide that their administrations will not defend a challenged law in court.
- These decisions are relatively rare and highly controversial.
- Even defenders acknowledge that such a decision should only be considered in circumstances where a president feels that enforcement of a law would conflict with his duty to uphold the Constitution.
- Indeed, one study showed that between 1974 and 1996, presidents objected to the constitutionality of roughly 250 laws but did not refuse to defend them.\19\ Despite these reservations, Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W.
Bush, and Clinton did not refuse to defend such laws.\20\ – \19\ Christopher N. May, Presidential Defiance of “Unconstitutional” Laws xiv (1998). \20\ In many cases, presidents used signing statements to interpret the laws compatible with their view of constitutional limits.
- While the duty to defend would seem to be naturally subsumed under the duty to enforce, the Obama Administration draws a distinction between the two duties.
- Thus, it stated an intent to enforce the law while refusing to defend it.
- It was a curious distinction for many since continued enforcement would require that the law be defended in challenges.\21\ The Justice Department previously adopted a narrow exception to the rule that the “courts, and not the Executive, finally to decide whether a law is constitutional” and that the nondefense of a law would impermissibly create a barrier to judicial review.\22\ Unless the law impedes executive power, the Justice Department stated that it would defend laws so long as are not “clearly unconstitutional.” That would seem to demand more than simple disagreement with lower courts or adherence to a new or unestablished interpretation of the Constitution.
– \21\ Indeed, some have argued that the Administration got it wrong and that there is no duty to enforce or to defend. See Neal Devins and Saikrishna Prakash, The Indefensible Duty To Defend, 112 Colum.L. Rev.507, 508-509 (2012) (“Given President Obama’s belief that the DOMA is unconstitutional, he should neither enforce nor defend it.”).
22\ Recommendation that Dep’t of Justice Not Defend Constitutionality of Certain Provisions of Bankr. Amendments and Fed. Judgeship Act of 1984, 8 Op.O.L.C.183, 194 (1984). – In light of the foregoing, the Administration’s decision that it would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a classic example of a nondefense policy.
The timing of the decision, however, was curious given the Administration’s defense of the law for years and the President’s own public ambivalence over same-sex marriage. Thus, this was not a statute that was treated as facially invalid by this president, and it was supported (and signed into law) by another Democrat, Bill Clinton.
Nevertheless, while belated, the Obama Administration announced that it could no longer in good faith support a law that it deemed unconstitutional. It notably took this position after previously enforcing the law, leading many to question a decision to abandon the law “mid-stream” without any clear advocate with standing to argue the law’s merits.\23\ – \23\ Indeed, advocates of this presidential power insist that courts cannot be deemed as supreme in the interpretation of laws since “ederal courts only have jurisdiction over cases or controversies, meaning that they cannot issue Article III judgments or opinions when they are not deciding cases or controversies.
Yet there will be many situations, many questions, where federal courts cannot opine because there will be no case or controversy.” Devins & Prakash, supra, 112 Colum.L. Rev. at 530. Indeed, it is true that the executive branch must engage in interpretations as part of its enforcement of laws and, particularly with the narrowing of standing in federal cases, many of these decisions go unchallenged.
However, for those of us concerned about the rise of the Fourth Branch, this only increases the concentration of power in the Executive Branch and further undermines the balance in the tripartite system. – The decision of the Administration was equally notable in basing its nondefense decision on a position that had never been embraced by the Supreme Court.
The Administration stated that “the President and have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law then, from that perspective, there is no reasonable defense of DOMA.” \24\ While the Administration acknowledged that a lower standard of review had been applied in prior cases, it insisted that “neither of those decisions reached, let alone resolved, the level of scrutiny issue because in both the Court concluded that the laws could not even survive the more deferential rational basis standard.” \25\ – \24\ http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/February/11-ag-223.html.
\25\ Id. – While I take the same view as to gay rights, it is not a view that had ever secured a majority of the Supreme Court or even most lower courts. Thus, the Administration was refusing to defend a law based on an interpretation that had thus far remained unsupported by direct precedent. Indeed, the ultimate decision in Windsor was a close one with a 5-4 opinion, and the basis for the decision was more nuanced than the one indicated by the Administration.
In adopting a nondefense position, the Obama Administration was establishing precedent that Presidents could refuse to defend laws based on unaccepted legal interpretations. This would lead to the question of whether a president could maintain a nondefense postures even with a legal position rejected by lower courts but never rejected by the Supreme Court.
My strongest objection was the failure of the Administration to avoid the untenable position of leaving a federal law without an advocate. That produced a standing dilemma that should never have been allowed to arise. The fact is that there are strong arguments on both sides of this litigation. While I have long been a supporter of same- sex marriage, I felt that the standing barriers created in the recent Hollingsworth \26\ and Windsor \27\ cases were grossly unfair to the critics of same-sex marriage and equally inimical to the legal system.\28\ It is particularly troubling when this law was signed by a prior president who clearly viewed it (as did Congress) to be a constitutional act.
The Court clearly saw the Administration’s actions as undermining both the Judicial and Legislative branches: – \26\ Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S. Ct.2652 (2013). \27\ United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct.2675 (2013). \28\ I have repeatedly argued to Congress that the narrow rules concerning standing are increasingly preventing worthy constitutional challenges from being heard.
- I have the honor of representing both Democratic and Republican members of Congress who challenged President Obama’s unilateral decision to attack Libya’s capitol and armed forces.
- Jonathan Turley, Members of Congress Challenge Libyan War in Federal Court, Jonathan Turley (June 15, 2011), http://jonathanturley.org/2011/ 06/15/members-of-congress-challenge-libyan-war-in-federal-court/.
“if the Executive’s agreement with a plaintiff that a law is unconstitutional is enough to preclude judicial review, then the Supreme Court’s primary role in determining the constitutionality of a law that has inflicted real injury on a plaintiff who has brought a justiciable legal claim would become only secondary to the President’s.
This would undermine the clear dictate of the separation-of-powers principle that “when an Act of Congress is alleged to conflict with the Constitution, `t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”’, Similarly, with respect to the legislative power, when Congress has passed a statute and a President has signed it, it poses grave challenges to the separation of powers for the Executive at a particular moment to be able to nullify Congress’ enactment solely on its own initiative and without any determination from the Court.” \29\ – \29\ Windsor, 133 S.
Ct. at 2688. While the Supreme Court resolved the standing problems in Windsor on prudential grounds, the untenable position created by the Administration should have been avoided by the selection of outside counsel to assume the burden of defending the law.
While obviously this would have been an action taken in furtherance of the statute by the Administration, it would have allowed the Administration to convey its opposition to the statute while, in the interests of both Congress and the rule of law, ensuring that both sides were adequately represented.
Putting aside the timing and status of the DOMA defense, there remains a principled reason why a President, as well as an Attorney General, may feel that the defense of a statute is fundamentally at odds with his duty toward the Constitution. For example, if Congress passed a new Sedition Act or a law establishing an official religion, a president could claim a good-faith basis for viewing the law as conflicting with his constitutional duties.
While (as noted above) the law should be defended in the interests of all sides being presented for judicial review, a president can decline to directly defend the law. In such cases, the president is caught on the horns of a constitutional dilemma, and the appointment of outside counsel is appropriate to allow the presentation of arguments in favor of the law.
After all, the Executive Branch has consistently opposed efforts of Congress to defend laws in court as a usurpation of Executive authority. It should not fight to both bar Congress from such arguments while declining to perform that role to the detriment of these laws.B.
- Prioritization Policies.
- Every President has faced accusations of slow-walking or under- enforcing laws that he has opposed.
- Ronald Reagan was accused of undermining a host of environmental laws through the appointment of officials like James Watt and Anne Gorsuch.
- Likewise, Syracuse University recently found a sharp reduction of prosecutions for financial institution fraud from over 3,000 in 1991 to just 1,365 in 2011.\30\ That reduction in the Obama Administration is not deemed a constitutional violation since such cases are heavily imbued with prosecutorial discretion.
Indeed, members of Congress often suggest that presidents should not “waste time” on enforcing some laws.\31\ – \30\ See Criminal Prosecutions for Financial Institution Fraud Continue to Fall, TRAC Reports, Syracuse University, available at http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/267/.
31\ See, e.g., Andrew Cohen, Sen. Leahy: Fed Shouldn’t ‘Waste Time’ on State Marijuana Laws, Atlantic, Sept.3, 2013. – Immigration is again an excellent example of such controversies. Modern presidents have long made deportation a lower priority for enforcement than prosecuting violent illegal immigrants and other provisions.
The numbers of such deportations have varied dramatically with George W. Bush deporting a total of 2,012,539 or 251,567 per year, while Bill Clinton deported with an average annual rate of 108,705.\32\ During the same period of time, Obama (with 395,774 per year) has actually deported more individuals per year than his predecessor.\33\ The level of deportations, however, remains a discretionary decision of an Administration and courts tend to leave disagreements on the level of enforcement as a political question for the legislative and executive branches to resolve.
As discussed below, this is in contrast to orders effectively suspending portions of federal immigration law as part of a policy change of the Administration. – \32\ 2011 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, published by the Office of Immigration Statistics under the Department of Homeland Security (table 39).
\33\ Id. – C. Signing Statements. There has already been much discussion of signing statements, particularly during the Administration of George W. Bush.\34\ The majority of signing statements are uncontroversial in that they amplify policies or celebrate accomplishments or reaffirm objectives connected to the legislation.
- However, some signing statements have been used to inform agencies of an interpretation that seems at odds with the language and intent of Congress-often after an Administration has failed to get its way with the legislative branch.
- Signing statements may merge with nonenforcement orders when a president claims a provision is unconstitutional and unenforceable.
– \34\ See generally Presidential Signing Statements Under the Bush Administration: A Threat to Checks and Balances and the Rule of Law?: Hearing Before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 110th Cong.7, 9 (2007). – James Monroe is generally credited with the first signing statement.\35\ Like many controversial practices, it started in a rather routine and harmless fashion with Monroe stressing how the law was to be administered.\36\ Given his confrontational and at times imperial approach to the presidency, it is not surprising that the first defiant signing statement came with Andrew Jackson who did not want a road built from Detroit to Chicago.
Jackson instructed his Administration to build the road but to stop before Chicago. Such statements were condemned at the time on the grounds that they violated the separation of powers and usurped the authority of the legislative branch. One of the most interesting early confrontations occurred between President John Tyler and Speaker of the House, John Quincy Adams.
When Tyler wrote a signing statement rejecting certain provisions of a political apportionment bill, Adams rejected the signing statement as an “extraneous document” that constituted a “defacement of the public records and archives.” \37\ Indeed, Adams was right.
- Such statements are extraneous and do not constitute “law.” They, however, have such an effect when a president uses them to order the disregard or effective line veto of a duly enacted law.
- 35\ T.J.
- Halstead, Cong.
- Research Serv.
- Report for Cong., Presidential Signing Statements: Constitutional and Institutional Implications 2 (2007), http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33667.pdf.
\36\ Christopher N. May, Presidential Defiance of “Unconstitutional” Laws 73 (1998). \37\ Am. Bar Ass’n, Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements and the Separation of Powers Doctrine 7 (2006). – The most significant transformation of these statements came with Ronald Reagan.
Then Attorney General Ed Meese sought to make such statements integral rather than extraneous by ensuring the West Publishing Company would print such statements with these laws as if they were a binding amendment or interpretation of the laws. The Supreme Court was viewed as undermining the authority of Congress further in INS v.
Chadha and later cases by referring to signing statements and casually noting that the president will use such statements to decline to enforce certain objectionable provisions in laws.\38\ Soon, presidents were adding hundreds of such statements to “Executive legislative history” accounts as if they were an addendum to legislation.
- 38\ In striking down the legislative veto in Chadha, the Court noted that “11 Presidents, from Mr.
- Wilson through Mr.
- Reagan, who have been presented with this issue have gone on record at some point to challenge congressional vetoes as unconstitutional.” 462 U.S.919, 942 fn.13 (1983).
- To the extent that signing statements order the nonenforcement of legislation, it raises serious constitutional questions.
Some signing statements have led to later reversals as in Reagan’s dispute over the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 or congressional reversals as in the HIV-positive personnel provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 in the Clinton Administration.
To the extent that these disputes are not resolved through inter-branch compromise, they should be resolved through judicial review (though, again, the dysfunctionally narrow standing rules can inhibit such review). Where the signing statements establish nonenforcement orders, we are left with a fundamental challenge to legislative authority.
These confrontations can be made worse by the perfect constitutional storm of a signing statement that imposes a nonenforcement order, which in turn results in a nondefense order in litigation. George Bush most dramatically diverted from his predecessors by issuing signing statements that “interpreted” statutes in ways that effectively amended or negated provisions.
- Ironically, one of the greatest critics of such statements was Barack Obama, who pledged to end the practice as unconstitutional.
- Yet, Obama would be criticized for not only continuing such statements but actually barring enforcement by agencies.D.
- Nonenforcement Orders.
- The three branches are set in a tripartite system designed to hold each in a type of Newtonian orbit.
Under this system, no branch ideally has enough power to govern alone-they are forced into cooperative agreements and coexistence. Nonenforcement orders challenge this arrangement by imposing a type of presidential veto extrinsic to the legislative process.
- The legitimacy of such orders has long been challenged as an extraconstitutional measure.
- Yet, since Thomas Jefferson, Presidents have asserted the discretion not to enforce laws that they deemed unconstitutional.
- Jefferson took a stand against the Sedition Act that was used for many blatant abuses against political enemies in the early Republic.
Jefferson cited his oath to protect the Constitution compelling him to act to “arrest execution” of the law at “every stage.” \39\ Jefferson’s stand represented the strongest basis for nonenforcement in a law that was used against political opponents and free speech.
- However, many presidents object to the constitutionality of a law, often in defense of expansive views of executive power.
- Those presidential arguments have resulted in rejection before the Supreme Court-reaffirming objections that presidents are negating legislative authority in violation of the separation of powers.
– \39\ Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams (July 22, 1804), in 1 THE ADAMS-JEFFERSON LETTERS 274, 275-76 (Lester J. Cappon ed., 1959); see also Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash, The Executive’s Duty To Disregard Unconstitutional Laws, 96 Geo.L.J.1613 (2008).
- Other presidents would follow suit, particularly in resisting claimed intrusions on executive authority.
- President Wilson refused to comply with a law barring his removal of postmasters without Senate approval.
- While three justices (including Brandeis and Holmes) dissented, the Administration prevailed in Myers v.
United States.\40\ However, presidents have also been wrong in such judgments. This was the case with Gerald Ford, who refused to enforce the 1974 amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which placed legal limits on the campaign contributions.
- Ford vetoed the law on first amendment grounds, but Congress overrode the veto.
- Ford then refused to enforce those provisions \41\ and then Robert Bork argued against the FECA provisions before the Court.
- However, the Court rejected Ford’s arguments on that part of the law.\42\ – \40\ 272 U.S.52 (1926).
\41\ Gerald Ford, Statement on the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974 (Oct.15, 1974), http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/ ?pid=4464#axzz2gIvcVm5z. \42\ Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S.1 (1976). – Likewise, Ronald Reagan refused to execute the Independent Counsel law on the grounds of separation of powers-an ironic position given his own refusal to respect a duly enacted law of Congress.
The Supreme Court ruled 7-1 that Reagan was wrong in Morrison v. Olson.\43\ In the same fashion, George H.W. Bush opposed affirmative action policies of the FCC only to be rejected in Metro Broadcasting v. FCC.\44\ While this was in turn overruled in Adarand Constructors, Inc.v. Pena,\45\ it was clearly a close constitutional question.
For presidents to block enforcement of a law creates uncertainty as to the legitimacy and finality of enactments. – \43\ 487 U.S.654 (1988). \44\ 497 U.S.547 (1990). \45\ 515 U.S.200 (1995). – I cannot agree with Abner Mikva who claimed as White House Counsel for Clinton that it is “uncontroversial” that “the President may appropriately decline to enforce a statute that he views as unconstitutional.” \46\ Mikva cites virtually nothing in terms of the text or intent of the Framers.
Rather, he cites first and foremost the silence of the Court in cases like Myers where “the Court sustained the President’s view that the statute at issue was unconstitutional without any member of the Court suggesting that the President had acted improperly in refusing to abide by the statute.” \47\ This “implicit vindication” is cited by Mikva as proof of the authority to block the enforcement of federal statutes.\48\ – \46\ Memorandum for the Honorable Abner J.
Mikva, Counsel to the President, Nov.2, 1994 (found at http://www.justice.gov/olc/ nonexcut.htm). \47\ Id. \48\ Not surprisingly, there has been a series of opinions out of the Executive Branch supporting a president’s right to refuse to execute laws. For example, Attorney General Civiletti insisted that “Myers holds that the President’s constitutional duty does not require him to execute unconstitutional statutes; nor does it require him to execute them provisionally, against the day that they are declared unconstitutional by the courts.” The Attorney General’s Duty to Defend and Enforce Constitutionally Objectionable Legislation, 4A Op.O.L.C.55, 59 (1980).
- There has of course been obvious controversy over the right of a president to refuse to execute federal laws in light of express language requiring his faithful enforcement of such laws.
- Moreover, the allowance for nonenforcement orders undermines the express process of legislation detailed in Article I and Article II.
Thus, a president like Clinton can sign the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, forego a constitutional veto, and then declare a constructive post-enactment veto in a signing statement. While I happened to agree with Clinton on his opposition of the mandatory discharge of HIV-positive service members, a conscious decision was made to sign the legislation under the expectation that he could achieve the same effect of a veto through a nonenforcement order.
Of course, it did not have the same effect constitutionally. An actual veto would have resulted in additional congressional debate and a separate vote to override the veto. The nonenforcement order made the legislative process meaningless by negating the provisions in a post- enactment order. iii. nonenforcement policies under the obama administration From Internet gambling to educational waivers to immigration deportations to health care decisions, the Obama Administration has been unilaterally ordering major changes in federal law with the notable exclusion of Congress.
Many of these changes have been defended as discretionary acts or mere interpretations of existing law. However, they fit an undeniable pattern of circumventing Congress in the creation of new major standards, exceptions, or outright nullifications. What is most striking about these areas is that they are precisely the type of controversial questions designed for the open and deliberative legislative process.
- The unilateral imposition of new rules robs the system of its stabilizing characteristics in dealing with factional divisions.
- While Attorney General Eric Holder has recognized that the judicial branch is “the final arbiter of,
- Constitutional claims,” \49\ he appears less committed to the concept of the legislative branch’s inherent authority.
The classic circumvention of the Faithful Executive Clause is to say that it necessarily is limited to only constitutional laws. However, this argument only begs the question of who determines the unconstitutionality of a law. If it is left to a President, any such law could be claimed as presumptively unconstitutional.
Indeed, if a President views a law as unconstitutional, it is not clear why the President could not still refuse to enforce it. This inherent power is often reinforced by reference to the President’s oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution-making the enforcement of a law deemed unconstitutional a violation of his oath-the Jeffersonian position on the Sedition Act.
– \49\ Letter from Eric H. Holder, Jr., Att’y Gen. of the United States, to Hon. John H. Boehner, Speaker of the House (Feb.23, 2011) at 5. – Some academics posit that each branch has an interpretive function and that the President need not yield to the rivaling interpretation of Congress or even courts.
- As was recently argued in one law review, “the Constitution nowhere anoints any entity or branch as the final arbiter of the meaning of the laws or the Constitution.” \50\ This view, however, challenges the stability achieved after Marbury v.
- Madison \51\ since it necessarily leads to a position that “he Constitution never marks the Supreme Court supreme in its exposition of the Constitution over Presidents, Congress, the states, or the people.” \52\ This is a long-standing debate that is not without support given the absence of a clear statement in Article III making the Supreme Court the final arbiter in such disputes.\53\ However, regardless of the debate over Chief Justice Marshall’s basis for his holding, Marbur established a key stabilizing element by bringing finality to interpretive debates, particularly over controversies over the separation of powers.
While the Administration avoids acknowledging the implications of its policy, it does inevitably challenge this foundational principle of judicial authority. The result is a view that not only allows the circumvention of the legislative powers but the negation of judicial review.
- That leaves such disputes to a matter of political strength and reduces the tripartite system to something akin to a continual game of chicken between branches.
- 50\ Devins & Prakash, supra, 112 Colum.L. Rev. at 526.
- 51\ Marbury v.
- Madison, 5 U.S.
- 1 Cranch) 137, 177 (1803). \52\ Id. at 529. \53\ Id.
- “In sum, to imagine that the Constitution marks the Supreme Court as supreme in its exposition of the Constitution and laws of the United States, one has to believe two implausible propositions.
One has to presume that a Constitution that never grants the Supreme Court a general power to decide all legal questions nonetheless cedes the Court a power to definitively answer such questions in some instances. And one has to discover, buried deep within the Constitution’s interstices, an interbranch supremacy on constitutional and legal interpretation even though the Constitution contains nary a word hinting at such dominance.”) – While political divisions would normally be a reason to leave a matter to the legislative process to resolve, it is increasingly being cited as a rationale for circumventing Congress.
Thus, citing gridlock and the failure to correct the law, President Obama has granted widespread waivers to states under the No Child Left Behind Act, effectively nullifying the law in the view of critics.\54\ This has been denounced as a circumvention of Congress with the creation of new criteria or conditions by the Administration for schools to receive the waivers.
This new system is entirely the product of an intrabranch process in circumvention of Congress. Likewise, the Administration effectively flipped the interpretation of the Wire Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec.1084, from years of prohibiting Internet gambling to a limited bar just on sports betting.\55\ The interpretation effectively flipped the long-standing meaning of the federal law-an interpretation favored by many states and lobbyists in the industry.
After years of maintaining a consistent interpretation, the 180 degree change transformed the Act into a vastly different law that potentially allowed billions of dollars’ worth of gambling operations on the Internet. While defendable as an interpretative function, it was a radical change made without congressional hearings or debate.
– \54\ Motoko Rich, “No Child” Law Whittled Down By The White House, New York Times, July 6, 2012. \55\ Nathan Vardi, Department of Justice Flip-Flops On Internet Gambling, Forbes, Dec.12, 2011. – A different rationale was used for delaying enforcement of the employer mandate set by Congress in the Affordable Care Act.
- Once again, this remains one of the most important and divisive questions facing the political system.
- Yet, the Administration cited deference to agencies in implementing regulations and establishing standards for tax and other provisions.
- Despite having four years to implement the law and the statutorily-set deadline, the Administration insisted that Congress cannot hold agencies to such schedules.
The law itself unambiguously sets January 1, 2014 as the critical date \56\-a matter of considerable debate within Congress during deliberations. There is no express power given to change that date. Yet, Mark J. Mazur, the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S.
Department of the Treasury, insisted that such mandatory dates can be ignored by the Administration, which will unilaterally decide such questions.\57\ It is another example of the new independence of the “Fourth Branch” and how specific mandates can now be disregarded in the haze of agency deference.
The Congress could not have been more clear as to the activation date for the law, but the position of the Administration would make such provisions merely advisory and subject to the agreement of the President. – \56\ This date applies to the Employer Mandate (26 U.S.C.
- Sec.4980H) and the Individual Mandate (id.
- Sec.5000A). Pub.L.
- No.111-148, 124 Stat.119.
- 57\ Mark J.
- Mazur, Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner, U.S.
- Department of the Treasury, July 2, 2013 (available at http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Continuing-to- Implement-the-ACA-in-a-Careful-Thoughtful-Manner-.aspx).
– The Administration’s basis for negating statutory provisions lost even the pretense of reasoned authority in the immigration area.\58\ There has long been a general consensus that a president cannot refuse to enforce a law that is considered constitutionally sound.
- Thus, in his general support for nonenforcement orders, former Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti acknowledged that “he President has no `dispensing power,”’ meaning that the President and his subordinates “may not lawfully defy an Act of Congress if the Act is constitutional,
- In those rare instances in which the Executive may lawfully act in contravention of a statute, it is the Constitution that dispenses with the operation of the statute.
The Executive cannot.” \59\ Yet, in June 2012, President Obama appeared to exercise precisely this type of “dispensing power” in issuing an order to federal agencies that the Administration would no longer deport individuals who came to this country illegally as children despite the fact that federal law mandates such deportation.
- In disregarding the statutory language, the Administration rolled out a new alternative policy that individuals can qualify for “deferred action” if they had come to the country before the age of 16, have no criminal history, resided in the U.S.
- For at least five consecutive years, and are either a student or have already graduated from high school, or earned an equivalent GED, or served in the military.
Yet, this new, detailed system is the product not of Congress but the internal deliberations of a federal agency. While claimed to simply be an act of prosecutorial discretion,\60\ it constitutes a new and alternative immigration process for these individuals.
- 58\ There was also an immigration component of the controversy over DOMA.
- Peter Baker, For Obama, Tricky Balancing Act in Enforcing Defense of Marriage Act, New York Times (Mar.28, 2013).
- Before the ruling of the Supreme Court striking down DOMA, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would no longer enforce DOMA in its immigration decision.
In August 2011, Obama’s DHS announced it would no longer deport the noncitizen spouses of gay Americans in conflict with DOMA. \59\ The Attorney General’s Duty to Defend and Enforce Constitutionally Objectionable Legislation, 4A Op.O.L.C.55 (1980) (opinion of Attorney General Civiletti.
- 60\ Memorandum of Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, June 15, 2012, (available at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/ assets/s1-exercising-prosecutorial-discretion-individuals-who-came-to- us-as-children.pdf).
- The Administration again circumvented Congress in August of this year with the announcement that deportation would no longer occur for any primary provider for any minor child or the parent or guardian of a child who is a U.S.
citizen or legal permanent resident. Once again, it is not clear what Congress could do to counter such claims of discretion any more than it could set the date for the implementation of the ACA. The federal law mandates deportation for individuals in the country illegally.
While prosecutorial discretion has been cited in individual case decisions, the Administration was using it to nullify the application of federal law to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of individuals. Once again, one’s personal view of the merits of such an exception should not be the focus, or even a part, of the analysis.
In ordering this blanket exception, President Obama was nullifying part of a law that he simply disagreed with. There is no claim of unconstitutionality. It is a raw example of the use of a “dispensing power” over federal law. It is difficult to discern any definition of the faithful execution of the laws that would include the blanket suspension or nullification of key provisions.
- What the immigration order reflects is a policy disagreement with Congress.
- However, the time and place for such disagreements is found in the legislative process before enactment.
- If a president can claim sweeping discretion to suspend key federal laws, the entire legislative process becomes little more than a pretense.
What is most striking is the willingness of some to accept this transparent effort to rewrite the immigration law after the failure to pass the DREAM Act containing some of the same reforms. A few weeks ago, President Obama again invoked his inherent power in declaring that individuals with pre-existing policies could retain those policies for a year despite the fact that they do not conform with the requirements of the ACA.\61\ The ACA expressly sets the date for compliance that penalizes non-exempt individuals who do not maintain “minimum essential” health insurance coverage.\62\ Those non-compliant individuals are subject to a “hared responsibility payment.” \63\ By saying that states can allow individuals to remain non-compliant after the statutory deadline, President Obama inserted a constructive exemption that would have been the subject of intense political debate at the time of the deliberations.
- 61\ Juliet Eilperin, Amy Goldstein and Lena H.
- Sun, Obama Announces Change To Address Health Insurance Cancellations, Wash.
- Post, Nov.14, 2013.
- 62\ 26 U.S.C.
- 63\ 26 U.S.C.
- Notably, the unilateral change occurred when legislation addressing this issue was being debated in Congress.
Moreover, this change was made after an outcry over what many viewed as the central selling point of the President’s during the debate over the ACA: suggesting that, if people liked their current policies, they would be allowed to keep them. After securing passage of the ACA, however, on a thin vote margin, many accused the President of a bait-and-switch when millions lost their policies.
I will leave others to work through the merits of that controversy. For my purposes, I am only interested in the fact that a key issue discussed during the debate over the legislation was unilaterally altered after passage. This is an obviously important part of the debate. The law does not expressly give the President the authority to waive the application of the provisions for selected groups.
To the extent that the President was claiming that he had the authority to amend the law in this way, I fail again to see the legal basis for such authority. Notably, the unilateral changes made to laws like the ACA are not done (as with Jefferson’s refusal to enforce the Sedition Act) in defiance of an act viewed as unconstitutional and abusive.
- Rather, President Obama has invoked a far broader authority to tailor laws based on his judgment and discretion.
- This may be done ostensibly to “improve” the law as with the one-year waiver for individual policies or to mitigate the hardship of a law as with the immigration law.
- These happen to be areas of great political division in the country as well as substantial opposition to the President’s policies in Congress.
Many applauded the President’s transcending politics by ordering such unilateral action without considering the implications of such inherent authority for the system as a whole. Once again, it is important to divorce the subject of such legislation or the identity of the president from the constitutional analysis.
The circumvention of the legislative process not only undermines the authority of this branch but destabilizes the tripartite system as a whole. If President Obama can achieve the same result of legislation by executive fiat, future presidents could do the same in negating environmental or discrimination or consumer protection laws.
Such practices further invest the Administrative State with a degree of insularity and independence that poses an obvious danger to liberty interests protected by divided government. This danger is made all the more menacing by the clear assumption by the Executive Branch that artificially narrow standing rules will insulate the orders from judicial scrutiny and relief.
- With Congress so marginalized and courts so passive, the Fourth Branch threatens to become a government unto itself for all practical purposes. iv.
- Conclusion In Federalist No.51, James Madison explained the essence of the separation of powers-and the expected defense of each branch of its constitutional prerogatives and privileges: “But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others.
The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” A provision was once made for the defense of this branch against the type of “encroachments” discussed in this hearing.
It was found in the power of Congress to establish federal law and the obligation of the Executive Branch to faithfully execute those laws. For decades, however, Congress has allowed its core authority to drain into a fourth branch of federal agencies with increasing insularity and independence. It has left Congress intact but inconsequential in some disputes.
If this trend continues unabated, Congress will be left like some Maginot Line on the constitutional landscape-a sad relic of a once tripartite system of equal branches. There remain legitimate questions over when a President can refuse to defend or enforce a statute and whether the former duty is a subset of the latter duty.
As an academic deeply concerned over the concentration of power under the modern presidency, I tend to minimize such authority in favor of a more formalist division of powers.\64\ Functionalists take a clearly more fluid approach to such powers. However, I do not view the recent controversies as “close questions.” The actions of the Obama Administration challenge core principles of the separation of powers and lack meaningful limiting principles for future executive orders.
– \64\ See generally Turley, Age of Regulation, supra. – Clearly, these are times of bitter and intractable divisions between the parties. It is not the first time such divisions have emerged in Congress. However, Madison and others believed that petty partisanship would ultimately yield to common institutional interests when faced with the “danger of attack.” After all, members have a common article of faith.
- It is Article I of the Constitution and the words “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” _ Mr.
- Goodlatte. Mr.
- Rosenkranz, welcome.
- TESTIMONY OF NICHOLAS QUINN ROSENKRANZ, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER AND SENIOR FELLOW IN CONSTITUTIONAL STUDIES, CATO INSTITUTE Mr.
Rosenkranz. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Representative Conyers, Members of the Committee. I thank you for the opportunity to express my views about the President’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. So to speak about the Take Care Clause, I want to associate myself with Professor Turley’s opening statements.
I quite agree with all of his remarks. I would like to just draw the Committee’s attention to the text of the clause. It is always best to begin by parsing the actual words. So, first, notice that this clause is not a grant of power actually but the imposition of a duty. “The President shall take Care.” This is not optional.
It is mandatory. Second, note that the duty is personal. The execution of the laws may be delegated to other officers, but the duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed-that is personal. That is the President’s duty alone. Third, notice that the President is not required to take care that the laws be completely executed.
That would be impossible given finite resources. The President does have power to make enforcement choices. However, he must make them faithfully. Finally, it is important to remember the historical context of the clause. English kings had claimed the power to suspend laws unilaterally, but the Framers expressly rejected that practice.
Here, the executive would be obliged to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. So with these principles in mind, it is possible to view some recent controversies through this precise proper constitutional lens. For this purpose, I am going to focus on three examples: the President’s unilateral decision to suspend certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act; the President’s unilateral abridgement of the Immigration and Nationality Act; and on the IRS’s targeting of the President’s political adversaries.
- So, first, the Obamacare suspension.
- On July 2nd, 2013, just before the long weekend, the Obama administration announced via blog post that the President would unilaterally suspend the employer mandate of Obamacare, notwithstanding the unambiguous command of the law.
- The statute is perfectly clear.
- It provides that these provisions become effective on January 1st, 2014.
The blog post makes no mention of the statutory deadline. This raises the question of what it means to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Certainly the adverb “faithfully” gives the President broad discretion about how to best deploy his executive resources, and the scope of that discretion can be the subject of legitimate debate.
But this was not a mere calibration of executive resources. This is wholesale suspension of law in the teeth of a clear statutory command to the contrary. Whatever it may mean to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, it simply cannot mean declining to execute a law at all. Now, the President’s remarks on this issue were quite striking.
A few months ago, he said he would actually prefer to simply call up the Speaker of the House to request a change in this law that would have achieved the desired delay, but the truth is he would not have needed to pick up the phone. The House actually had already passed the Authority for Mandate Delay Act, but the President, far from welcoming this legislative change, actually threatened to veto it.
So this seems almost like a willful violation of the Take Care Clause. The second example, the Immigration and Nationality Act suspension, which the Chairman mentioned. I will just mention briefly what is striking about this is the President’s decision to enforce the immigration laws as though the DREAM Act had been enacted when in fact it has not.
So in this case, it is almost a mirror of the other case. Rather than declining to comply with a duly enacted statute, the President is complying meticulously but with a bill that never became a law. Congress has repeatedly considered a statute called the DREAM Act.
- The President favors this act.
- Congress repeatedly declined to pass it.
- So the President has simply announced that he would enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act as though the DREAM Act had been enacted.
- To put the point another way, the President’s duty is to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” “Laws,” capital L, not those bills which fail to become law like the DREAM Act.
Finally, I will just briefly mention the IRS targeting. If the adverb “faithfully” means anything, I would say that it means nondiscriminatorily. That is, the President cannot enforce the laws in a discriminatory manner. And the story of the IRS targeting is actually the application of the tax laws to the President’s political enemies in a discriminatory way.
- This is perhaps the single most troubling type of enforcement discrimination, and so in a way perhaps the most troubling violation of the President’s obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
- Thank you.
- Prepared Statement of Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, The Cato Institute, Washington, DC Mr.
Chairman, Representative Conyers, Members of the Committee: I thank you for the opportunity to express my views about the President’s constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” \1\ – \1\ U.S. Const. art. II, Sec.3. – This is a timely and important hearing, because many of the legal controversies of the day implicate this Presidential duty.
In areas as important and diverse as healthcare, immigration, nuclear waste storage, tax enforcement, military action, and foreign aid, there has been an inchoate sense that the Administration has overstepped its authority. But the criticism has generally been issue-specific, and it has often conflated policy objections with constitutional objections.
There has been very little systematic analysis of this behavior as a pattern. And more to the point, there has been very little analysis of the particular constitutional clause at issue. The relevant clause of the Constitution, which should be the lodestar of this discussion, is the Take Care Clause: “The President,
Shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” \2\ To put these recent controversies in constitutional context, it is essential to understand the meaning and purpose of this Clause. As always, it is best to begin by parsing the constitutional text. – \2\ Id. (emphasis added). – First, notice that this Clause does not grant power but rather imposes a duty: “The President,
shall take Care, ” \3\ This is not optional; it is mandatory. Second, note that the duty is personal. Execution of the laws may be delegated, but the duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” \4\ is the President’s alone. Third, notice that the President is not required to take care that the laws be “completely” executed; that would be impossible given finite resources.
- The President does have power to make enforcement choices-however, he must make them “faithfully.” Finally, it is important to remember the historical context of the clause: English kings had claimed the power to suspend laws unilaterally,\5\ but the Framers expressly rejected that practice.
- Here, the executive would be obliged to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” \6\ – \3\ Id.
(emphasis added). \4\ Id. (emphasis added). \5\ F.W. Maitland, The Constitutional History of England: A Course of Lectures Delivered, 302-03 (1st ed.1908 & reprint 1919). \6\ U.S. Const. art. II, Sec.3. See also Michael W. McConnell, Op- Ed: Obama Suspends the Law, Wall St.J.
- July 8, 2013), http:// online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732382300457859150 3509555268.html.
- With these principles in mind, it is possible to view recent controversies through the proper constitutional lens.
- For this purpose, I shall focus on three recent examples-though, sadly, there are many others that one could choose.
I shall focus on the President’s unilateral decision to suspend certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act, on the President’s unilateral abridgement of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and on the IRS’s targeting of the President’s political adversaries.i.
- Obamacare suspension On July 2, 2013, just before the long weekend, the Obama Administration announced via blog post that the President would unilaterally suspend the employer mandate of ObamaCare \7\- notwithstanding the unambiguous command of the law.
- The statute is perfectly clear: It provides that these provisions become effective on January 1, 2014.\8\ The blog post-written under the breezy Orwellian title “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner”-makes no mention of the statutory deadline.\9\ – \7\ Mark J.
Mazur, Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner, U.S. Dep’t of the Treasury (July 2, 2013), http:// www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Continuing-to-Implement-the-ACA-in- a-Careful-Thoughtful-Manner-.aspx. The Obama Administration suspended implementation of 26 U.S.C.
- Sec.6055, 26 U.S.C.
- Sec.6056, and 26 U.S.C.
- 8\ The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub.L.111-148, Sec.1502(e), 124 Stat.119, 252 (March 23, 2010) (“The amendments made by this section shall apply to calendar years beginning after 2013.”); id.
- Sec.1513(d), 124 Stat.
- At 256 (“The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.”).
\9\ See Mazur, supra note 7. – This blog post raises the question of what it means to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Certainly, the adverb “faithfully” gives the President broad discretion about how best to deploy executive resources and how best to execute the laws.
- And the precise scope of this discretion may be the subject of legitimate debate.
- But this breathtaking blog post was not a mere exercise of prosecutorial discretion or a necessary calibration of executive resources.
- This was a wholesale suspension of law, in the teeth of a clear statutory command to the contrary.
Whatever it may mean to “Take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” it simply cannot mean declining to execute a law at all. As if the suspension weren’t enough, President Obama’s comments about it on August 9, 2013-claiming that “the normal thing would prefer to do” is seek a “change to the law” \10\-added insult to constitutional injury.
Indeed, the President seemed annoyed when The New York Times dared to ask him the constitutional question.\11\ As for Republican congressmen who questioned his authority, Mr. Obama said only: “I’m not concerned about their opinions-very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.” \12\ Mr.
Obama made no mention of, for example, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin-a Democrat, a lawyer and one of the authors of ObamaCare-who asked exactly the right question: “This was the law. How can they change the law?” \13\ Senator Harkin’s point, of course, is that a change like this is inherently legislative; it requires an amendment to the statute itself.
- 10\ President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President in a Press Conference, (Aug.9, 2013), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/ 2013/08/09/remarks-president-press-conference.
- 11\ See Jackie Calmes & Michael D.
- Shear, Interview with President Obama, N.Y.
- Times (July 27, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/ us/politics/interview-with-president-obama.html ?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
\12\ Id. \13\ Jonathan Weisman & Robert Pear, Seeing Opening, House G.O.P. Pushes Delay on Individual Mandate in Health Law, N.Y. Times (July 9, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/us/politics/house-gop-pushes- delay-on-individual-mandate-in-health-law.html.
- But the President has been distinctly ambivalent about any such amendment.
- A few months ago, he said that he would like to “simply call up the Speaker” of the House to request a “change to the law” that would achieve his desired delay.\14\ But the truth, as the President knows, is that he wouldn’t even need to pick up the phone: On July 17, 2013, the House of Representatives passed the Authority for Mandate Delay Act (with 229 Republicans and 35 Democrats voting in favor).\15\ This would have authorized President Obama’s desired suspension of the law.\16\ – \14\ President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President in a Press Conference, (Aug.9, 2013), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/ 2013/08/09/remarks-president-press-conference.
\15\ See Authority for Mandate Delay Act, H.R.2667, 113th Cong. (2013). For final vote results for H.R.2667, see http:// clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll361.xml. \16\ See Authority for Mandate Delay Act, H.R.2667, 113th Cong. (2013). – But President Obama did not actually welcome this congressional ratification.
To the contrary, this bill-which stood to fix the constitutional problem that he himself had created-the President deemed “unnecessary”.\17\ Indeed, he actually threatened to veto it.\18\ In this case, it appeared that the President would actually prefer to flout the law as written, rather than support a statutory change that would achieve his desired result.
This seems an almost willful violation of the Take Care Clause. – \17\ Office of Mgmt. & Budget, Exec. Office of the President, Statement of Administration Policy, (July 16, 2013), http:// www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/113/ saphr2668r_20130716.pdf.
\18\ Id. – ii. immigration and nationality act suspension The second example, immigration, is almost an exact mirror of the first. In the ObamaCare context, the President suspended an Act of Congress-a statute that was duly passed by both Houses of Congress, and which he himself had signed into law. In the immigration context, the situation is the opposite.
Rather than declining to comply with a duly enacted statute, the President is complying meticulously-with a bill that never became a law. Congress has repeatedly considered a statute called the DREAM Act, which would exempt a broad category of aliens from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).\19\ The President favored this Act, but Congress repeatedly declined to pass it.\20\ So, on June 15, 2012, the President announced that he would simply not enforce the INA against the precise category of aliens described in the DREAM Act.\21\ He announced, in effect, that he would behave as though the DREAM Act had been enacted into law, though it had not.\22\ – \19\ See Elisha Barron, The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act, 48 Harv.J.
on Legis.623, 633 (2011); Robert J. Delahunty & John C. Yoo, Dream On: The Obama Administration’s Nonenforcement of Immigration Laws, the Dream Act, and the Take Care Clause, 91 Tex.L. Rev.781, 783-784, 789 (2013). \20\ The Dream Act of 2011 did not move past the committee stage in either the House or the Senate.
See Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2011, H.R.1842, 112th Congress (2011); Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2011, S.952, 112th Congress (2011). \21\ President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President on Immigration (June 15, 2012), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press- office/2012/06/15/remarks-president-immigration.
\22\ See id.; Memorandum from Janet Napolitano, Sec’y, U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., to David V. Aguilar, Acting Comm’r, U.S. Customs & Border Prot., Alejandro Mayorkas, Dir., U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs. & John Morton, Dir., Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children, U.S.
Immigration & Customs Enforcement (June 15, 2012), http://www.dhs.gov/ xlibrary/assets/s1-exercising-prosecutorial-discretion-individuals-who- came-to-us-as-children.pdf. – Once again, the President does have broad prosecutorial discretion and broad discretion to husband executive resources.
But in this case, it is quite clear that the President is not merely trying to conserve resources. After all, his Solicitor General recently went to the Supreme Court to forbid Arizona from helping to enforce the INA.\23\ And exempting as many as 1.76 million people from the immigration laws goes far beyond any traditional conception of prosecutorial discretion.\24\ More to the point, this exemption has a distinctly legislative character.
It is not a decision, in a particular case, that enforcement is not worth the resources; rather it is a blanket policy which exactly mirrors a statute that Congress declined to pass.\25\ To put the point another way, the President shall “take Care that the Laws”-capital “L”-“be faithfully executed”-not those bills which fail to become law.
- Here, in effect, the President is faithfully executing the DREAM Act, which is not law at all, rather than the Immigration and Nationality Act, which is supreme law of the land.
- The President cannot enact the DREAM Act unilaterally, and he cannot evade Article I, section 7,\26\ by pretending that it passed when it did not.
– \23\ See Brief for Respondent United States at 26, Arizona v. United States, 132 S. Ct.2492 (2012) (No.11-182). The Solicitor General argued that “Arizona’s attempt to punish violations of federal law intrudes on exclusive federal authority.” \24\ Jeanne Batalova & Michelle Mittelstadt, Migration Policy Inst., Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers Potentially Eligible Under the Deferred Action Policy 1 (2012), available at http:// www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/FS24_deferredaction.pdf.
- 25\ See Memorandum from Janet Napolitano, supra note 22.
- See also In re Aiken Cnty., 725 F.3d 255 (D.C.
- Cir.2013) (Kavanaugh, J.) (“he President may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections.
- Of course, if Congress appropriates no money for a statutorily mandated program, the Executive obviously cannot move forward.
But absent a lack of funds or a claim of unconstitutionality that has not been rejected by final Court order, the Executive must abide by statutory mandates and prohibitions.”). \26\ U.S. Const. art. I, Sec.7 (requiring bicameralism and presentment for a bill to become a law).
- Indeed, the President himself made this exact point, eloquently, only 20 months ago: America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law.
- With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed,
There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.\27\ – \27\ President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President at Univision Town Hall (Mar.28, 2011), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/ 2011/03/28/remarks-president-univision-town-hall.
And just last week, in response to a heckler, the President expressly denied that he has “a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country.” \28\ He reiterated: – \28\ President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President on Immigration Reform-San Francisco, CA (Nov.25, 2013), http:// www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/25/remarks-president- immigration-reform-san-francisco-ca.
e’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve.\29\ – \29\ Id.
What the President did not explain is how his current immigration policy is consistent with that principle. iii. irs targeting The third example is troubling in a different way. As is now well known, the IRS subjected Tea Party organizations to Kafkaesque scrutiny and delay, particularly in the run-up to the last election.
A few months ago, a House Oversight Committee hearing revealed that the IRS Chief Counsel’s Office had played a key role.\30\ The Committee rightly zeroed in on this fact, because the Chief Counsel is one of only two political appointees at the IRS,\31\ appointed by President Obama \32\ and confirmed by the Senate.\33\ But what was missing from the hearing-and what has been missing from the commentary throughout-is the constitutional context of this scandal.
- 30\ Written Testimony of Carter Hull, Before the House Oversight and Gov’t Reform Comm.
- July 18, 2013), http://oversight.house.gov/wp- content/uploads/2013/07/Hull-Testimony-Final.pdf.
- 31\ See 26 U.S.C.
- 32\ Press Release, The White House: Office of the Press Sec’y, President Obama Announces More Key Treasury Appointments (Apr.17, 2009), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama- announces-more-key-treasury-appointments.
\33\ Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of the Treasury, William J. Wilkins Confirmed as Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service, Assistant General Counsel for Treasury (July 28, 2009), http://www.treasury.gov/ press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg245.aspx.
- The President has, of course, been at pains to distance himself from this scandal.
- But, again, recall that the duty to “take Care” is personal.
- Execution of the laws may be delegated; indeed, the Clause clearly contemplates that other officers-like the IRS Chief Counsel- will do the actual executing.
But the duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” is the President’s alone. For this reason, what the President knew and when he knew it is, in a certain sense, beside the point; the right question is what he should have known. It will not do for the President to say (erroneously) that the IRS is an “independent agency” or to say (implausibly) that he learned about IRS targeting “from the same news reports” as the rest of us.\34\ Not knowing what an executive agency is up to-let alone not knowing that the IRS is, in fact, a bureau of an executive agency that answers to the President-is not taking care that the laws be faithfully executed.
- If the President was negligent in his supervision of the IRS (or somehow unaware that it was subject to his supervision), then he failed in his duty to take care.
- 34\ See President Barack Obama, Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom in Joint Press Conference, (May 13, 2013), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/13/ remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-cameron-united-kingdom- joint-.
The IRS is part of the Department of Treasury, not an independent agency. See 26 USC Sec.7803 (placing the IRS Commissioner in the Department of the Treasury, and making him removable at the will of the President). – Now, again, it is true that the President is not required to take care that the laws be “completely” executed; that would be impossible given finite resources.
The President does have power to make enforcement choices-however, he must make them “faithfully.” If the President lacks the resources to prosecute all bank robbers, he may choose to prosecute only the violent bank robbers; but he cannot choose to prosecute only the Catholic bank robbers.\35\ Invidious discrimination is not faithful execution.
– \35\ See Smith v. Meese, 821 F.2d 1484, 1492 (11th Cir.1987). – Discriminatory enforcement on the basis of religion would have horrified the Framers of the Constitution. But there is one kind of discrimination that would have worried them even more-the one kind that could undermine the entire constitutional structure: political discrimination.
The single most corrosive thing that can happen in a democracy is for incumbents to use the levers of power to stifle their critics and entrench themselves.\36\ This is devastating to a democracy, because it casts doubt on the legitimacy of all that follows. Ensuring that this does not happen is perhaps the single most important imperative of the President’s duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
If he gives only one instruction to his political appointees, it should be this: do not discriminate on the basis of politics in your execution of the laws. – \36\ See John Hart Ely, Gerrymanders: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 50 Stan.L. Rev.607, 621 (1998).
- This, sadly, is the gravamen of the IRS scandal.
- Congress enacted a neutral provision of the tax code, but an executive agency enforced it non-neutrally, discriminating on invidious grounds.
- It discriminated against the Tea Party,\37\ the most potent political force that the President’s party faced in the mid-term elections.
It discriminated against those who “criticize how the country is being run.” \38\ For good measure, it reportedly discriminated against those “involved in, educating on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” \39\ And it did all this while an embattled incumbent President was running for re- election.\40\ – \37\ Treasury Inspector Gen.
- For Tax Admin., Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review 5 (May 14, 2013), https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http:// www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2013/05/201310053fr- revised-redacted-1.pdf&chrome=true. \38\ Id. at 6, 35. \39\ Id.
- At 30, 38.
- 40\ See id.
at 6-10. – The President may, alas, urge his supporters to “punish our enemies” \41\; but he cannot stand oblivious while the IRS does just that. He may, alas, berate the Supreme Court for protecting political speech \42\; but he cannot turn a blind eye while the IRS muzzles his critics with red tape.
- He may, alas, call right-leaning groups a “threat to our democracy” \43\-but the real, cardinal threat is unfaithful execution of the laws.
- 41\ Eddie Sotelo, Interview with the President of the United States Barack Obama, Univision Radio (Oct.25, 2010), transcript available at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/10/ transcript-of-president-barack-obama-with-univision.html.
\42\ President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address (Jan.27, 2010), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press- office/remarks-president-state-union-address. \43\ President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President and the Vice President at a DNC `Moving America Forward’ Rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Oct.10, 2010), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press- office/2010/10/10/remarks-president-and-vice-president-a-dnc-moving- america-forward-rally-.
Conclusion The President has a personal obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” \44\ The word “faithfully” is, perhaps, a broad grant of discretion, but it is also a real and important constraint. The President cannot suspend laws altogether. He cannot favor unenacted bills over duly enacted laws.
And he cannot discriminate on the basis of politics in his execution of the laws. The President has crossed all three of these lines. – \44\ U.S. Const. art. II, Sec.3. – _ Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you. Mr. Lazarus, welcome. TESTIMONY OF SIMON LAZARUS, SENIOR COUNSEL, THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY CENTER Mr.
Lazarus. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Ranking Member Conyers and all of the Members of the Committee who are here. I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with my colleagues on the panel who have spoken so far. Brandishing the Take Care Clause has become a favorite talking point for opponents of an array of Obama administration policies and actions.
All of these efforts, or at least the ones with which I am familiar, are in reality-all these efforts to import the Constitution into what are in reality political and policy attacks are really rhetorical make-weights. They mock the text and original meaning of the Take Care Clause.
- They flout long- established Supreme Court precedent, and they contradict the consistent practice of all modern presidencies, Republican and Democratic, to implement complex and consequential regulatory programs as Congressman Conyers pointed out.
- These critics fault the Obama administration for many things, but essentially two kinds of things: one, making necessary adjustments in timing of implementation of laws and particularly the Affordable Care Act; and secondly, in matching immigration enforcement priorities with available resources and practical, humanitarian, and other exigencies.
But exercising presidential judgment for such reasons is precisely what the Constitution requires. It is precisely what the Framers expected when they established a separate executive branch under the direction of a nationnally elected President and charged him to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
So let’s first take a quick look at one of the targets of these charges and that is the phasing in of the ACA employer mandate, which has been called a blatant illegality and many other things. But in fact it is a routine, temporary course correction. What exactly did the Administration do? On July 2nd, it announced the decision to postpone for 1 year the January 1, 2014 effective date for the ACA requirement that large employers provide their workers with health insurance or pay a tax.
This and other subsequently announced delays related to the ACA do not constitute refusals to enforce the ACA at all. On the contrary, they are merely phasing in adjustments designed to ensure effective implementation of the overall statute in accord with Congress’ purposes.
The Treasury Department’s announcement makes that clear and the proposed regulations that it has followed through on on September 5th make that clearer, as does Treasury’s statement that it intends to continue fine tuning those regulations and working with the people affected by them until they become finally effective.
And I should emphasize that just after the Administration took this action, President George W. Bush’s HHS Secretary, Michael Leavitt, concurred that “the Obama administration’s decision to delay the employer mandate was wise.” That was based on his experience in phasing in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.
So I have to say that hyperventilating about how extraordinary and unprecedented and unconstitutional these delays are is just that. It is hyperventilation and it is contrary to obvious historical fact. Nor is the 1-year delay of the employer mandate an affront to the Constitution. The Framers could have prescribed simply that the President execute the laws.
So why did they add “faithfully” and “take care”? I have to disagree respectfully with Professor Rosenkranz and Professor Turley about their explanation of the history and original meaning of the clause. Obviously, they were taking pains to clarify that the President’s duty is to implement laws in good faith, hence the word “faithfully,” and to exercise reasonable care, hence the words “take care,” in doing so.
- The fact is that scholars on both the left and the right concur that this broadly worded phrasing means that the President is to exercise judgment and to handle his enforcement duties with fidelity to all laws, including indeed the Constitution.
- As a legal and practical matter, the President’s phase in of the employer mandate and other ACA provisions is well within his job description.
So is the DACA program, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals. I am not going to go into that now, but Congressman Conyers explained why that is true, and in my written statement, we do so also. I have to say one quick word about what I know that my good friend and frequent debating partner, Michael Cannon, is going to focus on and that is his theory-and he gets a lot of credit for thinking it up and marketing it-his theory that Affordable Care Act premium assistance tax credits and subsidies must be available to all-his theory that they are only available to Americans who happen to live in States that have set up their own exchanges.
- I cannot go into detail about this unfortunately.
- Perhaps in the questioning, I will be able to do that.
- But his theory is that a few phrases in this enormous statute have to be construed in a way that would stiff millions of people who were the intended beneficiaries of the act.
- Am I over? I am over.
- The fact is that that is not the correct construction of the act, and perhaps we will be able to talk about that further.
Prepared Statement of Simon Lazarus, Senior Counsel, The Constiutional Accountability Center My thanks to the Chair and members of the House Judiciary Committee for inviting me to testify in this inquiry into the provision of Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, which provides that the President “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” I am Senior Counsel to the Constitutional Accountability Center, a public interest law firm, think tank, and action center dedicated to the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.
Recently, opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), have charged that President Obama broke the law and abused his constitutional authority, when, on July 2, his administration announced a one-year postponement of the January 1, 2014 effective date for the ACA requirement that large employers provide their workers with health insurance or pay a tax.\1\ Specifically, opponents claim that this decision ran afoul of the “Take Care” clause quoted above.
Indeed, brandishing the “Take Care” clause appears to have become a favored talking point for opponents of an array of Obama administration policies and actions. I presume that this hearing will address several of these instances. – \1\ White House Statement, “We’re Listening to Businesses about the Health Care Law” (July 2, 2013), available at http:// www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/07/02/we-re-listening-businesses-about- health-care-law.
- All of these efforts to import the Constitution into what are in reality political and policy debates are rhetorical make-weights.
- They mock the text and original meaning of the Take Care clause.
- They flout long-established Supreme Court precedent applying the relevant constitutional provisions.
- And they contradict the consistent practice of all modern presidencies, Republican and Democratic, to responsibly implement complex and consequential regulatory programs.
These critics fault the Obama Administration for making necessary adjustments in timing and matching enforcement priorities with resources and practical, humanitarian, and other exigencies. But exercising presidential judgment in carrying laws into execution is precisely what the Constitution requires.
It is precisely what the framers expected, when they established a separate Executive Branch under the direction of a nationally elected President, and charged him to Take Care that the Laws be Faithfully Executed.\2\ Certainly, in the policy areas with which I am familiar, that is precisely what the President Obama and the members of his administration are doing-whatever one may think of their actions from a policy or political perspective.
– \2\ Akhil Reed Amar, America’s Constitution: A Biography 195 (2006): The sweeping provisions of Article II, including the Take Care clause “envisioned the president as a generalist focused on the big picture. While Congress would enact statutes and courts would decide cases one at a time, the president would oversee the enforcement of all the laws at once-a sweeping mandate that invited him to ponder legal patterns in the largest sense and inevitably conferred some discretion on him in defining his enforcement philosophy and priorities.” – In this written statement, I will focus on the ACA employer mandate issue, and address three other issues as to which ACA opponents have woven a Take Care clause claim into their policy and political attacks.
I will also address one other Obama administration action that has come under similar constitutional challenge, the June 2012 decision of the Department of Homeland Security to defer action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have pursued education or military service here.
An article I wrote on the ACA employer mandate issue appeared in The Atlantic on July 17 of this year. Another article, on the availability of ACA premium assistance tax credits and subsidies on federally facilitated as well as state-managed health insurance exchange market-places, appeared in The New Republic for May 2, 2013.
In addition, I testified on the latter subject before the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, & Entitlements of the House Committee on Government Oversight & Reform on July 31, 2013. This statement draws upon these writings. I ask that the Committee include my July 31 written testimony in the record of this hearing.
phasing in the aca employer mandate: “blatant illegality” or routine temporary course-correction? Critics have labeled the employer mandate postponement a “blatantly illegal move” that “raises grave concerns about understanding” that, unlike medieval British monarchs, American presidents have, under Article II, Section 3 of our Constitution, a “duty, not a discretionary power” to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” \3\ – \3\ Michael W.
- McConnell, “Obama Suspends the Law,” The Wall Street Journal (July 8, 2013), available at: http://online.wsj.com/ article/SB10001424127887323823004578591503509555268,html.
- These portentous indictments ignore what the Administration actually decided and how it has delimited the scope and purpose of its decision.
The Treasury Department’s announcement provides for one year of “transition relief,” to continue working with “employers, insurers, and other reporting entities” through 2014 to revise and engage in “real-world testing” of the implementation of ACA reporting requirements, simplify forms used for this reporting, coordinate requisite public and private sector information technology arrangements, and engineer a “smoother transition to full implementation in 2015.” \4\ The announcement described the postponed requirements as “ACA mandatory”-i.e., not discretionary or subject to indefinite waiver.
On July 9, Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Mazur added, in a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton, that the Department expects to publish proposed rules implementing the relevant provisions “this summer, after a dialogue with stakeholders.” \5\ – \4\ Mark J. Mazur, United States Department of the Treasury, “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner” (July 2, 2013), available at http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/ pages/continuing-to-implement-the-aca-in-a-careful-thoughtful- manner-.aspx.
\5\ Letter from Mark J. Mazur, United States Department of the Treasury to the Honorable Fred Upton, Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Washington, D.C., 9 July 2013, available at http:// democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Upton- Treasury-ACA-2013-7-9.pdf.
- A month ago, on September 5, the Treasury Department issued those proposed rules.
- They detail proposed information reporting requirements for insurers and large employers, reflecting, the Department stated, “an ongoing dialogue with representatives of employers, insurers, and individual taxpayers.” It appears from the Department’s release that it intends, through comments that will be received on the proposed rules, to continue fine-tuning ways “to simplify the new information reporting process and bring about a smooth implementation of those new rules.” \6\ – \6\ United States Department of the Treasury Press Release, “Treasury Issues Proposed Rules for Information Reporting by Employers and Insurers Under the Affordable Care Act” (September 5, 2013), available at http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/ jl2157.aspx.
– In effect, the Administration explains the delay as a sensible adjustment to phase-in enforcement, not a refusal to enforce. And its actions validate that characterization-as any court that had occasion to consider the matter would surely agree. Indeed, shortly after the initial July 2 announcement, Michael O.
- Leavitt, who served as Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W.
- Bush, concurred that “The Administration’s decision to delay the employer mandate was wise.” \7\ Secretary Leavitt made this observation based on his own experience with the Bush Administration’s initially bumpy but ultimately successful phase-in of the prescription drug benefit to Medicare, which was passed in 2003 and implemented in 2006.
– \7\ Michael O. Leavitt, “To implement Obamacare, look to Bush’s Medicare reform,” Washington Post (July 12, 2013), available at http:/ /www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/to-implement-obamacare-the-right-way- look-to-bushs-medicare-reform/2013/07/12/c2031718-e988-11e2-8f22-de 4bd2a2bd39_story.html.
- Experience so far strongly bears out Secretary Leavitt’s expectation that delaying the employer mandate reporting requirements to simplify and improve them would facilitate smooth implementation of those provisions, without undermining the rest of the ACA, or Congress’ broad goals in enacting it.
- The vast majority of the nation’s six million employers-96%-employ fewer than 50 workers, and are therefore not covered by the employer mandate.
Of those 200,000 that are covered, at least 94% already offer health insurance; so, during 2014-the one- year period during which those employers will not be penalized for failing to insure their employees-a relatively small number of workers will remain uninsured because of the delayed implementation of the employer mandate.
And even those workers will, during 2014, be eligible for policies marketed on ACA exchanges and also for premium assistance subsidies.\8\ – \8\ Ezekiel J. Emanuel, “Obama’s Insurance Delay Won’t Affect Many,” New York Times (July 3, 2013), available at http:// opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/obamas-insurance-delay-wont- affect-many/?_r=0.
– Though “wise,” is the current postponement “illegal?” On the contrary,Treasury’s Mazur wrote to Chair Upton, such temporary postponements of tax reporting and payment requirements are routine, citing numerous examples of such postponements by Republican and Democratic administrations when statutory deadlines proved unworkable.
Across federal agencies, failure to meet statutory deadlines for promulgating regulations or taking other regulatory actions is, inevitably, a routine feature of implementing complex regulatory laws like the ACA. To take one particularly well-known example, the Environmental Protection Agency, under Republican and Democratic administrations, has often found it necessary to phase-in implementation of requirements beyond statutory deadlines, to avoid premature actions that were poorly grounded or conflicted with other mandates applicable to EPA or other agencies.
These, of course, are precisely the types of practical considerations that the Treasury Department has cited for postponing implementation of the reporting requirements pertinent to the employer mandate, and the mandate itself. Last year, as one of many examples, EPA delayed promulgation of Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur, over the objection of some environmental groups, on the pragmatic ground that there is too much scientific uncertainty to enable the Agency to promulgate new standards with the requisite scientific basis.\9\ – \9\ To be sure, some administrative “delays” have in fact constituted de facto decisions not to enforce or implement laws, indefinitely and for policy reasons.
For example, during the administration of President George W. Bush, EPA was frequently criticized in such terms for shelving a broad spectrum of regulations and other initiatives. In at least one highly visible instance, involving the agency’s mandate to determine whether greenhouse gases are pollutants requiring regulation under the Clean Air Act, the Supreme Court ordered EPA to institute formal proceedings to make such a determination.
Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S.497 (2007) – Applicable judicial precedent places such timing adjustments well within the Executive Branch’s lawful discretion. To be sure, the federal Administrative Procedure Act authorizes federal courts to compel agencies to initiate statutorily required actions that have been “unreasonably delayed.” \10\ But courts have found delays to be unreasonable only in rare cases where, unlike this one, inaction had lasted for several years, and the recalcitrant agency could offer neither a persuasive excuse nor a credible end to its dithering.
In deciding whether a given agency delay is reasonable, current law admonishes courts to consider whether expedited action could adversely affect “higher or competing” agency priorities, and whether other interests could be “prejudiced by the delay.” \11\ Even in cases where an agency outright refuses to enforce a policy in specified types of cases-not the case here-the Supreme Court has declined to intervene.
As former Chief Justice William Rehnquist noted in a leading case,\12\ courts must respect an agency’s presumptively superior grasp of “the many variables involved in the proper ordering of its priorities.” Chief Justice Rehnquist suggested that courts should defer to Executive Branch judgment unless an “agency has consciously and expressly adopted a general policy that is so extreme as to amount to an abdication of its statutory responsibilities.” \13\ The Obama Administration has not and is not about to abdicate its responsibility to implement the statute on whose success his historical legacy will most centrally depend.
– \10\ The Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec.706. \11\ Telecommunications Research and Action Center, et al.v. FCC, 750 F.2d 70, 80 (1984). \12\ Heckler v. Chaney, 470 U.S.821, 831-32 (1985). \13\ 470 U.S. at 833 n.4. – Nor is the one-year delay of the employer mandate an affront to the Constitution.
In the relevant constitutional text, note the term, “faithfully,” and the even more striking phrase, “take care” (which, by the way, is not included in the title of this hearing). The framers could have prescribed simply that the President “execute the laws.” Why did they add “faithfully” and “take care?” \14\ Defining the President’s duty in this fashion necessarily incorporated-or reaffirmed the previously implicit incorporation-of the concept that the President’s duty is to implement laws in good faith, and to exercise reasonable care in doing so.
Scholars on both left and right concur that this broadly-worded phrasing indicates that the President is to exercise judgment, and handle his enforcement duties with fidelity to all laws, including, indeed, the Constitution.\15\ Both Republican and Democratic Justice Departments have consistently opined that the clause authorizes a president even to decline enforcement of a statute altogether, if in good faith he determines it to be violative of the Constitution.
To be sure, as one critic has noted, a president cannot “refuse to enforce a statute he opposes for policy reasons.” \16\ But, while surely correct, that contention is beside the point here. – \14\ Initial drafts of what became what is now known as the “Take Care” clause provided simply that the President was to “carry into execution the national laws.” In July 1787, in the Committee of Detail, charged with drafting language for the full convention to consider, there was debate over the phrase “the power to carry into execution,” and when the Committee returned, that phrase had been removed, the new “take care language” emerged in place of the former phrase.
As Farrand notes, some of the phrases under debate included (Max Farrand, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Volume II 171): (He shall take care to the best of his ability that the laws) (It shall be his duty to provide for the due & faithful exec-of the Laws) of the United States (be faithfully executed) (to the best of his ability).
Ultimately, the Committee on Style adopted the phrase “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” into constitutional text in September 1787. \15\ See Stephen G. Calabresi & Saikrishna B. Prakash, “The President’s Power to Execute the Laws,” 104 Yale L.J.541 (1994); see also Lawrence Lessig & Cass R.
- Sunstein, “The President and the Administration,” 94 Colum.L.
- Rev.1 (1994).
- 16\ McConnell, “Obama Suspends the Law.” – The Administration has not postponed the employer mandate out of policy opposition to the ACA, nor to any specific provision of it.
- It is ludicrous to suggest otherwise, and at best misleading to characterize the action as a “refusal to enforce” at all.
Rather, the President has authorized a minor temporary course correction regarding individual ACA provisions, necessary in his Administration’s judgment to faithfully execute the overall statute, other related laws, and the purposes of the ACA’s framers.
As a legal as well as a practical matter, that’s well within his job description. In effect, ACA opponents’ constitutional argument to the contrary amounts to asserting that the Administrative Procedure Act itself ratifies unconstitutional behavior. As noted above, the APA recognizes that delayed implementation of rules, beyond statutory deadlines, can come within the Executive Branch’s lawful discretion, as long as such delays are “reasonable.” Opponents’ claim is that the “take care” clause must be interpreted to condemn any deviation from a statutory deadline for implementing a regulation, no matter how reasonable.
This implausible interpretation flouts, not only Congress’ understanding as expressed through the text of the APA, but administrative and judicial precedent as well. is the administration’s postponement, in specified instances, for one year enforcement of aca insurance market reforms an “unreasonable delay” under the apa, or a violation of the constitution’s “take care” clause? On November 14, HHS’ Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance oversight, Gary Cohen, sent a letter to all state insurance commissioners, in which he announced a “transitional policy” of permitting health insurers to “choose to continue coverage” for one additional year, for policies commencing between January 1, 2014, and October 1, 2014, that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled,” because such policies are out of compliance with several of the ACA’s insurance market reform protections.\17\ The letter stated that “State agencies responsible for enforcing the specified market reforms are encouraged to adopt the same transitional policy with respect to this coverage.” As this language indicates, the Administration was thereby not changing the law, or giving employers a waiver from a statutory requirement, but instead merely announcing a “transitional” enforcement policy for the federal government-one that state regulators are free to emulate or not, as they see fit.
As of last week, many state insurance regulatory authorities, in states including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C., have declined to adopt the transitional policy, and, hence, will bar issuance of policies inconsistent with the ACA market reform requirements, as of January 1, 2014, as prescribed in the statute.\18\ As with the one-year delay of finalization of the employer mandate reporting requirements and enforcement of the mandate, this “encouragement” of state regulators to permit a one-year transitional renewal of non-compliant individual insurance policies would clearly not be an unreasonable delay under the Administrative Procedure Act, and would not violate the constitutional Take Care clause.
– \17\ http://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Letters/Downloads/ commissioner-letter-11-14-2013.PDF. \18\ The Commonwealth Fund Blog posted on November 27 a review of states which have, have not, and are still deciding how they wish to respond to the Administration’s “encouragement,” together with explanations of the consequences of alternative state resolutions.
- Http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Blog/2013/Nov/State-Decisions-on- Policy-Cancellations-Fix.aspx?omnicid=20.
- Does the deferred action for childhood arrivals (daca) program “breach” the president’s duty under the “take care” clause-or appropriately prioritize enforcement priorities, while faithfully implementing the immigration laws? Critics have also alleged that the Administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program constitutes a “breach” of the President’s duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
On June 15, 2012, President Obama signed a memorandum calling on the Department of Homeland Security to defer action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have pursued education or military service here.\19\ On August 15, 2012, the Department began accepting applications for deferred action status under the program.
- Contrary to the critics, this action violates neither the Constitution nor the immigration laws, and is, indeed similar to the prosecutorial discretion actions taken by other presidents, of both parties, that have been part and parcel of immigration enforcement policy for decades.
- 19\ Department of Homeland Security Press Release, “Secretary Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities” (June 15, 2012).
– To begin with, it is specious to suggest that the Obama administration is systematically failing in its obligation to enforce the immigration laws. On the contrary, the administration has detained and deported noncitizens at record levels-approximately 400,000 annually, compared to 150,542 in 2002.
- The 400,000 figure is not an accident.
- Congress has provided funding to cover 400,000 removals per year.
- This is less than 4% of the total estimated population of unauthorized residents of the country-11.5 million.
- Setting enforcement priorities is, obviously, essential, given this huge shortfall of available resources.\20\ The criteria prescribed in the DACA program are entirely sensible, and in keeping with prioritization criteria long characteristic of immigration enforcement.
– \20\ See Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, In Defense of DACA, Deferred Action, and the DREAM Act, 91 Tex.L. Rev.59 (2013). – As 128 academic immigration law experts explained in a letter to the President outlining his authority to institute a program like DACA: Deferred action is a long-standing form of administrative relief.
- It is one of many forms of prosecutorial discretion available to the Executive Branch.
- A grant of deferred action can have any of several effects.
- It can prevent an individual from being placed in removal proceedings, suspend any proceedings that have commenced, or stay the enforcement of any existing removal order.
It also makes the recipient eligible to apply for employment authorization. he U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that decisions to initiate or terminate enforcement proceedings fall squarely within the authority of the Executive, In the immigration context, the Executive Branch has exercised its general enforcement authority to grant deferred action since at least 1971.
Federal courts have acknowledged the existence of this executive power at least as far as back as the mid-1970s.\21\ – \21\ Letter from 128 academic immigration law experts to President Obama, Washington, D.C., 28 May 2012, available at http:// www.law.uh.edu/ihelg/documents/ExecutiveAuthorityFor DREAMRelief28May2012withSignatures.pdf.
Moreover, the Obama administration’s decision to use deferred action in the systematic manner it has with DACA is not at all exceptional. In 2005, for example, the George W. Bush administration announced deferred action for the approximately 5,500 foreign academic students caught in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina-quite appropriately.
In 2009, then- DHS Secretary Napolitano announced deferred action for the widows of U.S. citizens for two years, to “allow these individuals and their children an opportunity to stay in the country that has become their home while their legal status is resolved.” Secretary Napolitano also used defer action to keep immigrants who are the spouses, parents, and children of military personnel together with their families.
Agency memoranda providing guidance for deferred action programs frequently stated that such exercises of “prosecutorial discretion, are designed to ensure that agency resources are focused on our enforcement priorities, including individuals who pose a threat to public safety, are recent border crossers, or repeatedly violate our immigration laws.” \22\ The DACA program implements similar criteria and is well within the immigration enforcement approaches of this and past administrations.
22\ Wadhia at 68. – Just a year and a half ago, a 5-3 majority of the Supreme Court opined that “A principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials. Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.
,” The Court-in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Associate Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor-went on to specify that “Discretion in the enforcement of immigration law embraces immediate human concerns.
Unauthorized workers trying to support their families, for example, likely pose less danger than alien smugglers or aliens who commit a serious crime.” \23\ That very recent analysis by a broad- based Supreme Court majority is completely at odds with the critics’ cramped interpretation of the President’s immigration enforcement discretionary authority, let alone their equally cramped interpretation of the Constitution’s Take Care clause.
– \23\ Arizona v. United States, 132 S. Ct.2492, 2499 (2012). – Indeed, these critics’ reliance upon the Take Care clause seems particularly out of place, for it is precisely that provision which, construed as it has always been by the courts, is the source of the President’s broad authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion.
As the Supreme Court held in the leading case, Heckler v. Chaney, cited above, decisions not to indict or to institute civil proceedings have “long been regarded as the special province of the Executive Branch, inasmuch as it is the Executive who is charged by the Constitution to `take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”’ Obviously, faithful execution does not empower the President to disregard statutory requirements, but it requires applying specific requirements in a manner that is faithful to effective implementation of the overall statutory scheme, to the other affected laws, and to the Constitution.
That is precisely what the Obama Administration is attempting to do as it phases in an exceptionally complex and consequential new law. the obama administration has correctly determined that aca premium assistance tax credits and subsidies must be available to all eligible americas, whether they reside in states that operate their own exchanges or in states with federally facilitated exchanges Affordable Care Act opponents have taken the Treasury Department to task-and to court-for adopting a regulation in May 2012 \24\ that affirms that ACA premium assistance tax credits and subsidies are available to all eligible Americans nationwide, whether they reside in states that have elected to operate their own insurance exchange market-places or in states that have elected to have the Federal government operate the exchange covering their residents.
These critics, of whom my co-panelist Michael Cannon was among the first and most energetic, assert that Treasury’s interpretive regulation “rewrites the law.” In fact, however, it is Mr. Cannon and his allies who would rewrite the ACA. And from their standpoint as die-hard ACA opponents, for a good reason.
Their invitation to the courts to impose their interpretation is, in their own terms, a play “for all the marbles.” In the 33 or so states now utilizing federally facilitated exchanges, their proposed reinterpretation would, they gloat, “sink” the ACA “drive a stake through the heart of Obamacare,” and “threat” its “survival.” \25\ – \24\ 77 Fed.
- Reg.30,377, 30,378, 30,387 (May 23, 2012) \25\ See, e.g., Michael Cannon, “No Obamacare Exchanges,” National Review Online (April 12, 2012), http://www.nationalreview.com/ articles/295773/no-obamacare-exchanges-michael-f-cannon; Dan Diamond, “Could Halbig et al.v.
- Sebelius Sink Obamacare, The Health Care Blog, (June 11, 2013) (quoting Michael Greve: “This is for all the marbles.”), http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2013/06/11/could-halbig- et-alv-sebelius-sink-obamacare/.
– When the law was enacted in March 2010, no one, on either side of the aisle, had ever heard of, let alone embraced, the Cannon interpretation. The ACA’s fiercest critics agreed with its most fervent supporters about one thing: that it had, and has, a clear and simply stated goal-“to achieve near-universal health insurance coverage,” and they understood that the premium assistance necessary to achieve that goal would be available in all states.
To my knowledge, not until late in 2011 did Mr. Cannon surface his claim to the contrary. He said at the time that he “was first made aware of this aspect of the ACA” in December 2010, nine months after enactment. To ACA opponents probing for any opportunity, no matter how far-fetched, to impede the law’s implementation, the discovery of this apparent “glitch” must have been invigorating.
But In fact, everyone was right at the beginning. The ACA’s text does not sabotage its universally acknowledged purpose of ensuring access to health insurance for millions of Americans who cannot now afford it. To make their implausible case to the contrary, the opponents snatch a few isolated phrases out of context, and ignore the rest of the 2700 page statute.
- Numerous provisions of the law confirm that eligible residents of all states shall receive the premium assistance they need.
- In a nutshell, the text of the ACA provides that if state decides not to set up an Exchange, the federal government is to step in and set one up in its place.
- The same rules apply to all Exchanges, whether it’s the states or the federal government that operates them.
Under the opponents’ tortured reading, all sorts of individual provisions in the statute do not work, and, indeed, the exchange marketplaces themselves will not work. That result, of course, is precisely what these die-hard opponents intend. But it’s the opposite of what the Congress that enacted the ACA intended.
- In order to justify their implausible reading of the ACA’s text, opponents have concocted an even more head-scratching claim-that the sponsors of the law “purposefully” designed it to achieve this self- immolation.
- Their theory is that, by threatening to deprive residents of states of premium tax credits, Congress sought to “coerce” states to set up Exchanges.
If true, what the Act really means, and what its sponsors really intended, is a result that would not only cancel the core benefit the law sought to confer, for the core constituency it aimed to benefit. More remarkably, under the opponents’ misread, the ACA’s sponsors would have intentionally handed over to ACA opponents in state capitols the power to subvert the law in their states.
- In effect, they would have given Mr.
- Cannon’s political allies that “stake” and invited them to drive it through the heart of the ACA.
- Is that plausible? Unsurprisingly, there is not a single piece of evidence in the legislative record to support the notion that Congress was threatening states into setting up Exchanges.
There is no mention of this idea anywhere in the voluminous pages of the debate over the Affordable Care Act. No one, supporter or opponent of the law, brought it up. And certainly no one ever communicated to any state official that they risked depriving their residents of affordable health care if they refused to set up their own Exchanges.
- There is no such thing as a stealth threat.
- A threat must be communicated.
- Here, none ever was.
- In and of itself, this is fatal to the upside-down interpretation opponents are asking the courts to embrace.
- How likely is it that a majority of the Supreme Court, or any court, will endorse the perverse premise of these ACA opponents, and bar access to affordable quality health care for millions of people whom Congress specifically intended to benefit? Such a decision, especially if rendered by an ideologically divided court, will likely appear to the public as a radical ratcheting up of the regrettable tradition of Bush v.
Gore-though less principled and more transparently political. I doubt that the judiciary will take the bait these lawsuits tender, and venture out on that limb. And, self-evidently, it is frivolous to suggest that the Obama Administration is violating the Constitution’s mandate to take care that the laws be faithfully executed by implementing the ACA’s exchange provisions in a manner that is faithful to the ACA’s text, to the purpose of the Congress that enacted it, and to the needs of millions of hard-working Americans for access to affordable health insurance.
Conclusion In sum, the various critiques being vetted here, of the Affordable Care Act and other Obama Administrative initiatives, reflect political and policy-driven criticisms routine in a democratic polity, especially one as polarized as we are today. But attempts to wrap those arguments in the Constitution just thicken the political fog.
They deserve no attention from people who are seriously interested in evaluating competing policy and political claims, or in facilitating, rather than obstructing, resolution of those differences. _ Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Mr. Lazarus. Mr. Cannon, welcome.
TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL CANNON, DIRECTOR OF HEALTH POLICY STUDIES, CATO INSTITUTE Mr. Cannon. Thank you, Mr. Goodlatte and Mr. Conyers and Members of the Committee. I want to start off by saying that the concerns that I am going to be sharing with you today are not born of partisanship. It is no secret that I have worked for Republicans.
I myself am not a Republican. I am acutely aware of the last Republican President’s failure to execute the laws faithfully. In 2008, though I supported neither major party presidential candidate, I actually preferred Barack Obama to his opponent in part because he promised to curb such abuses by the executive, and I praise President Obama for doing more than even many Libertarians to celebrate the gains in equality and freedom our Nation has secured for women, for African Americans, for gays, and for lesbians.
- Article II, section 3 of the Constitution, to which every President swears an oath, commands that the President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
- Fealty to this duty is essential for maintaining our system of Government and public order.
- The law is a reciprocal pact between the Government and the governed.
Public order requires Government to remain faithful to the laws as much as it requires the citizenry to do so because if the actions of Government officials lead citizens to conclude that those officials are no longer meaningfully bound by the law, then citizens will rightly conclude that neither are they.
Since he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, President Obama has failed to execute that law faithfully. The President has unilaterally taken taxpayer dollars made available by the PPACA and diverted them from their congressionally authorized purposes toward purposes for which no Congress has ever appropriated funds.
He has unilaterally and repeatedly rewritten the statute to dispense taxpayer dollars that no Federal law authorizes him to spend and that the PPACA expressly forbids him to spend. He has unilaterally issued blanket waivers to requirements that the PPACA does not authorize him to waive.
At the same time, he has declined to collect taxes that the PPACA orders him to collect, he has unilaterally rewritten the statute to impose billions of dollars in taxes that the PPACA expressly forbids him to impose and to incur billions of dollars in debt that the statute expressly forbids him to incur.
He has unilaterally rewritten the PPACA to allow health insurance products that the statute expressly forbids, and he has encouraged consumers, insurers, and State officials to violate a law that he himself enacted. And he has taken these steps for the purpose of forestalling democratic action by the people’s elected representatives in Congress.
President Obama’s unfaithfulness to the PPACA is so wanton that it is no longer accurate to say that that statute is the law of the land. Today, with respect to health care at least, the law of the land is whatever one man says it is or whatever this divided Congress will let him get away with saying.
What this one man says may flatly contradict Federal statute. It may suddenly confer benefits on favored groups or tax disfavored groups without representation. It may undermine the careful and costly planning done by millions of individuals and businesses.
It may change from day to day. This method of lawmaking has more in common with monarchy than with democracy or a constitutional republic. This President’s failure or any President’s failure to honor his constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully is not a partisan issue. The fact that Presidents from both parties violate this duty is cause not for solace.
It is cause for even greater alarm because it guarantees that Presidents from both parties will replicate and even surpass the abuses of their predecessors as payback for past injustices. The result is that democracy and freedom will suffer no matter who occupies the Oval Office.
- I thank you and I look forward to your questions.
- See Appendix for supplemental material submitted by this witness. _ Mr.
- Thank you, Mr. Cannon.
- I will begin the questioning under the 5-minute rule.
- Professor Rosenkranz, oftentimes the legislative process is about negotiation, about give and take between competing interests and compromise.
How does the President’s creating, amending, suspending, and ignoring acts of Congress at will affect the legislative process? Mr. Rosenkranz. That is a great question, Mr. Chairman. The short-term effect is an aggrandizement of the President, but a predictable long-term effect is legislative gridlock.
There is every reason to believe that Congress will not be able to reach these compromises if they know that these compromises can be unilaterally rewritten in the White House. There is every reason to believe that Congress will grind to a halt under the threat that President Obama will rewrite its handiwork.
Mr. Goodlatte. In fact, couldn’t you argue that that is, indeed, happening right now, that as you try to work out differences between various perspectives on a piece of legislation, those who may be asked to give something that they think the President agrees with them on might say, well, why should I give on that because I can get that changed or done unilaterally by the executive branch, or the party that wants to achieve that says, well, why should I agree to it because they are not going to enforce that anyway? Mr.
- You could imagine such a negotiation about the effective date of Obamacare, but after the statute is passed, President Obama decides what the effective date is quite regardless of what Congress wants.
- So gridlock is quite a predictable result. Mr.
- Professor Turley, the Constitution’s system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of Government from usurping another.
It is about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated Government power. How does the President’s unilateral modification of acts of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people? Mr.
- Turley. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
- The danger is quite severe.
- The problem with what the President is doing is that he is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system, he is becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid, that is, the concentration of power in any single branch.
This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one, but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There are two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all Members of Congress. One is we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama.
- We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority.
- And with that trend, we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch.
- We have agencies that are now quite large that issue regulations.
- The Supreme Court said recently that agencies can actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.
Mr. Goodlatte. I am going to cut you off there because I have got a couple more questions I want to ask and only 2 minutes left. But, Mr. Cannon, you have argued that the President is going to spend billions of dollars Congress did not authorize to provide premium assistance tax credits and subsidies on federally run health care exchanges.
Could you please quickly walk me through why the President’s plan to provide premium assistance on federally run exchanges is indeed illegal? Mr. Cannon. Well, we called those premium assistance tax credits because that is what the statute calls them, but in effect they are Government subsidies. They are Government spending.
And the statute is quite clear. It is clear. It is consistent. It is unambiguous. It was intentional and purposeful when it said that those premium assistance tax credits would be available only to people who purchase health insurance through an exchange “established by the State under section 1311.” That is not just one mention of that phrase.
The phrase is mentioned several times explicitly and through cross references. The statute is very tightly worded, and it makes clear that those tax credits are available only if a State establishes an exchange itself under section 1311. If the Federal Government establishes a Federal fallback exchange, those tax credits are not available because that exchange is established by the Federal Government under section 1321 as the Obama administration has acknowledged in regulation.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you. I agree. Professor Rosenkranz, some defenders of the President’s unilateral actions have asserted that his actions were merely an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Are these assertions correct or is there a fundamental difference between prosecutorial discretion and many of the President’s unilateral actions? Mr.
Rosenkranz. So there are many cases that are close cases. I agree with Professor Turley. But some of these cases are not close. So prosecutorial discretion is one thing, but wholesale suspension of law is quite something else and that is what has happened under Obamacare. Likewise in the immigration context, kind of case-by-case prosecutorial discretion is one thing, but a blanket policy that the Immigration Act will not apply to 1.8 million people, that is quite something different.
This is a scale of decision- making that is not within the traditional conception of prosecutorial discretion. Mr. Goodlatte. In fact, the President has taken it a step further and has actually given legal documents to the people in that circumstance, well beyond simply deciding to leave them there and not prosecute them but to actually enable their violation of the law by giving them documents to help them evade the problems that ensue from living in a country that they are not lawfully present.
Mr. Rosenkranz. Quite right. Mr. Goodlatte. Presently we do not have order in the hearing room. Members of the audience must behave in an orderly fashion or else they will be removed from the hearing room. Rule 11 of the House rules provides that the Chairman of the Committee may punish breaches of order and decorum by censure- – Mr.
Gohmert. Mr. Speaker, could we get security to help? Mr. Goodlatte, And exclusion from the hearing. The Capitol Police will remove the disruptive members from the audience immediately. Ms. Jackson Lee. Would the Chairman yield? Are you allowing some to be able to sit down and therefore comply rather than removing them from the hearing room? Mr.
Goodlatte. I have conferred with the Ranking Member and since we afforded them that opportunity earlier in the hearing, now they are going to be required to leave. Ms. Jackson Lee. Well, my passion is with those who are leaving. Thank you for being here, and I hope that we will come to an understanding- Mr.
Goodlatte. The gentlewoman is out of order. My time has expired, and the Chair now recognizes the Ranking Member, Mr. Conyers, for his questions. Mr. Conyers. Thank you. I am interested in the presentation of Professor Lazarus who was explaining some of his differences with the witness to his left, and I would like to ask if he could pick up that line of discussion.
We are pleased that you are here because there has been so much excitement or excited rhetoric about where the President and his Administration are going. I have never heard this level of hypothesizing as to where this is all going to take us. And I think it is considerably over the top. I am so glad you are here today, and I would ask you to respond, please.
Mr. Lazarus. Thank you very much, Mr. Conyers. The theory that the Affordable Care Act actually intended to cut off the very benefits that the law was passed to create to the very core constituency of needy people that was the target of the law that my friend, Mr.
Cannon, came up with is something that no one on either side of the aisle had any idea about when the law was passed. He and some other clever colleagues came up with this theory at least 9 months, I think, after the law was passed, and they are very happy that they did so. They have gloated that their theory, if adopted by the courts, would drive a stake through the heart of Obamacare.
That is their words, that it would sink the ACA and threaten its survival. In fact, however, the law’s text does not sabotage the universally acknowledged purpose of ensuring access to health insurance for all the millions of Americans who cannot now afford it.
- To make their implausible case to the contrary, Mr.
- Cannon and his colleagues snatch a few isolated words out of context and ignore the rest of this huge statute.
- But if you look at the entire statute, you quickly have to conclude that the whole text, not just these isolated phrases, harmonize the purpose of the statute with its text, meaning that all Americans who are eligible for the benefits to enable them to afford insurance will be able to have them whether or not they reside in Federal exchange States or State exchange States.
I might add just one quick thing, and that is, so Mr. Cannon and his friends soon realized that their reading of the text did not make sense and hang together. So they came up with an even more head-scratching claim, and that is that the sponsors of the law “intentionally and purposefully designed it to achieve this self-immolation.” And Mr.
Cannon just referred to that argument. So what this means, it means that the ACA sponsors actually intended not only to stiff the very people that they wanted to benefit. It actually means that they intentionally handed over to Mr. Cannon’s allies in State capitals the stake that he talks about and invited them, if they chose to do so, to drive it through the heart of the ACA.
I mean, we have to imagine really-in order for your theory to make sense, one has to imagine Senator Baucus, Senator Murray, Senator Reed, that well-known soft touch, Senator Schumer getting together in a room off the Senate floor and saying I know what we are going to do.
We are going to enable all the Republican Governors and State legislators just to decide that the ACA will not work in their States. Unsurprisingly, there is not a single piece of evidence in the legislative record to support this notion, and what is really going on, I am afraid is that having lost politically, having lost in the Supreme Court, the ACA opponents who are clinging to this theory are hoping that the courts will bail them out once again.
That is an awfully big political lift. I do not think that the courts are going to do that. Mr. Conyers. Thank you so much. Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent to put in the record this report by the “New Republic” of November of this year entitled “Obamacare’s Single Most Relentless Antagonist,” who is our distinguished witness here today.
Mr. Issa. Reserving. Can I just ask one quick question, Mr. Chairman? Is the “New Republic” doing reports or articles? Mr. Conyers. Reports or articles? I cannot tell you. You mean on the one that I am introducing? Mr. Issa. Yes, Mr. Ranking Member. I only ask because I am fine to have newspapers and op-eds and so on put in the record.
I just want to have them characterized not as a report as though they have some substantive, factual backing. Mr. Conyers. Well, I have never been asked this question before. Mr. Issa. Only because I am often called the President’s antagonist, and I am not sure that a report that left me out would be justified as factual.
- Mr. Goodlatte.
- Without objection, the “New Republic” article entitled “Obamacare’s Single Most Relentless Antagonist”-and I am sure both the author of the theory with regard to the Federal use of those funds and the gentleman from California would both be proud to have the article in the record, and therefore we will, without objection, make it a part of the record.
_ Mr. Conyers. And I am sorry to disappoint my friend. Your name is not even mentioned in this article. Mr. Issa. It is an oversight. Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Goodlatte. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Smith, for 5 minutes. Mr. Smith of Texas.
- Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr.
- Chairman, in my judgment, the President has ignored laws, failed to enforce laws, undermined laws, and changed laws, all contrary to the Constitution.
- It seems to me that the President is trying to make laws by executive decree at news conferences.
- But in a 2012 interview, the President said that he could not “wave away the laws that Congress put in place,” and that “the President does not have the authority to simply ignore Congress and say we are not going to enforce the laws that you passed.” Yet, it seems to me that is exactly what he has done.
I would like to address my first question to Professor Turley, Professor Rosenkranz, and Director Cannon. I think I know their answer, but the question is, do you think in fact the President has acted contrary to the Constitution? Professor Turley, you mentioned that you supported the President’s policies and even voted for him.
Yet, you say he has crossed the constitutional line. The legislative process is not an option, and what the President has done is dangerous. So I assume your answer is, yes, the President has acted contrary to the Constitution. Is that right? Mr. Turley. It is. And I would also just add, Congressman, that this was an issue that the Framers considered.
You know, 150 years before they drafted this provision, which did not change much in the Committee, this was a fight with James I. The Framers were very familiar with it, and I think that is what gave life to this very clause. Mr. Smith of Texas. Thank you.
And, Professor Rosenkranz, do you think the President has acted contrary to the Constitution? Mr. Rosenkranz. Representative, I would say that some of these cases are close cases but some are not. So the wholesale suspension of law, for example, is I would say the paradigm case of a Take Care Clause violation, yes.
Mr. Smith of Texas. Okay, thank you. And Director Cannon? Mr. Cannon. Yes. Mr. Smith of Texas. That was quick and easy. Thank you. My next question is a little bit tougher, and that is what can Congress or the American people do about it. How can we restrain the President from acting in a way contrary to the Constitution? Professor Turley? Mr.
Turley. That is, I think, the most difficult question that we face. I have had the honor of representing Members of both parties of Congress and going to the courts. And the courts are quite hostile toward a Member’s standing, for example, when they believe a violation of the Constitution has occurred.
It is in fact Member standing that would solve many of our problems; that is, if Members could go to the courts and raise violations of the constitution, it would make much of these difficulties go away. You will note that the Administration has made reference to the fact-and I think they have some support for this-that they doubt people would have standing to challenge many of these acts.
So we have something that the Framers would never have accepted, that you can have violations of the Constitution and literally no one can raise the issue successfully with the courts for review. Mr. Smith of Texas. Professor Rosenkranz? Mr. Rosenkranz. I am actually not sure I agree with Professor Turley on the standing question.
It is quite true that some of these violations may not be amenable to judicial review. Ultimately, though, the check on this sort of constitutional violation is elections. So this is exactly the sort of hearing we ought to be having, exactly the sort of hearing that the electorate ought to be paying attention to for our next round of elections.
Mr. Smith of Texas. Okay, thank you. And Director Cannon. Mr. Cannon. I think there is little that Congress can do if it is divided over the President’s abuse of his authority, but fortunately-and as far as judicial remedies go, it is very difficult to challenge an action of the President when he relaxes an obligation on a certain party.
It is much easier to find a plaintiff who has standing to challenge an action that imposes new obligations that the legislature never approved. That is what has happened in the case of the President issuing premium assistance tax credits through Federal exchanges because those tax credits will trigger taxes, penalties, on employers and individuals in those 34 States that have refused to establish an exchange.
- And a number of those employers and individuals, including two State attorneys general, 15 Indiana school districts, and a dozen or more private employers and private citizens have filed suit, four different lawsuits.
- In fact, one of them will have oral arguments this afternoon here in Washington, D.C.
So there is a judicial remedy for some of these abuses. Mr. Smith of Texas. Okay, good. Thank you, Director Cannon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. Mr. Goodlatte. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler, for 5 minutes. Mr. Nadler. Thank you, Mr.
- Chairman. Mr.
- Lazarus, Professor Rosenkranz has written in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that Abraham Lincoln would not approve of the delay in the employer mandate and contrasts this decision with Lincoln’s decision on habeas corpus.
- Could you comment on the claim that Lincoln would disapprove, and what about the contrast with the suspension of habeas corpus by Lincoln? Mr.
Lazarus. Yes, I read that article with some amusement, I have to say, Professor Rosenkranz. I think that President Lincoln would chuckle somewhat contemptuously at the notion that there is an equation between suspending the writ of habeas corpus, perhaps the most fundamental guarantee of freedom in our whole system, with a temporary delay in the implementation of a provision that is part of a very complex, new law, which is something that happens under all Administrations, has to happen sometimes for practical reasons.
- Why we are making a big fuss about this as a constitutional matter-well, it is not beyond me.
- I understand why it is being done.
- If it sounds like politics, that is what it is.
- But to make that kind of a comparison, Professor Rosenkranz, does not do justice, I think, to your position at Georgetown. Mr.
May I- Mr. Nadler. Thank you. No, no. I have too little time for too many questions. Let me start by saying that I generally in many respects agree with Professor Turley about the growth of the imperial presidency over the last half century or more. I am particularly concerned about the abuse of the war powers by many Presidents, the use of the state secrets doctrine to prevent enforcement of constitutional rights, the dragnet surveillance that we have seen under Bush and Obama beyond the contemplation of the Patriot Act, warrantless surveillance in the Bush administration, and things like that.
- I must say that everything we are talking about today is laughable in my opinion in the context of these problems.
- I am particularly struck by the overwhelming hypocrisy of the claim that the President, in interpreting the law, in refusing to interpret the law in a way that would drive a stake through the law, is not enforcing the law.
In demanding that he enforce the law on the dates in a way that the person making that demand says we destroy the law is not taking care that the laws be faithfully executed. I would say it is the other way around, that it is the duty of the President to interpret the law within the boundaries that he has in a way that makes practical the implementation of the law to effectuate the will of Congress.
- And the fact that people who want to sabotage the law and want the law not to work and make no bones about it say, hey, he is not obeying this particular sentence in order to make the law work-talk about hypocrisy.
- Let me ask a question, having made my statement.
- I want to ask Mr.
- Lazarus the following question.
The District of Columbia Circuit recently in a decision by Judge Kavanaugh recently wrote the following. “The executive’s broad prosecutorial discretion and pardon powers illustrate a key point of the Constitution’s separation of powers. One of the greatest unilateral powers a President possesses under the Constitution, at least in the domestic sphere, is the power to protect individual liberty by essentially under-enforcing federal statutes regulating private behavior-more precisely, the power either not to seek charges against violators of a federal law or to pardon violators of a federal law.” Now, this would seem to support broad discretion in the executive branch to set enforcement and therefore nonenforcement priorities of drug, immigration, and other laws.
- Does it not? And how does that relate to the alleged violation of the Constitution by the President in setting immigration enforcement priorities as was outlined earlier? Mr. Lazarus.
- Well, thank you very much, Congressman Nadler.
- And of course, what Judge Kavanaugh, who is one of the most respected and most conservative judges on the Federal bench- what he said here is absolutely correct.
And the principles that he is enunciating are precisely why a court, if faced with the issue, would undoubtedly uphold as perfectly compatible with the President’s discretion in the immigration area, in particular the DACA program that my co-panelists here are claiming is a gross violation of his duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
I would like to, if I can, just quote one other authority, and that is the Supreme Court in an important decision about a year and a half ago, a 5 to 3 majority, including Justice Kennedy who wrote the opinion and Chief Justice Roberts opined that, quote, a principal feature of the removal system in the immigration area is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials.
Federal officials, he said, as an initial matter must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all. And they went on to say that discretion in the enforcement of immigration law embraces immediate human concerns. Unauthorized workers trying to support their families, for example, likely pose less danger than alien smugglers or aliens who commit a serious crime.
And that very recent broad-based decision, like Judge Kavanaugh’s remarks, is completely at odds with the critics’ cramped interpretation of the President’s immigration enforcement and his constitutional authority. Mr. Nadler. Well, I wanted to ask Mr. Rosenkranz if he agreed with Judge Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court.
I will ask unanimous consent for an additional minute so Mr. Rosenkranz can answer that, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Goodlatte. Without objection, the gentleman will have an additional 1 minute. Mr. Rosenkranz? Mr. Rosenkranz. I am glad you asked because Judge Kavanaugh also said quite recently in 2013, quote, the President may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections.
Of course, if Congress appropriates no money for a statutorily mandated program, the executive obviously cannot move forward, but absent a lack of funds or a claim of unconstitutionality that has not been rejected by final court order, the executive must abide by statutory mandates and prohibitions.
I think Judge Kavanaugh is exactly right. Mr. Nadler. Of course, that is not the question. The question was delay here. Thank you. Mr. Goodlatte. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot, for 5 minutes. Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Rosenkranz and Mr.
- Cannon, Mr.
- Lazarus had commented upon previous writings of yours, but you were not afforded the opportunity to respond.
- Did you want to take a moment to do that? I will go with you first, Mr.
- Rosenkranz. Mr.
- Thank you so much.0 So there was a comment about an op-ed that I wrote in The Wall Street Journal comparing Lincoln’s suspension of habeas with President Obama’s suspension of Obamacare.
Of course, I agree with Mr. Lazarus that these things are not the same. Habeas and Obamacare are not the same. But what is striking about the comparison is that President Lincoln welcomed the involvement of Congress, welcomed Congress to ratify what he had done, to pass a statute justifying what he had done.
He was concerned that perhaps he had overstepped his constitutional authority. He welcomed Congress’ ratification of his action. President Obama, by contrast, actually threatened to veto a statute that would have ratified his action. That I think is the startling contrast that I was trying to bring out in that op-ed.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. Mr. Cannon? Mr. Cannon. Mr. Lazarus and, whenever this issue comes up of whether premium assistance tax credits are authorized in the 34 States and Federal exchanges, supporters of the Administration, of the IRS’s decision to offer them in States with Federal exchanges talk a lot about what Congress must have been thinking or could possibly have been thinking or would they have done this.
- And there is a reason they do that.
- It is because the statute is clear and it contradicts what the Obama administration is trying to do.
- And unfortunately for the Administration, the legislative history also is completely consistent with the clear language of the statute.
- Despite 2 years of people like me raising this issue that what the IRS is trying to do is illegal, they have yet to offer one shred of-one statutory provision or one shred of evidence from the legislative history that supports their claim that this statute authorizes tax credits through exchanges established by the Federal Government under section 1321 or that it was Congress’ intent for this statute to authorize tax credits through those exchanges.
So there is a lot more to be said about all of this. If I may, I would like to respond to something that Mr. Nadler- Mr. Chabot. No. Let me cut you off at this point. I have only got a limited amount of time. Mr. Turley, let me ask you this. You had mentioned something along the lines of you were concerned that President Obama is becoming the very danger that the separation of powers was meant to prevent.
And Mr. Lazarus mentioned earlier that-I do not know who exactly he is referring to but some are hyperventilating about this whole topic. Would you want to comment on both of those things, either in relation to each other or not? Mr. Turley. Sure. Mr. Lazarus may be responding to my labored breathing with the flu, but it is not my testimony.
The reason I think that we have this disconnect in our view of this clause is that we obviously read the history differently. I view the Constitutional Convention as quite clear. The Framers were students of history, particularly James Madison, 150 years before they took a pen and wrote out this clause, there was a fight with James I about what was called the “royal prerogative.” It is very similar to what President Obama is claiming, the right of the king to essentially stand above the law to reform the law to the king’s views.
- Now, I am not saying that President Obama is a monarch.
- But that was the issue that gave the impetus to this clause in my view.
- The language of the clause did not change very much.
- Later, people like Benjamin Civiletti dealt with this under a different term, the “dispensing power” of the President.
- And Civiletti wrote a very good paper about when the President could refuse to enforce laws, and he basically said that it could only be done where there is an intrusion upon executive power-and by the way, that is what was involved in the Miers case that we talked about and referred to earlier-or if it was clearly unconstitutional.
And that second issue-he established it had to be very, very clear so the President does not exercise dispensing authority. So this is how I would respond. We do not have to hyperventilate to look at a problem of this kind and say that this is not about who the President is today or what he is trying to achieve.
What is lacking from the other side is any notion of what the world will look like in a tripartite system if the President can literally ignore any deadline in a major piece of legislation, exclude whole classes of people from enforcement. The question is what is left in that Newtonian orbit that Madison described.
And I would suggest what is left is a very dangerous and unstable system. Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. My time has expired. I yield back. Mr. Goodlatte. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott, for 5 minutes. Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Lazarus, first of all, on the ACA, it seems to me absurd that the Federal exchanges that are there for all intents and purposes to serve as the State exchange or State marketplace-it would be absurd to interpret that they are there for all intents and purposes except for the purpose of the bill, which is the subsidies.
Is that right? Mr. Lazarus. It is obviously absurd, Congressman Scott. And therefore, to say that the President is violating his duty to see that the law is faithfully enforced because he interprets the law in a way that is consistent with its purpose and consistent with the known objectives of the Congress that enacted it is also, it seems to me, quite absurd.
- Mr. Scott.
- Thank you.
- The Congressional Research Service provided several examples in prior Administrations where the IRS delayed enforcement despite a congressionally mandated effective date.
- Can you say a word about the President’s power to delay implementations of provisions particularly when compliance is logistically impossible? Mr.
Lazarus. Yes. And I think actually despite the sparks that are flying around this room about the President’s actions with respect to the Affordable Care Act, really these principles are really quite simple. Several people have noted that the President cannot refuse to enforce a law for policy reasons.
It is obviously correct, certainly correct, and it is also obviously not what the President is doing. Does the President have policy objections to the Affordable Care Act? I do not think so. Phasing in the enforcement of major statutes like the Affordable Care Act or the Clean Air Act or other laws, certainly laws that the EPA administers miss statutory deadlines very, very frequently because it is simply logistically impossible to prudently implement them in accord with those deadlines.
This is just a tempest in a teapot. Mr. Scott. Thank you. Mr. Lazarus. And if I can say one further thing about your first question, Congressman Scott. We should understand what the consequences of Mr. Cannon’s interpretation of the ACA would be and why it would drive a stake through the heart of the ACA in every Federal exchange state.
- It is not just that it would keep maybe 80 percent of the people who were expected to enroll for insurance on exchanges from being able to afford that insurance.80 percent.
- So it would really wreck that part of the program.
- But actually it would probably just cause the entire individual insurance market, even for people who could afford insurance, to implode because it would so screw up the actuarial calculations.
So it really would drive a stake through the heart of the law in those States. And to say that Congress intended-intended-to do that is-I do not know. It is just pretty hard to stomach. Mr. Scott. Thank you. In November 1999, 28 bipartisan Members of the House wrote the Attorney General a letter and expressed concern that INS was pursuing removal in some cases, “when so many other more serious cases existed.” How do you set priorities? If the President cannot set priorities in enforcement when there is obviously not enough money to enforce each and every provision to the letter of the law, how do you set priorities if he cannot enforce each and every provision? Mr.
- Lazarus. The answer is it is the essence of the executive responsibility to do just that.
- And I might note that I think that President Obama has increased the number of deportations, to the consternation of some of his own supporters, a very great deal, as everyone here I am sure is well aware, and my understanding is he has increased it to 400,000 people a year which is nearly four times as many as the number was around 2000.
The reason for that is that is all the funds that Congress has appropriated for that. Mr. Scott. My time is about to expire. I wanted to get in one other question. Can you talk about the obligation of the President to defend the Defense of Marriage Act when he believes it to be unconstitutional? Mr.
Lazarus. Yes. I agree that the President should only very, very rarely and with extremely good reason decline to defend a law in court, and I have written about that. And I think it is hard to fault what the President did in the case of DOMA. He concluded with very good reason that there was simply no argument that could justify DOMA.
He notified the Congress of this decision. He continued to enforce it. He invited Congress to intervene in litigation to present that point of view, and ultimately the Supreme Court vindicated his judgment. So it seems to me it is very difficult to claim everyone on all sides of these debates in both parties agrees that the Take Care Clause contemplates that the President may decline to enforce a law which he concludes in a responsible way is unconstitutional.
Mr. Chabot, The gentleman’s time has expired. Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to introduce into the record the letter I referred to. Mr. Chabot. Without objection, so ordered. _ Mr. Chabot. The gentleman from California, Mr. Issa, is recognized. Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Lazarus, I hear you on the President deeply believing in his policy, his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, but he deeply believes, I am sure, in every item that he wants appropriated from Congress.
But 2 years later, it expires. Right? And 2 years later, he cannot just spend money unless he comes back to Congress for more money. Is that not true? That is implicit in the Constitution. Mr. Lazarus. I apologize, but I do not really understand the question, Congressman Issa.
Mr. Issa. When the President’s authority has run out, he must come back to the Congress for new authority. In the case of the Affordable Care Act, things which were not in the law have gone wrong. This act, this 2,400 pages that had to be passed and then read, has flaws in it, and these are fatal flaws if not corrected.
Isn’t that so? Including the absence of an answer to how do you subsidize if in fact a State chooses not to do it. Mr. Rosenkranz, if the law does not give the President authority and something goes wrong, I am presuming that the Framers always intended that you would come back to the Congress to resolve that need for additional authority.
- It has happened.
- It was earlier mentioned Abraham Lincoln came back to have his suspension of habeas-attempt to have it ratified because he knew, even if he did it by executive order, he had limited jurisdiction.
- He wanted to have it codified.
- I think a good example would be McArthur’s promise in war.
- They came back with the Rescission Act in order to undo some of the promises that were made in war to the Filipino people and so on.
Is there anything in the Affordable Care Act that is different than any other time that something that is not in the law occurs that is outside the law that you come to Congress and say I need authority to do X? Please. Mr. Rosenkranz. I quite agree, Congressman.
- It is really quite startling that this Congress-this House offered to ratify exactly what the President wanted to do, actually passed a bill which would have delayed the employer mandate exactly as the President wanted, and far from welcoming this, the President actually threatened to veto it.
- To me that is quite startling.
Mr. Issa. I want to go through a couple things I think we can all agree on and get to something Mr. Turley said. Would you all agree, without further pontificating, that when Andy Jackson heard from the U.S. Supreme Court that he had no right to move Native Americans out of their homes to Oklahoma and he then did it anyway, saying essentially to the Supreme Court you have no army, therefore I am doing it, that he was outside his constitutional authority? You would all agree to that.
Let the record show I had all- Mr. Lazarus. I certainly would agree to that. Mr. Issa. Okay. I had all shaking heads. When Richard Nixon tried to withhold his tapes, which were essentially evidence of his complicity in the Watergate and the cover-up and the court ordered those tapes, even after he had fired a number of people and so on, you would all agree that the court’s action was appropriate that there was a crime, it went to the White House, and ultimately led to Richard Nixon resigning? You would all agree that it was appropriate, I assume, for the court to intervene in this constitutional dilemma of a President that did not want to turn over evidence related to his crime.
Would you all agree? Mr. Lazarus. I would. Mr. Issa. Good. And would you all agree-maybe, maybe not-that when President Bush asserted in the Harriet Miers case-and this was referred to earlier-that when Judge Bates essentially said Congress has a need to get people in front of it, whether that person speaks or not, ultimately-and this is Mr.
Conyers’ case-that in fact the court intervened and said, yes, I have a right to decide and you must produce witnesses. You would all agree that that was a good balance of power decision by Judge Bates. Is that correct in George W.’s case? Okay. Then on what basis does President Obama say he is above the law when in Fast and Furious he asserted that the court had no right to even decide whether or not a lawfully delivered subpoena should, in fact, be complied with? And in this case, Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ruled that, yes, she has the right to decide it.
The question for all of you is if we cannot go to the courts as Congress with our standing after a contempt vote, if we cannot go and get the court to decide the differences between the two branches, then in fact as some of my Democratic friends have asserted, the imperial presidency is complete? Isn’t that the most essential item that if in fact we do not have standing, if in fact the court does not have a right to decide, then executive power is essentially unlimited? Mr.
- Turley, you have written on this. Mr. Turley.
- May I answer? Mr. Issa.
- I would ask for 1 minute for full answering. Mr.
- Without objection, the gentleman is granted 1 additional minute. Mr. Turley.
- I certainly agree that that is part of the problem here, that we have created a system by which Presidents can assert powers that others view as unconstitutional.
I think the President is asserting clearly unconstitutional power in this case. And then the Department of Justice proceeds to try to block any effort of judicial review. This Administration has been very successful largely on standing grounds. So there is no ability to challenge these things even if they are viewed as flagrantly in violation of the Constitution.
- I will also add with reference to your earlier point one of the things that the courts say when those of us who represent Members go to the court and say the President is acting unconstitutionally-we hear this mantra from the judges saying, well, you have the power of the purse.
- But in this case, it is the power of purse that is being violated, and we have hundreds of millions of dollars that are being essentially shifted in a way that Congress never approved.
And so we have in many ways a perfect storm. Even the power of the purse that is often cited by the courts really does not mean much if the President can just shift funds unilaterally without any type of review. Mr. Issa. Anyone else? Mr. Lazarus. I guess the only thing I would say-and I do not claim to be an expert on standing, as I think some of my co-panelists- Mr.
- Issa. I am more interested in the standing of the court, which was the question.
- Does the Federal court have the right and obligation to make those final decisions on essentially balance of power, and if not, aren’t we doomed? Mr. Lazarus.
- Well, I would just say two quick things.
- I mean, first of all, the courts do not have authority-they have authority under the Constitution to hear cases and controversies, and the courts do not have constitutional authority to decide matters that are not cases or controversies.
And that is why we have standing rules. The second thing I would just say, Congressman- Mr. Issa. So refusal to comply with a subpoena would not be a problem. Therefore, Nixon should never have resigned because his tapes never would have been discovered in your example.
Mr. Lazarus. I do not think that that follows. Mr. Issa. He did not turn them over without being ordered to. Mr. Lazarus. Yes, he might have. Mr. Issa. Mr. Rosenkranz, final. Mr. Rosenkranz. I guess I would just say some of the standing questions may well be tricky, but again the ultimate check on presidential lawlessness is elections and in extreme cases impeachment, but elections primarily should be the check.
Mr. Issa. So when the IRS prevents the word from getting out by conservative groups, they in fact thwart the election. Therefore, elections are no longer the final answer. Are they? Mr. Rosenkranz. To the extent that the IRS targeting is an example of discriminatory enforcement, you are quite right.
- It is actually the most corrosive form of a Take Care Clause violation because it does cast doubt on everything that follows, casts doubt on the elections that follow.
- So you are quite right. Mr. Issa.
- Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr.
- The gentleman from Georgia, Mr.
- Johnson, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Johnson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this very important and significant hearing today. This hearing is pure political theater. It is a farce plain and simple. It is a comedy but the audience has seen it so many times now that it is no longer funny.
- In fact, this hearing is an egregious waste of this Committee’s time especially when one considers all of the legislation that remains unaddressed by the House like immigration reform.
- The Senate has passed comprehensive immigration reform, but the Speaker of the House continues to refuse to bring the issue to the House floor.
Yesterday, as House Members walked down the Capitol steps on their way home from an exhausting 1-hour workday, I watched as most Members had their heads down. They wanted to avoid eye contact with the 50 or so young people standing at the foot of the steps in the cold wind.
They had their hands clapped together-the young people-in prayer. Their prayer was on behalf of those families of immigrants that are being destroyed as a result of this Nation’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Their prayer was a simple one, that Speaker Boehner allow the House to vote on comprehensive immigration reform before the end of this session of Congress.
The spectacle of those kids shivering in prayer in the cold last night could not be avoided by the Members of Congress. So most kept their heads down probably in shame as they hastily escaped to the safety of their cars. I suggest that this Committee hold a hearing on the question of why, despite immigration reform being supported by a majority of Americans, having been passed by the Senate and the President having said that he will sign it if it ever gets to his desk-why is it that we cannot bring that measure to the House floor for a vote? Mr.
Chairman, this do-nothing House has only 7 legislative days left before it adjourns for its well-earned year-end holiday. The same Republican Party that has voted 46 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act is today ironically complaining that the President is not implementing the law quickly enough. But at its essence, this hearing sadly is simply a continuation of the majority’s overwhelmingly obsessive and insatiable desire to kill the Affordable Care Act which will enable 30 million Americans to have health care-32 million Americans.46 times they have tried and failed to kill it.
The result of this hearing will not change the fact that Obamacare is the law of the land. And since today we are hearing testimony on the use of executive authority, let’s not forget that the key authority for Congress to check the power of the executive is its Article I authority over appropriations.
And by the way, this Congress has not yet passed a budget. Congress continues to shirk its constitutional duties under Article I. funding the Government through short-term resolutions is not leadership and the American people deserve better. So after holding yet another hearing to obstruct this Administration, perhaps this Committee can also take up the question of Congress’ duties under Article I in a hearing entitled “The Congress’ Constitutional Duty to Appropriate Funds.” Now, as far as the Affordable Care Act is concerned, the individual mandate is constitutional.
It will reduce costs, prohibit discrimination against patients with preexisting conditions, and extend coverage to the uninsured. It will extend coverage to 32 million Americans. The individual mandate is the key to this legislation being successful. It will ensure that millions of Americans will not have to worry about being denied health care because of a current medical condition or a fear that their coverage will be capped if they get sick.
To the Members who have served longer than I on this Committee, I invite you to look back to 2003 when a Republican- led Congress enacted the law creating the Medicare prescription drug program. Most Democrats voted against the bill in 2003. The program was also very unpopular with most Americans, but Democratic Members worked hard when the program was implemented in 2006 and 2007 to make sure that their constituents received the full benefits of the program.
It is unfortunate that the Republicans today are not doing the same thing. Mr. Lazarus, this is not the first Administration to temporarily postpone the application of new legislation. How have prior Republican and Democratic administrations treated the implementation of statutes when statutory deadlines become unworkable? Mr.
Goodlatte. Without objection, the gentleman will have 1 additional minute to allow Mr. Lazarus the opportunity to respond. Mr. Lazarus. I will try not to take the whole minute. The answer is that prior Administrations have done just what this Administration is doing because they have to. I quoted President Bush’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, in saying that the President’s current decision to delay the employer mandate was wise, and he said that and then cited his own experience in phasing in Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit program.
The Environmental Protection Agency under all Administrations faces statutory deadlines that cannot be met. We all know that. The Bush administration was often chastised by environmental groups for missing statutory deadlines and the environmental community charged and charged in court, in fact, that the Bush administration was using delays as a cover for simply suspending the law as a de facto matter.
- I do not know what the basis for that was or was not.
- Of course, again if a President refuses to enforce a law for policy reasons, that is a violation of his “take care” duties, but that is not what is going on here. Mr. Johnson.
- Thank you.
- I yield back. Mr.
- The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Iowa, Mr.
King, for 5 minutes. Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the witnesses for your testimony. This has been one of the most interesting that I have been seated here more than a decade on this Committee. As I listened, I listened to Mr. Lazarus and often your dialogue goes to the policy effect of this rather than being tied to the constitutional language or the statutory language, although you have referenced both.
I am curious as to what you think the limited powers of the President might be given you grant him such latitude to amend Obamacare, extend the statutory deadline because it conforms with the broader intent of the law and your reference to the intent of Congress that they really intended to allow for the application of taxes and the distribution of refundable tax credits even though Mr.
Cannon testifies that that is not in the section that applies. So from a broader perspective, could you tell me how you think the President’s powers are limited? And I would maybe just ask, does he have the power to lay and collect taxes? Mr. Lazarus. Well, first of all, I think that the President’s powers are limited by what the statute provides, and I think I have said several times I agree entirely that the President cannot simply refuse to apply or enforce a law for policy reasons.
Mr. King. But can he regulate commerce, for example? Mr. Lazarus. The President is obligated to phase in a new law. Mr. King. I am sorry, Mr. Lazarus. I hear that. But I am trying to get to the constitutional limitations that you think the President has. Let me just bypass the enumerated powers with the exception of what would happen-and I am concerned about Mr.
Turley’s statement that we get into a pretty dangerous area here if we do not have constitutional limitations. What if we just leap to the end of this thing? What if the President declared war? What if he assumed that authority? What is the recourse then? What would your counsel be to this Congress if we objected to such a thing or even if we objected to it on purely constitutional grounds and we thought it was a good policy decision and vetoed our resolution to declare war? That should get us to the bottom of this discussion.
Mr. Lazarus. Well, the President does not have the authority under the Constitution to declare war. Mr. King. Correct. Mr. Lazarus. The Congress does. The Congress has not been enormously eager to exercise that authority in my lifetime. But that is a very complicated subject and it is the subject of- Mr. King.
Thank you, Mr. Lazarus. Mr. Lazarus, Interplay between Congress and the executive branch. There is a War Powers Act. There are disputes about- Mr. King. Let me then pick it up from there. I am illustrating this point that if there is an incremental march down through, is the President overreaching his constitutional authority in my opinion and I think the opinion of many people on this Committee in this room.
He could assume among that any of the enumerated powers, and the recourse that Congress would have-all the way down to the declaration of war-and the recourse that Congress would have would be pass a resolution of disapproval or we could shut off the funding through the power of the purse. And the President has already assumed the power of the purse.
So the next recourse is go to the courts, and if we find out that the courts do not grant standing for Members of Congress, then the next recourse is, I think as Mr. Rosenkranz said, the word that we do not like to say in this Committee and I am not about to utter here in this particular hearing.
The balance I want to come to is ask Mr. Cannon this question. The frustration of this balance of power is because of the disrespect for the various branches, the competing branches, of Government that come. And I will argue that the Founding Fathers envisioned that each branch of Government would jealously protect its constitutional power and authority, and that static balance that would be there would be the definition of a brighter line between the three articles of the Constitution.
But what then finally resolves this? I know we said elections. If the elections are affected by decisions of the executive branch, what do the people do who are the final arbiters of this definition of the Constitution if they are even frustrated by the election? Mr.
- Lazarus. Is this to me or- Mr. King.
- I am asking Mr.
- Cannon, please. Mr. Cannon.
- I think it was to me.
- And you are asking if there is no judicial remedy and there is no electoral remedy, what do the people do? To what particular sort of abuses are you- Mr. King.
- Any one of the list of the enumerated powers, for example, ending with the declaration of war because that is the starkest of all.
Mr. Cannon. There is a procedure in the Constitution that allows the people to amend the Constitution without going through Congress. That is another method where the people can try to restrain the executive. Mr. King. May I suggest then if that should happen, why would an executive with such disrespect for the Constitution today honor an amended Constitution from a constitutional convention? Mr.
Cannon. That is an excellent question. Mr. King. I would like to turn to Mr. Turley and ask him if he has had a chance to reflect upon that earlier statement of the situation that we are in and where this goes. We need to look into this future. I would ask unanimous consent for that additional minute. I ask each of the witnesses to tell us what does America look like in the next 25 years if we have executive upon executive that builds upon this continual stretching or disregard of the constitutional restraints and the disrespect for Article I.
I would start with Mr. Turley. Mr. Gowdy, You may answer the question as quickly as you can. Mr. Turley. I really have great trepidation over where we are heading because we are creating a new system here, something that is not what was designed. We have this rising fourth branch in a system that is tripartite.
The center of gravity is shifting, and that makes it unstable. And within that system, you have the rise of an uber-presidency. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. And I really think that the Framers would be horrified by that shift because everything they have dedicated themselves to was creating this orbital balance, and we have lost it.
Mr. Rosenkranz. As I have said before, I think the ultimate check is elections. But I do not think you should be hesitant to speak the word in this room. A check on executive lawlessness is impeachment, and if you find that the President is willfully and repeatedly violating the Constitution, if on your hypothetical he were to declare war, I would think that would be a clear case for impeachment.
- Mr. Lazarus.
- Well, I guess this is the first time I have heard anyone complain about the possibility that this President is going to unilaterally declare war and be over-aggressive about that.
- I do not really think that is much of a description of his foreign policy.
- But the Congress has lots of power if it chooses to use it.
The power of the purse is an enormous power. And I think that if I were you, I would find ways to influence policy using the Congress’ powers, which you are not doing. I mean, for example, we are hearing complaints about the President’s actions to not enforce deportation against certain classes of immigrants.
- You know, instead of complaining about that, this Committee could hold a markup and report out a comprehensive immigration reform bill, send it to the floor. Mr. Gowdy. Mr.
- Lazarus, you are-not you but the questioner is 2 and a half minutes over.
- So if you can dispense with giving us advice on what our legislative agenda should look like and answer the question, I would be grateful to you.
Mr. Lazarus. Well, but that is an answer. I think the Congress has a lot of power and it can use it. Mr. Gowdy. Okay. And I assume that the failure to exercise is also an exercise of power, the failure to act. Mr. Cannon, would you like to briefly answer? Mr.
Cannon. Maybe Mr. Lazarus knows better than I do how many bombs the President has to drop without congressional authorization before that becomes war. I do not know the actual number. But I think what Mr. King was getting at is there is one last thing to which the people can resort if the Government does not respect the restraints that the Constitution places on the Government.
Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our Government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it, and that is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate. But as I mentioned in my written and my delivered testimony, if the people come to believe that the Government is no longer constrained by the laws, then they will conclude that neither are they.
That is why this is a very, very dangerous sort of thing for the President to do, to wantonly ignore the laws, to try to impose obligations on people that the legislature did not approve. Mr. King. An excellent conclusion. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. Mr. Gowdy. The Chair would now recognize the gentleman from Pennsylvania, former United States Attorney, Mr.
Marino. Mr. Marino. Thank you, Chairman. Professor Lazarus, you made a statement about-at least I inferred, about this being political. I want to assure you that I left a lucrative law practice to come to Congress in 2011 because I continually see the eroding of the Constitution.
I am a constitutionalist. It is what protects us. So I am not here for the pomp and circumstance, for the notoriety or to promote my career. I am here because I am concerned about the future of my children and the Constitution. So I want to make that perfectly clear. Number two, you made a comment, and again I inferred that the intent was not an issue or was an issue in part of the Affordable Care Act.
And I do not want to get into the details of that, but I find that interesting that you made intent the issue when the Speaker of the House at that time, Nancy Pelosi, said we have to pass it before we know what is in it. Okay? So let’s get real about this.
Now we are finding what is in it or what is not in it, and I am hearing consistently from my constituents, small businesses, how this is destroying them. Let me be the first to say that I think everyone needs health care, and those that cannot afford it-we that can afford it have to help those individuals.
I firmly and truly believe that. So with that, I would like to read you something. I am not a constitutional expert, but I loved constitutional law. I follow constitutional law ad nauseam. Just ask my wife. I am always talking about constitutional law. But in Federalist No.51, it said, what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? And it referred to-but the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachment of the others.
- And the Government was set up to specifically prevent that.
- And the problem is I am seeing here not only in this Administration but in the previous Administration and several Administrations the executive branch is taking for granted that they have exclusive power over issues that they do not.
- And I am concerned about that and what do we do to prevent that.
But where does it stop? Here is my question. We have seen the President and past Presidents concerning the Wars Powers Act, which I think violated the Constitution. But this Administration stopped enforcement of detaining illegal immigrants, stopped enforcement of drug laws.
I know that because I am a prosecutor. I saw it. Stopped enforcement of mandatory sentencings, stopped parts of Obamacare, the Benghazi issue, the AG being held in contempt, the IRS issue. How many more things do you think have to occur? And I am thinking like a prosecutor. One of those in and of itself is not enough evidence.
Two of those in and of itself is not enough evidence. But the violations that I see here that I just listed-and there are many more-I think is enough evidence to start asking questions. Where do you see the line drawn in what I have recited here as enough evidence to start asking questions about Presidents exceeding their power? Mr.
- Lazarus. Well, first of all, Congressman, I cannot address all of the- Mr. Marino.
- And I do not expect you to. Mr. Lazarus,
- Things that you have raised.
- But many of those things-I mean, let’s be honest about it-are honest disagreements about policy or about how to interpret the law. Mr. Marino.
- So your interpretation of the law-you are saying you do not agree with the way perhaps I am interpreting the law.
So you say I am wrong. Mr. Lazarus. No. Just to finish the sentence, raising the specter of some kind of grotesque presidential assertion of unwarranted authority here is just not based on fact. Mr. Cannon, for example, strongly believes that his interpretation of the law, which would sink Obamacare in his view, is correct, or I guess he does.
- The President disagrees with that.
- The President has very good reason to disagree with that.
- So to say that he is not taking care that the- Mr. Marino.
- Let me reclaim my time here.
- But when laws are enacted, they should be followed to the letter, and it is not being done here.
- I have heard you raise the issue of, well, prior Administrations have done it.
To me that is no excuse not to pursue this from a congressional standpoint because whether it is Obamacare, whether it is the War Powers Act, whether it is going into Iraq, these are all issues that I am deeply concerned about. So you criticized and you have made some, I think, remarks.
- I do not think you take some of this seriously of what your colleagues have to say up there.
- So give me an answer as to what you think we need to do to curtail the executive power the way I think it has been abused over the years. Mr. Gowdy.
- You may answer the question quickly. Mr. Lazarus.
- Well, I think you can pass legislation to overturn an executive action you disapprove of.
You can withhold funds for it. Mr. Marino. Well, let me ask you-show something right there that you are not reciting either.94 percent of Obamacare is mandatory spending, and the Democrats passed that unanimously without any votes from the Republicans. So it is mandatory spending.
Nothing can be done about that at this point. It is the law. And I yield back my time. Thank you. Mr. Gowdy. I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania. The Chair will now recognize the gentleman from New York, my friend, Mr. Jeffries. Mr. Jeffries. I thank the distinguished Chair, as well as the distinguished Ranking Member for his leadership, and the panelists for their participation this morning.
If I could just start with Professor Rosenkranz. And I want to explore this issue of prosecutorial executive branch discretion particularly in the context of the enforcement of our Nation’s immigration laws. But if I can just start with some foundational questions.
- The Department of Justice, for example, is an executive branch agency.
- Correct? Mr.
- Rosenkranz. Yes. Mr. Jeffries.
- And Federal prosecutors within the Department of Justice are exercising executive branch action in the context of their participation in the criminal justice system.
- Correct? Mr.
- Are exercising executive authority, yes.
Mr. Jeffries. Executive authority. Now, when prosecutors make a decision, after initially charging someone with a serious offense and then agree to a plea bargain to a lesser included offense, short of what they may have concluded the evidence provides that particular defendant was guilty of, is that an appropriate exercise of prosecutorial discretion within the four corners of the Constitution? Mr.
- Well, I guess it depends on the circumstances of your hypothetical.
- It would not be appropriate if it were, for example, motivated by race or something, but on the facts you have described, if the prosecutor thought he did not have the resources to prosecute a particular crime or perhaps was not sure that he had the evidence for a particular element of the crime, then yes, that is an appropriate exercise of discretion.
Mr. Jeffries. And the executive branch in the prosecutorial context, for instance, the Department of Justice or in the immigration context within Homeland Security-they have an ability to prioritize the nature of the offenses that they enforce. Is that correct? As an appropriate exercise of their constitutional authority.
- Mr. Rosenkranz.
- The executive branch has authority to husband its resources in the most efficient way that it sees fit.
- So the President does not have the money or resources to completely execute every law, and so he does have to, by necessity, make decisions about enforcement priorities, yes. Mr. Jeffries.
Now, so you have concluded, I believe, that the presidential exercise of authority in the DACA context with respect to deferred action, a certain class of individuals-do you believe that that is an unconstitutional exercise of his authority? Mr. Rosenkranz.
- Sorry. In the immigration context? Mr. Jeffries.
- In the immigration context. Mr.
- Yes, I do. Mr. Jeffries.
- And you believe that is the case because of the fact that you contend it was a wide-ranging exercise that was not made on a case-by-case basis? What is the foundation of your belief that it is unconstitutional? Mr.
Rosenkranz. I think there are two basic reasons. One is that it goes dramatically further than the hypotheticals we were discussing before. This is not a prosecutor deciding on a case. This is a President deciding on 1.8 million cases. And the second striking thing about it is the President deciding on exactly the set of cases that Congress considered exempting and decided not to exempt.
- That is what is particularly shocking about it. Mr. Jeffries.
- Reclaiming my time, you are familiar with the criteria that has been set forth for the determinations that are made, I believe, on a case-by-case basis as it relates to who qualifies for this deferred action.
- Are you not? Mr.
- Rosenkranz. Yes. Mr.
Jeffries. So, for instance, one of the criteria, you must have entered the United States before their 16th birthday and be younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012. That is one particular criteria. Another is cannot have convictions of any felony offense, significant misdemeanor, or have committed any three misdemeanor offenses.
- Those are pretty specific enumerated categories.
- But another category which helps to determine whether discretion is appropriate is you cannot pose a threat to public safety or national security.
- Isn’t that a pretty broad category within which discretion can be exercised on a case-by-case basis as to whether in fact you pose a threat to public safety or national security, that that is not a specifically constrained factor that people either automatically fall within or automatically fall without? Mr.
Rosenkranz. Well, I think it is quite a dramatic shift in the status quo. So 1.8 million will presumptively be allowed to stay. I cannot imagine that but a tiny fraction of them will be found to fall within that exception. Mr. Jeffries. Okay. And I would just note that of these individuals, more than 450,000 have been granted deferred action, but in excess of 100,000 have been denied access or have not received that grant of discretion.
And I yield back. Mr. Gowdy. I thank the gentleman from New York. The Chair will now recognize himself for 5 minutes of questions. It strikes me that the law can require action or forbid action. The law can forbid the possession of child pornography. The law can, in some instances, require you to file an income tax return.
Mr. Lazarus, is the chief executive constitutionally capable of ignoring both categories of law? Mr. Lazarus. Well, as I said several times, Congressman Gowdy, the President cannot refuse to apply or enforce a law for policy reasons. Mr. Gowdy. Well, let’s analyze that for a second.
The Congress decided in its collective wisdom that if you possess X amount of a controlled substance, you are going to get X amount of time in prison. You may like mandatory minimums; you may not like them. This Administration summarily dispensed with that law. So my question to you again is, can the chief executive fail to enforce categories of law that are both permissive and mandatory? Mr.
Lazarus. It is well established that the executive branch has prosecutorial discretion to decline- Mr. Gowdy. And what are the limits of that prosecutorial discretion? Mr. Lazarus. You know, very frankly I am not an expert on that. Mr. Gowdy. Well, let me ask you this.
Let’s assume that a statute required you to show two pieces of identification to purchase a firearm. Can the chief executive knock that down to one? Mr. Lazarus. I guess I’d have to know a little bit more, but I would- Mr. Gowdy. It is a very simple fact pattern. You have to show two forms of ID to possess or purchase a firearm-to purchase a firearm.
Can the chief executive under his pardon authority or his prosecutorial discretion authority knock that down to just one form of identification? Mr. Lazarus. Well, I am not aware of limits on the President’s pardon authority. Mr. Gowdy. So you would say he could.
- Mr. Lazarus.
- Under the pardon authority, the President can pardon just about anyone, not that he should- Mr. Gowdy.
- Even before the act is committed? Mr. Lazarus.
- That is the reason for- Mr. Gowdy.
- Can he do it before the act is committed? That is my question. Mr. Lazarus.
- I am sorry? Mr. Gowdy.
- Can he do it before the act is committed? Mr.
Lazarus. Again, that is above my pay grade. I do not really know that. Mr. Gowdy. If the President can fail to enforce immigration laws, can the President likewise fail to enforce election laws? Mr. Lazarus. Did you ask whether the President can pardon someone before a prosecution is initiated or before an act- Mr.
Gowdy. Well, I think I know the answer to that question. My question was before the act was committed. He certainly can before prosecution. My question is this. If you can dispense with immigration laws or marijuana laws or mandatory minimums, can you also dispense with election laws? Mr. Lazarus. Again, I think we have gone over this ground many times.
Mr. Gowdy. Well, just humor me. Let’s do it one more time. Can the President suspend election laws? Mr. Lazarus. No. Mr. Gowdy. Why not? If he can suspend mandatory minimum and immigration laws, why not election laws? Mr. Lazarus. Because we live in a Government of laws, and the President is bound to obey them and apply them.
- Mr. Gowdy.
- Well, he is not applying the ACA, and he is not applying immigration laws, and he is not applying marijuana laws, and he is not applying mandatory minimums.
- What is the difference with election laws? Mr. Lazarus.
- We have a disagreement as to whether, in fact, he is applying those laws.
- My view is that he is applying those laws.
Mr. Gowdy. Did Eric Holder instruct his prosecutors to no longer follow the mandatory minimums with respect to charging decisions? Mr. Lazarus. This is an area where I really do not know nearly as much as you do, Congressman. Mr. Gowdy. I would find that shocking that anybody would not know more than I do on any topic.
- Do you want me to ask Professor Turley? Mr. Lazarus.
- I would say that my impression is that he is not exactly doing what you have just said. Mr. Gowdy.
- Well, tell me how I am wrong because Eric Holder sent out a memo that we are no longer going to put in the indictment the drug amounts.
- Do you agree with me that Congress can pass mandatory minimums? Mr.
Lazarus. Constitutionally? Yes. Mr. Gowdy. Do you agree that Congress can pass statutory maximums? Mr. Lazarus. Pardon me? Mr. Gowdy. Can Congress also pass statutory maximums? In other words, you cannot get more than 30 years for a crime. Mr. Lazarus. Of course.
- Mr. Gowdy.
- Can a President exceed a statutory maximum? Mr. Lazarus.
- Can he extinguish did you say? Mr. Gowdy. No.
- Can he exceed it? Mr. Lazarus.
- Can he exceed it? Well, how would he do that? You mean keep someone in prison beyond his prison term. Mr. Gowdy.
- Well, if you can put him in prison for less time than Congress says is the law, can you also do it for more time than Congress says is the law? Mr.
Lazarus. You know, this is kind of fruitless because it is an area that I really do not know- Mr. Gowdy. Professor Turley, what are the limits of prosecutorial discretion? And if the President can suspend immigration laws, marijuana laws, why not election laws? Mr.
Turley. Well, I think that some of these areas, I cannot imagine, can be justified through prosecutorial discretion. It is not prosecutorial discretion to go into a law and say an entire category of people will no longer be subject to the law. That is a legislative decision. Prosecutorial discretion is a case-by-case decision that is made by the Department of Justice.
When the Department of Justice starts to say we are going to extend that to whole sections of laws, then they are engaging in a legislative act, not an act of prosecutorial discretion. Wherever the line is drawn, it has got to be drawn somewhere from here.
It cannot include categorical rejections of the application of the law to millions of people. Mr. Gowdy. Well, my time is up, but I would just tell you that I always thought prosecutorial discretion was an individual prosecutor determining whether she or he has enough facts to substantially result in a conviction on a case-by-case basis.
If a President is ignoring entire categories of the law, whether it be immigration, marijuana, mandatory minimum, the ACA, what is the remedy for the legislative branch? Mr. Turley. Well, first of all, the first part of the question is-as you may know, I do criminal defense work.
I would never go to a prosecutor and say I want your prosecutorial discretion to say that the entire class of which my client belongs cannot be subject to this law because prosecutors would look at me and say are you insane. I am not Congress. So I would not even raise the question. Now, in terms of where we go from here, I am not too sure because the great concern I have for this body is that it is not only being circumvented but it is also being denied the ability to enforce its inherent powers.
Many of these questions are not close in my view. The President is outside the line. But it has to go in front of a court, and that court has to grant review. And that is where we have the most serious constitutional crisis I view in my lifetime, and that is, this body is becoming less and less relevant.
- Mr. Gowdy.
- With that, we will recognize the gentlelady from Texas, Ms.
- Jackson Lee. Ms.
- Jackson Lee.
- Let me thank the majority and the minority, Mr.
- Conyers, for holding this hearing.
- Let me thank the witnesses.
- Whenever witnesses come before our body, it is of course valuable and we trust your judgment, although we may disagree with you vigorously.
Let me say that the wasteland that Mr. Lazarus spoke of- and, Mr. Lazarus, please let me cite you and indicate that I will be using this across the land, the vast lands of this Nation, which is a rhetorical make-waste that this hearing equates, but also to suggest that the reason why this body that Professor Turley has suggested may be on the verge of some basis of irrelevancy, which I take issue with, is because under the present House leadership, we have passed no legislation for the President to be able to implement in the first place.
- We have not passed immigration reform.
- We have not dealt with the question of mandatory minimums.
- We have not dealt with a budget process.
- We have not dealt with sequester.
- If we would simply do our job, the relevance to the American people would exceed our expectation.
- I just came from the Fast for Families.
Just a few hours ago, we had in this room DREAMers. As far as I am concerned, the duty of the President is to be the ultimate giver of relief within the context of the Constitution and the necessary relief of the people who are begging for relief. If you read the lines that we are so intellectually gifted to interpret, along with precedents, it says that he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed and shall commission all of the officers of the United States.
Well, I could be a believer, and therefore, my faith says that the President is taking, within the context of the laws, the ability to implement to help the most vulnerable. And what we are doing here is a rhetorical wasteland of ignoring the pain of our Nation. And let me give you an example. First of all, my good friend from South Carolina knows full well as a Federal prosecutor that each day prosecutors are making distinctive decisions about who to prosecute and how within the context of the law.
And to answer the question for you, Mr. Lazarus, the issue is that in election laws you follow the law, but you have the right in a prosecutorial posture to determine whether you are prosecuting or not. That is what happened with mandatory minimums. That is what is happening with the issue of drugs.
That is what the Attorney General is speaking of. He is not throwing laws to the wasteland. We are in this hearing, for it has no sense to it. And then it is interesting that we have not understood the question of the Secretary of Homeland Security. She issued a memo to her staff. She has an inherent authority to deal with policy.
Each of the deferred adjudications or the deferments for DREAMers is individually assessed. What is the constitutional gobbledygook talking about? They do not understand the difference between policy and the ability to do that? And so I have had DREAMers come to my office.
- I could not waive a magic wand.
- They had to go through the process.
- The memo indicates that it went to CBP, ICE, immigration enforcement, and others.
- And so I am taken aback that this issue does not come with humanitarianism, and that if there should be a hearing, it should be a hearing of the failure of this Congress to act on its constitutional responsibilities.
Let me ask on the Affordable Care Act, which is now just another way, if I might say so, of having the 50th and the 52nd and the 53rd challenge on the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Lazarus, to go back to a comment about these exchanges, another wasteland, that if your State does not have an exchange, just on practical English, it means that you in the State cannot comply, meaning you, the citizen, are left in a wasteland of noncompliance, what do you get on? And so we have established the national exchanges.
- Would we have preferred to have State exchanges and to have a list of State insurers? Yes.
- Would we prefer for Republicans not to encourage young people not to do what is best for them by getting covered? Yes.
- But my question is if the directive is to run such exchanges, that means the same characteristic, Federal exchange, including the tax credit that allows poor people to have insurance, obviously, these are allowed.
I am sort of coming in the middle of my question, Mr. Lazarus. This is for you. In essence, in States that have refused exchanges, the Federal Government stands in the shoes of the States. Does that not further illustrate why you, not Mr. Cannon, are correct based on the pure text of the law and that the President is carefully, faithfully implementing the law? Would you go over that for us again so that it can be in the record? Mr.
Lazarus. Well, that interpretation is what I support, what the President, and the Administration supports, and what I think will certainly prevail in court, and that is that what the law provides is that if a State declines to set up an exchange, then the Federal Government shall establish such exchange.
It says such exchange in the law. And as you just stated in common sense terms, the Federal Government then will stand in the shoes of the State in operating that exchange and the exchange will be exactly the same, have all the same powers, authorities, and responsibilities that an exchange that is being managed by a State government would have.
Any other interpretation, the one that my friend, Mr. Cannon, here is promoting so vigorously, makes no sense and would actually cause the whole exchange part of the ACA to fail in every one of these States. So it makes no sense whatsoever I think. Ms. Jackson Lee. May I just have an additional 30 seconds? He did not answer.
Does this not exceed- Mr. Lazarus. I am sorry. Ms. Jackson Lee. Does this not exceed the authority of the President- Mr. Gowdy. We are already 2 minutes over. So if you could give us a very pithy response, it would be great. Ms. Jackson Lee. You are very kind, Mr.
Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Lazarus? Mr. Lazarus. I think the President is not violating his “take care” responsibilities by acting on the interpretation. Ms. Jackson Lee. And do you associate with my interpretation of the statements I made previously? May I ask for a submission into the record? I am finished.
Mr. Gowdy. You can submit all your questions for the record. Ms. Jackson Lee. No, no. May I just submit a document of an op-ed- Mr. Gowdy. Without objection. Ms. Jackson Lee, Dated August 15, 2007 by myself on signing statements? I ask unanimous consent. Mr. Gowdy.
Without objection. _ Mr. Gowdy. Before I recognize the gentleman- Ms. Jackson Lee. I thank the Chairman and I thank the witnesses. I yield back. Mr. Gowdy. Before I recognize the gentleman from Idaho, for those of our panelists who may not be able to avail themselves of the history of this Committee from 2008 to 2010, the other side controlled this Committee, and not one single solitary piece of immigration reform was produced.
Now, let’s be fair. I have got colleagues like the gentleman from Illinois who are equally desirous of immigration reform no matter who the President is. But let’s do not rewrite history. From 2008 to 2010, the Democrats controlled this Committee and nothing with respect to immigration reform.
So do not talk to me now about what a huge priority it is. I recognize the gentleman from Idaho. Ms. Jackson Lee. Will the gentleman yield? Mr. Labrador. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the time. Panelists, thank you for being here. Mr. Lazarus, I have been listening to you for 2 and a half hours now, and I have not heard a single time where you have told me where in the law the Federal exchanges are given the authority to grant these subsidies.
You talk about policy. You talk about what you think the President wants. You take about what you think the Democrats want. Tell me in the statute just one time where it says that the Federal exchanges are supposed to give this subsidy. Mr. Lazarus. Yes. I did not go into detail and I do not think that my friend, Mr.
Cannon, did either. Mr. Labrador. I think he did. He mentioned the numerous times where it gives this solely to the State exchanges. Mr. Lazarus. Let me answer the question. First of all, I ask that the Committee include written testimony that I gave to a Subcommittee of Congressman Issa’s oversight Committee that goes into detail about what the- Mr.
Labrador. Just name one. I just want one section of the law. I do not have that much time. Name one section of the law. Mr. Lazarus. And secondly, I also- Mr. Labrador. You do not know. Mr. Lazarus. No, no. I did not say I do not know. Mr. Labrador. You name one section of the law.
Mr. Lazarus. I want to say that I had- Mr. Labrador. One section of the law, Mr. Lazarus, where it says that. Mr. Lazarus. I would cite two sections. Mr. Labrador. Okay, thank you. That is all I am asking. Mr. Lazarus. The first section is one that Congresswoman Lee referred to and that is where the law says that in the event that a State does not set up its own exchange, then the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish such exchange.
Our interpretation and the Administration’s interpretation is that the words “such exchange” should be interpreted to mean that the exchanges will operate on the same terms and have the same authority. Michael does not agree with that, but that is the interpretation.
- Secondly-and I think this is really quite important-when the statute defines exchange with a capital E-it puts a capital E in there-it says the exchange shall be an exchanged established by the State under the relevant section.
- And then- – Mr. Labrador.
- I reclaim my time.
- I just asked you a simple question.
Mr. Lazarus. So the- Mr. Labrador. Mr. Turley and Mr. Cannon, I think both of you, coming from different political points of view, had some of the same concerns that I had about the prior Administration, about the Bush administration. In fact, I read some of your writings, Mr.
Turley, before I was a Member of Congress. Mr. Turley. Bless you. Mr. Labrador. And I was very concerned about the imperial presidency. I was very concerned about having a Republican with Republicans in Congress who were not willing to be a check and a balance on a Republican President. And in fact, like Mr.
Cannon stated in his testimony-I think it was you. I cannot remember which one of you it was who stated that maybe the one thing that you liked about Obama-you seem to agree with his policies. You seem to kind of like the fact that he was going to be a check on what previous Presidents had done.
- So I am actually really disappointed that we are here at this hearing today, and I am surprised that my friends on the other side do not think that this is an important hearing because they seem to bitch and whine for 8 years about what the Bush administration did.
- And all of a sudden, they do not seem to have one single concern about what this President is doing with this authority.
What do you have to say about that, Mr. Turley? Mr. Turley. Well, I believe that this institution is facing a critical crossroads in terms of its continued relevance in this process. What this body cannot become is a debating society where it can issue rules and laws that are either complied with or not complied with by the President.
I think that is where we are. And where Mr. Lazarus and I disagree, Mr. Lazarus keeps on saying, look, a President cannot ignore an express statement on policy grounds. I am not too sure what is involved here. If you look at the individual mandate, the policy issue there was that a great number of people were upset.
They felt that there was a bait and switch. That is not the same thing that we see with like the environmental statutes that Mr. Lazarus points out. That is a political issue, a policy issue where the President said I do not want this to happen now and a lot of people are upset with it.
That would seem to me if that is not a policy question, I do not what is. And by Mr. Lazarus’ own definition, that would seem to be outside the authority of the President. But in terms of the institutional issue that you are raising, look around you. Is this truly the body that existed when it was formed? Does it have the same gravitational pull and authority that was given to it by its Framers? You are the keepers of this authority.
You took an oath to uphold it. And the Framers assumed that you would have the institutional wherewithal and, frankly, ambition to defend the turf that is the legislative branch. Mr. Labrador. Mr. Cannon, it seems to me that Mr. Lazarus is arguing that the President can do anything that we refuse to act on.
- And I think that goes beyond what the constitutional powers that were given to the President by our Founding Fathers.
- In fact, if you follow his logic, it seems to me that if he next decides that he wants to make sure that nobody who came here illegally, who came here just to work in agriculture, for example, can be deported because there would be some humanitarian concerns about deporting these people that he has the express authority to actually do that.
I am actually a proponent of immigration reform. I want immigration reform to be done. And I think the actions of the President have made it less likely that this body is going to act because we are not sure what he is going to enforce and what he is not going to enforce.
- What are your comments on that? Mr. Cannon.
- I think that there is no bright line, as far as I know, to be drawn between enforcement discretion and legislating.
- I think that the President’s actions with regard to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act-wherever you draw that line, he is on the wrong side of it.
But I think the best way to curtail the abuse of prosecutorial discretion is to have fewer crimes. We have a lot of crimes in our immigration laws that I just do not think should be here. I think our drug war creates a lot of criminals, and there are a lot of crimes on our books as a result of the drug war that should not be there.
- And that is why prosecutors across this country are stretched so thin, why prisons are overcrowded.
- And when you have a situation like that where you have got a surplus of crimes and not enough resources to prosecute all of them, then you put a lot more power in the hands of individual prosecutors, as well as the executive branch generally, to decide how these laws are going to be enforced or not enforced.
I think on a macro level that is how you try to attack this problem. Mr. Labrador. Thank you. I yield back my time. Mr. Gowdy. The gentleman yields. The Chair would now recognize the gentleman from Illinois, my friend, Mr. Gutierrez. Mr. Gutierrez. Thank you very much, Mr.
- Chairman. Well, once again we are not legislating in this Committee.
- We could be using this time to find common ground and even have a strenuous and substantive debate on important public policy matters, but instead I think what we are doing is offering empty assurances and shaping political messages for next fall.
Rather than worrying about whether the President we know-and you “distrusts” is enforcing our laws the way you would like him to, we could be making meaningful progress toward crafting and passing laws for the betterment of the American people. The President is not a Member of this Committee.
- He does not sit on this Committee.
- He does not have a vote in the House of Representatives.
- We should craft legislation and get it done.
- And then we should make sure that that legislation is enforced.
- Now, I know that some people say, well, he is not enforcing the legislation.
- Let me just suggest to everybody when he got sworn in as President of the United States, Secure Communities was nothing in this country.
There are hundreds and hundreds of agreements with county, State, and local-how do you think the apparatus was created to deport 2 million people in the last 5 years? By accident? That apparatus did not exist under George Bush. It was created under his Administration and implemented by this President.
And that is something that I am happy about, 287(g) agreements that have been made with one locality after another. We are going to sit here and actually that Congresswoman Sinema, our colleague, who hired one of the DREAMers after she applied for DACA and successfully got her work permit and is now her district-her mom is under a current order of deportation.
She quit her job today as a congressional aid to go and fight for her mom. And we are saying that he is not enforcing the law? I assure you that if you are fighting this Administration, as I and many others are fighting this Administration each and every day, you will find this President is, indeed, enforcing the law.
Unfortunately, he should not be limiting his prosecutorial discretion. He should be expanding his prosecutorial discretion. Now, on the substantive issue of DACA, the fact is we passed the DREAM Act in the House of Representatives in the fall of 2010, 216 to 208. But then we went to the Senate, Mr. Turley, and over there they said you need 60 votes now to get something done.
We always talk about the Framers. I do not remember any Framers saying you need more than one vote in the majority in the Senate. But now you need 60. So they only got 55. So clearly the established will of the majority of the Senators and the House of Representatives was to do what? To protect the DREAMers.
That is what the President did. He took the express will of the House and the Senate, if not for this new rule that they invented that they have had, I think, now for 35 years that you need the super majority of 60 votes. If we needed that here, even my colleagues on the Republican side would have a difficult time getting legislation passed.
So all I am trying to say is when we move the ball forward, the President looked at it. And I just want to say that I do not know about the other, but it seems like Bo Cooper, former INS General Counsel; Paul Virtue, former INS General Counsel- these are general counsels of the INS.
Each of them established that the President of the United States does have prosecutorial discretion when he gets to decide who to prosecute and who not to. And that is what he did. He set children aside and said I am no longer going to prosecute them because they do not present an imminent threat. And guess what, Mr.
Chairman. A year and a half later, 500,000 of them are walking around, and I assure you because I know the way this place works if you can find one and bring them up here that shows how he has caused some danger or some harm, that person would have already have come.
- But the fact is that they are not.
- They are working in congressional-three of them are working in my congressional office filling out more.
- Look, they are American citizens in everything but a piece of paper.
- And all I want to do-and I want to establish because the Chairman is absolutely correct.
- I am going to say this.
When we were in charge in 2007 and 2008, we were worried about losing our majority because your side was beating the crap out of us. I am sorry. Maybe that word should not be used here. But that is what you were doing. So if a Democrat voted for immigration reform, your side went boom, boom, boom, boom and knocked them out.
Right? And then we were in the majority in 2009 and 2010, and we did nothing. I agree with you we did nothing. But let’s not repeat history. Let’s not say you did not do anything, so we are not going to do anything. No. Let’s do something. I want to end with this. Here is what I would like to do. I want to step outside of my Democratic Party because I know there are men and women on your side of the aisle that want to step outside of their Republican Party and join an American party on the issue of immigration because I know there is common ground that we can reach.
And then the President will not have to be taking these actions because more and more what you are going to find is people are going to say Congresswoman Sinema’s staffer-we should not deport her mom. Mr. President, stop the deportation of that mom. So all we are going to do is-look, they are here.
- There are 11 million of them.
- Let’s figure out a way how we legalize their status, and let’s figure out-if you want triggers, let’s put the triggers in.
- But in the end, we are going to have to come back here, and when they become American citizens, they are all going to become American citizens.
- We should get over that because you know what is going to happen, Mr.
Chairman? If we pass legislation and they all do not go to citizenship, the next day somebody is going to show up and say that Congressman Gutierrez did not do a good enough job. That is the positive thing. Somebody comes and says we did not do a good enough job.
- Thank you.
- You have been so kind and so generous.
- I know one thing.
- Eventually we are going to have a hearing here.
- We are going to call you all back and you are going to let us know how we are going to get this done.
- I pray that that happens.
- It is the right thing for America.
- Thank you very much. Mr. Gowdy.
I thank the gentleman from Illinois. The Chair will now recognize the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Franks. Mr. Franks. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, the subject of today’s meeting is pretty profound related to the rule of law, and there are so many examples that some of us point to, and it is hard to name them all.
- So I am just going to point to a few that this Administration seems to have stepped outside the boundaries of “the rule of law.” Taxing political contributions.
- Again, not in the law.
- Political speech disclosures for Federal contractors.
- The deep water drilling ban. Mr.
- Holder’s attempt to reform criminal justice by selectively enforcing our laws.
Mr. Obama’s unilaterally ignoring immigration laws in many cases. Unconstitutional recess appointments. Fast and Furious, unconstitutional efforts there to walk guns. Unconstitutional wiretaps of the AP. The IRS scandal, one of the more egregious ones, as the gentleman mentioned that it subverts the entire political process.
- And of course, Obamacare, which I will touch on in a moment.
- But all of these are examples where this President, in the words of my friends on the left, has exercised prosecutorial discretion-that is the word-presidential pardon powers.
- But I think they are more along the lines that Professor Turley said.
These could be considered royal prerogatives, which if my history is right, that is what we had that little unpleasantness with Great Britain about. So the subject here is of profound significance. And I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, that not only in the application of the law has this Administration held themselves unconstrained by the Constitution or even the truth in many cases, but even in the process of getting the law.
- On Obamacare, this was passed in a unique situation.
- You know, I see in Mr.
- Cannon’s testimony especially-it is probably the perfect citation.
- I see in your testimony that you write, “President Obama’s unfaithfulness to the PPACA is so wanton it is no longer accurate to say that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is `the law of the land.’ ” You know, it is kind of ironic because some of my colleagues, about 53 of us, have signed on to the House resolution stating that we believe that Obamacare has yet to be the law of the land because it violated the Origination Clause of the U.S.
Constitution when it was passed. And we do not talk about that a great deal, but it is significant because the Origination Clause, which was vital to the Constitution ever coming in to existence in the first place-it was the critical negotiation that took place to allow the Constitution to exist-requires that all bills for raising revenue originate in the House.
And incidentally, Mr. Cannon, your colleague Ilya Shapiro at Cato has written an excellent piece laying out this argument, and I am going to ask that this be placed in the record here in a moment and also would like to ask you to address it if you have a perspective of it. But the bottom line that is at issue here is that if the U.S.
Senate can take a totally unrelated piece of legislation and strike everything but the number and take legislation that they called the Senate health care bill and place it in its entirety, which raises taxes to an enormous degree-if they can take any bill in the House and do that, then I would suggest to you, especially after the Supreme Court has labeled Obamacare a tax-they have officially called it a tax.
And if indeed it can be done this way, then I would suggest to you that the Origination Clause is a dead letter. There is no more purpose for it being in the Constitution. And it is something that I hope that we will look at more carefully. So if it is all right, Mr. Cannon, I am going to address my question to you.
Do you have anything that would help illuminate this in ways that the rest of us can understand? Mr. Cannon. Well, this is a provision of the Constitution that has not really been used or employed by the Supreme Court to knock down any revenue measures that were alleged to have originated in the Senate instead of in the House as required by the Constitution.
- I think that what happened with the PPACA is a more extreme example of the abuse of-or a more extreme violation of the Origination Clause than what we have seen in the past.
- As you say, a bill came up with a totally unrelated revenue measure, came over from the House.
- The Senate stripped out everything within that bill, kept only the bill number, H.R.3590, I believe, and inserted into that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which had all sorts of revenue measures, including the individual mandate, which we did not know then was a tax, but now we know it is a tax until the Administration changes its mind again, which it continues to do.
There is nothing in the bill number that is a revenue measure. All the revenue measures had been stripped out of that bill. So if the Origination Clause means anything, then it means that that revenue measure that the Senate passed and then the House passed and that we now call the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act originated in the Senate and the Senate did not have the power to originate a bill-a revenue measure like that.
But the difficulty is will the courts enforce that part of the Constitution. There is a difficult line to be drawn between when are you amending a revenue measure that came from the House and when are you originating a new bill. I think that reasonable people can disagree about where that line will be drawn.
I do not think that reasonable people can disagree about whether the Senate’s gutting of H.R.3590 and inserting into that a totally new revenue measure-I do not think anyone can disagree that that is on the wrong side of that line. It remains to be seen whether the courts will uphold that part of the Constitution.
If they do, then probably they would have to strike down the entire PPACA. Fortunately, there is a lawsuit that is making its way through Federal courts-it has been filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation-that challenges the individual mandate under the Origination Clause. Mr. Franks. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
I guess if this Administration does not succeed in stacking the D.C. Circuit, we should find out whether the Origination Clause still means anything at all with the case that the gentleman mentions. Mr. Gowdy. I thank the gentleman from Arizona. The Chair would now recognize the gentleman from North Carolina, the former U.S.
Attorney, Mr. Holding. Mr. Holding. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Professor Turley, throughout your testimony, you have alluded several times that there are incidents that you believe that the President has stepped over the line, and we have talked about a number of them. But I would just ask for you to recap and maybe give us your top five instances where you think that he has overstepped the line and breached the Constitution.
Mr. Turley. Thank you very much, Congressman. First of all, I do think that there is a number of provisions in the ACA where he did overstep the line. The decision on individual mandates strikes me as a rather obvious policy determination from the President that he did not want to see it enforced, given the amount of public opposition that occurred and accusations of a bait and switch.
- Those are all political issues.
- This was not Clean Air Act regulation that was stuck in the mire of regulatory disagreements as to a command and control statute.
- I also believe that the employer mandate, which was also extended, constitutes a significant change in the legislation.
- I also believe that the immigration issue is well across the line.
I actually agree with the President on the decision that was made, but that does not matter because it was not made in a way that is allowed under our Constitution. One of the things that I would point your attention to, Congressman Holding, is that if you look at each of these questions, a couple of things jump out at you.
- One is they happen to occur in areas of tremendous political division, if not deadlock.
- That is precisely the type of issue that the Framers wanted to go through the legislative process because our process, unlike other systems that would explode into the streets of Paris and other cities, we have a type of constitutional implosion.
We direct those pressures to the center of Congress, and from that, we take disparate factional interests and turn them into a majoritarian compromise. Mr. Holding. If I could get you to keep going down the list of instances where you think that he has overstepped.
- Mr. Turley.
- The other two that really come out to me is really the issue of the $454 million in the prevention fund issue for the Federal health care insurance exchange and also the $700 billion for the State exchanges and then finally essentially the subsidies for congressional employees, which is less significant than those other ones.
And what bothers me about those last examples is that it goes directly to the power of the purse. And we have seen over and over again courts saying do not worry, you have the power of the purse. And this Administration is now directly challenging that and saying we can take money that was dedicated for one purpose and give it to an unspecified disallowed purpose, and that challenges the very rock foundation of the Congress.
- Mr. Holding. Mr.
- Rosenkranz, do you want to add any to this list of-I have got four. Mr.
- Well, I agree with all the items on that list.
- You know, a recent D.C.
- Circuit opinion spoke of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission refusing to make a decision about Yucca Mountain.
- That is quite a striking example.
That is the example where Judge Kavanaugh-the Judge Kavanaugh quote came from. And the other example that I really want to keep returning to is the IRS-targeted enforcement. So to my mind, taking care that the laws be faithfully executed-the core of that requirement is nondiscriminatory enforcement.
- Mr. Holding. Mr.
- Lazarus, do you want to add any to this? Perhaps not. Mr.
- Cannon, would you like to add any to this? Mr. Lazarus.
- I would like to ask isn’t the Nuclear Regulatory Commission- Mr. Holding.
- I am going to reclaim my time, Mr. Lazarus.
- Before I go to you, Mr.
- Cannon, I want to use my last minute with Mr.
Rosenkranz. Mr. Rosenkranz, you said that in extreme instances, impeachment would be appropriate to address one of these transgressions. We used the example of declaring war without congressional authorization. Say, on a scale of 1 to 10, that being a 10 as necessitating impeachment proceedings, we have reeled off six instances where the President has exceeded his constitutional authority.
I would add a seventh in there with what he is doing with our drug laws and the mandatory minimums and the insistence that our prosecutors not charge all of the relevant facts. Out of any of these seven, which ones rise to being the most egregious and would any of them trigger what you would think impeachment to be appropriate? Mr.
Rosenkranz. Well, I would not want to opine on quite what the impeachment line ought to be, but I think this body should think about a pattern, if they see a pattern and particularly if they see willful conduct. That is really the most egregious thing a President can do is willfully violate the Take Care Clause or display a pattern of disregard for a constitutional prohibition.
So that is what I think the Committee should keep their eye on. Mr. Holding. Mr. Chairman, I yield back. Mr. Gowdy. I thank the gentleman from North Carolina. The Chair would now recognize the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have sat here and I have listened and I have listened in the back.
I listened to both sides. The thing that just disturbs me more about this hearing probably-Congressman King said it was one of the most interesting hearings that we have done and one of the relevant hearings. I am not going to disagree with that. But I think for me it actually brings out one of the most disturbing hearings that we are having to have.
And I think it is a progression issue here. And I am not going to be Republican or Democrat. It has happened more in the last 15 to 20 years. I think this is a progression of executives that both Republicans and Democrats have used really in some ways, pushed that boundary, stretched that boundary, and I think in the case of this, the President now has outright stepped over those boundaries.
And we can have legal discussions up here all the time. But the problem is from where I come from up in northeast Georgia people do not get it. They look at a government. They look at an executive. They look at what is going on right now, and they just basically say this is not the way it is supposed to work.
You can go back to schoolhouse rock. You can go to civics class. You can do whatever, and you can be graduated law professors. But at the same point, if you cannot communicate it to the people who have to live under the situation, then there are mass problems. And I believe there is a right to have a mass problem right now.
We have talked about the power of the purse. I have talked all session ever since I got up here about I believe truly that this institution has got to matter again. It is Article I. We have talked about Article III a lot. We talked about Article II a lot, but it is Article I.
- Congress has to matter again, and that means that we have to take seriously our role of budgeting.
- We have to take seriously our role of legislating, but also holding accountable when we are being bypassed.
- And that is a concern.
- And we talked about using the power of the purse.
- I think that has been an issue that has been well trodden today.
We have talked about elections, and I think that is an issue that has been discussed. But the other issue for me that is bothersome and you try to explain is what can you do. I am often asked this. You got to go up there and you just impeach him. Or you go up there.
- You just impeach the President.
- Or you go up there and you just cut funds off.
- You shut everything down.
- And it just becomes a blur.
- And now we have Mr.
- Lazarus-and I respect your right to a differing opinion than mine on most things here-to say that I believe he has stepped over and you believe he has not.
That is where we differ. And, Mr. Turley, we will agree on some things and probably not agree on others. But you made a statement that said, agree or not, it was not in the bounds of the Constitution. And I think that is interesting for us to talk about for just a moment because it comes back to what do we do besides getting our “act together,” if you would, as Congress.
- What can we do? Because standing is an issue that we are having.
- So I want to ask you just this question.
- Where do we go to begin that process of reclaiming our Article I, our constitutional role so that it is a three-legged stool and not right now a one and a half. Mr. Turley.
- Well, it is an excellent question.
Despite my deepest concerns, I remain optimistic. I am a Cubs and Bears fan. So I have spent most of my life with unrequited desires. But it is as serious as you suggest, and there is a good reason why people cannot understand what is going on because we are acting outside the system.
- We have essentially taken the Madisonian system offline, and we are in this ad hoc improvisational world of constitutional law that is very, very dangerous.
- Where I disagree with my friend, Mr.
- Rosenkranz, is I am always leery about people who say the solution is elections.
- The Framers did not intend for elections to be the solutions to constitutional problems.
They created a system of checks and balances to allow the system to correct itself because there are plenty of abuses. You can have majoritarian terror that would be just promulgated and continued through elections. Also, impeachment is not a good device for regulation.
- It is a very difficult thing.
- I testified at the Clinton impeachment hearings.
- It is a very difficult standard and is certainly not there as a substitute.
- I think that a hearing that this body should seriously consider is to have a hearing on Member standing.
- I have been writing about this for years.
- I have represented Members.
If we had Member standing, if Members could go to court and raise unconstitutional acts, much of these problems would go away because we have been guaranteed review. Much of what we have seen from the White House in my view is based on the assumption, not necessarily a bad one, that nobody will be able to call them to account.
- Mr. Collins.
- I believe you are right on that.
- You know, you said were an optimist.
- I am too if you have watched some of our sport teams lately in Atlanta.
- But I am an optimistic realist, and I do not get on the plane to come to Washington, D.C.
- I still look at this capital and I still believe it matters.
- I still believe that we are a shining light for the world.
But I want to spend all of my time, as best I can, to bring us back to a balanced checks and balance system in which Congress’ Article I authority is respected and honored and we also have the system that most people in this country grew up understanding.
And I think that is what this hearing ultimately is about, is the respect of the people who sent us here, and we have got to continue that. Mr. Chairman, I yield back. Mr. Gowdy. I thank the gentleman from Georgia. The Chair would now recognize the gentleman from Florida, Mr. DeSantis. Mr. DeSantis. Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. Mr. Lazarus, if Congress passes a statute that applies to whatever parameters you want, can the President enlarge the parameters of the statutory text and apply it to areas outside that the statute contemplated? Mr. Lazarus. No. Mr. DeSantis. Okay, because it is interesting because in your- Mr.
Lazarus. Let me just qualify that. This is an abstract question and it really depends on how the statute is worded. Mr. DeSantis. I understand that and I will give you a chance to respond because you cite bureaucrats within the Administration to justify some of the President’s conduct, but you actually do not cite any quotes from the President himself justifying his conduct.
And I think it was interesting with this most, quote, legislative fix for grandfathered plans, here is what the President said. Already people who predate the ACA can keep those plans if they haven’t changed. That was already in the law. That is what is called a grandfather clause that was included in the law.
- Today we are going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law took effect and to people who bought plans since the law took effect.
- In other words, Obamacare has a grandfather clause.
- Anything after the enactment of Obamacare is illegal unless it meets the statutory requirements.
So what the President is saying is he is extending a grandfather clause to cover plans beyond what the statute contemplates. So you think that that is appropriate. Mr. Lazarus. I think you are making a good point. I think that it is appropriate if it is temporary.
Mr. DeSantis. And, oh, by the way, let me just say. We passed in the House a bill that would have grandfathered in the plans, and I think that we should do that. Mr. Lazarus. What I meant to say was I think it is appropriate as a temporary measure if it is necessary to- Mr. DeSantis. It is directly contrary to the statute.
The whole point of Obamacare was that you needed to force people into these exchanges. What about this idea? If a political environment is tough, would that be a reason to delay a law or grant a waiver to a law if you cite the political environment as your justification? Mr.
- Lazarus. I think that would be- Mr. DeSantis.
- Congress is not doing what I want.
- I may suffer political damage.
- So I am going to do it anyway. Mr. Lazarus.
- Clearly that would not be appropriate. Mr. DeSantis.
- Well, because I think in your testimony-and you did make some good points.
- I will give you that.
- You did not cite the President’s stated justification for delaying the employer mandate.
He was asked about it at a press conference. He said, you know, in a normal political environment, I would pick up the phone, call the Speaker, say, hey, this is a tweak that does not go to the essence of the law, and we would delay it for a year. But there is not a normal political environment when it comes to “Obamacare” is what he said.
- Now, to me, I think that that is totally outlandish of an explanation.
- It is even more outlandish because Congress, by the time he made that statement, had already passed a bill to delay the employer mandate precisely for the reason that the President suggested.
- Let me ask you one more question.
- Professor Turley, I really appreciate your written testimony, and you cite a lot of examples of the Founding Fathers.
And, Mr. Lazarus, you made the point that, hey, the Take Care Clause does not mean what the rest of these guys say. Original understanding-the Founders understood it. But you did not cite any actual Founding Fathers. So can you cite for me a Federalist Paper? Hamilton wrote a number on executive power.
- Can you cite a Constitutional Convention debate, a ratifying convention debate, early practice in the republic that would substantiate your assertion that that is consistent with the original understanding? Mr. Lazarus. Yes. Mr. DeSantis.
- Jefferson? Mr. Lazarus.
- There is very- Mr. DeSantis.
- Madison? Mr. Lazarus.
No. There is very little discussion- Mr. DeSantis. Hamilton? Mr. Lazarus. There is very little discussion, but what there is- Mr. DeSantis. All right. So you are making an assertion that is not justified by the historical facts. I understand the theory that you are positing, but I think it is tough.
- You got to back it up.
- And I think Professor Turley backed up what he was trying to say.
- And so I am asking you who would you point to. Mr. Lazarus.
- Can I finish? Mr. DeSantis.
- Well, I want you to answer the question. Mr. Lazarus.
- The answer to the question is that during the Constitutional Convention-this is what I said in my testimony and this is what the basis of the interpretation is, and I think it is widely accepted.
Originally what became the Take Care Clause did not have “faithfully” and did not have “take care” in it. It just said that the President shall carry into execution the laws. As the debate went forward, that got changed and “faithfully” and “take care” were added.
- Mr. DeSantis.
- I understand that. Mr. Lazarus.
- What I said what that clearly shows-and I think what scholars on all sides have accepted-that shows that the President is to faithfully, in good faith- Mr. DeSantis.
- Let me reclaim my time because you have made that point.
- That was not my question.
- My question is about show me something I can go where Hamilton is saying this or not.
You are talking about- Mr. Lazarus. This is even more powerful. It does- Mr. DeSantis. And I think Mr. Turley’s point about the language is more correct. But let me just say one other thing. Mr. Lazarus. This is the actual legislative record, and it is more- Mr.
- DeSantis. So the text matters there but it does not matter with the ACA because you are saying the purpose is different from what the text actually says.
- But I do think, though, the idea of when you are talking about Mr.
- Cannon’s argument, about, oh, nobody in Congress- they did not intend for this subsidy to do-the idea that we know what Congress intended on a 2,600-page bill that many Members did not read, much less understand-there were Members here swearing you could keep your plan, you could keep your doctor.
And now we have Members of Congress running around saying, oh, my gosh, I did not know you would not be able to keep your plan, your doc. So the idea you are going to rely on that over the text of the actual statute to me I do not think- I am a textualist-I would do that anyway.
But with this health care law I think of any law, surely you cannot point to what Congress intended and to these intricate provisions because many of them did not read or understand it. And my time is up and I will yield back. Mr. Lazarus. But it is Mr. Cannon who is claiming that it was the intention. It was intentional and purposeful of Congress to construe the law in the cramped way in which he does.
Mr. Gowdy. I thank the gentleman from Florida. The Chair would now recognize the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Gohmert. Mr. Gohmert. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I thank all of our witnesses. It is good to see some of you back. I do not remember seeing all of you. Otherwise, it would be all of you.
- If you would suppose with me that you are in a town hall back in a congressional district and you had an elementary school child, student, stand up and ask this question, I would like to know how each of you would answer this child’s question.
- What right does the House of Representatives have to pick and choose what part of Government gets funding? What is your response? We will start with Professor Turley.
Mr. Turley. I am sorry. The last part of the question? Mr. Gohmert. What right does the House of Representatives have to pick and choose what part of Government gets funded? Mr. Turley. Well, I think the answer is clear. In this sort of orbital world, these three branches are placed by the Framers.
- The key power given to Congress and the House of Representatives was the power of the purse, to control the funds.
- What is alarming about the situation is that even that power is being challenged and being marginalized. Mr. Gohmert.
- Professor Rosenkranz? Mr.
- Article I, section 8 gives you the power to decide what you want to fund and what you do not want to fund.
Mr. Gohmert. And, Professor Lazarus? Mr. Lazarus. Professor Rosenkranz took the words right out of my mouth. Mr. Gohmert. Article I, section 8? Okay. Mr. Cannon. Article I, section 8, along with the Senate. Mr. Gohmert. Mr. Chairman, I would ask that we provide a copy of the answer to this question to Senate Leader Reid since he asked that question.
- Now, with regard to Libya, the President said he did not need to come to Congress in order to get our authority to start bombing in Libya.
- And that was a concern to some of us.
- He had been asked by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, all 50 or 57 states, whatever they got, 50, 57, and also by some of the NATO allies that use Libyan oil.
So he did not need Congress’ approval because he had those requests. He was initially prepared to help the Syrian rebels, which al Qaeda had become, not initially, but they have become the most profound part, and he was ready to start bombing the Syrian leader that Hillary Clinton had called a reformer.
- Initially he planned to do that without Congress’ consent.
- He did not think he needed Congress’ consent, but obviously once there was a lot of political pushback, he threw it to Congress and let them decide.
- But I am curious from each of you.
- What gives the President the authority to order bombing, even if he promises to limit the numbers of people that he will kill? What gives him authority to go start bombing a country? Obviously we would consider it an act of war if any country started dropping bombs over us.
But what gives him that authority? I am curious, from each of you. Mr. Turley. Well, first of all, I think it is a great question because I was a little confused when Mr. Lazarus says no one has accused President Obama of being inclined to engage in war without a declaration.
- I was in court with Members of this Committee saying exactly that in the Libyan war conflict.
- And what disturbed us is that the White House came back and said the reason we do not need a declaration of war is because the President alone defines what a war is, and he is simply saying this is not a war.
And when we talk about the dangers, this is a danger of a different kind. It is not only a danger of separation of powers, obviously, and a direct violation of the express language of the Constitution, but this Administration through these acts and through the large number of drone attacks is returning the world to a state of nature.
We are taking down critical international legal principles that have governed this world, that have respected territorial limitations. I just spoke to the NATO parliamentarians, and I told them you will loathe the day that you endorsed the U.S. position that they can take unilateral action when somebody vaporizes someone in the middle of London.
Mr. Gohmert. My time is about to run out. So let me morph that into this question to each of you and get your answer. Now, the President had ordered Anwar al-Awlaki killed by a drone strike in Yemen, an American citizen, without any due process as we have come to know it.
I asked the question in this room at another hearing, how far does that order extend? I mean, if al-Awlaki came back to Capitol Hill and led prayers, as he had before, of congressional staffers, was that order still good? I wanted to know in case a drone strike was still on. What authority do you think the President has to order American citizens killed in other countries in which we are not at war or in the U.S.? My time is up, but if I can get answers to that question from each of you.
Mr. Gowdy. As quickly as you can, given the subject matter. Mr. Turley. I do not believe he has authority to do that. They have cited things like hot pursuit, which makes no sense. It is not an imminent threat. I believe the President’s kill list policy is flagrantly and dangerously unconstitutional.
- Mr. Rosenkranz.
- I think it is quite a difficult question, but the Obama administration’s Office of Legal Counsel memo on this is certainly quite strained.
- So they are reaching for analogies and analysis that is quite unconvincing I would say. Mr. Gohmert.
- Professor Lazarus? Mr. Lazarus.
- I am very, very far from an expert on these matters.
But I would just offer one observation and that is I do not really see why the American citizenship issue in the case that the Congressman is referring to is all that significant. I think that if a Nazi general happened to have been an American citizen, it would not alter the way we could deal with him militarily.
But there are weighty questions about the President’s authority to implement the drone program. I do not really have an expert view on that. Mr. Gohmert. Briefly, Mr. Cannon. Mr. Lazarus. I think it has been very effective militarily, so that is a good thing. Mr. Cannon. I will just associate myself with Professor Turley’s comments.
Mr. Gohmert. Okay. Thank you very much. I appreciate you all’s testimony. Mr. Gowdy. I thank the gentleman from Texas. The Chair would now recognize another gentleman from Texas, Mr. Farenthold. Mr. Farenthold. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate the opportunity to ask some questions here.
I am going to ask for you all’s help in answering what is probably the number one question I get at town hall meetings and people who are running up to me at the grocery store when I am back home in Texas. And it goes something like this. In light of-and you can insert whatever you want, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of advocacy groups, NSA overreach, if you like your health care, you can keep it, varying the terms and waivers of Obamacare.
The number one question I get is what can you do about it. We sent you to Congress to do something about this. And I have listened today, and I have heard we could enact new laws. Well, that does not work if they cannot get through the Senate and the President himself will not sign it.
We can use the power of the purse. Well, that is pretty much dead. We have heard testimony about that. And in the era of continuing resolutions, we do not have a lot of options here. Well, we could go to the court. We have heard about the standing issue. Also even when there is standing, a delay tactic leaves you- probably the President will be termed out by the time any of these court decisions are held.
We talked a little bit about elections. I think Chairman Issa brought up the issue with the IRS scandal interfering with elections, that is kind of off the table. And I will admit my party did not do as well as we probably should have in the other election, but we did do well in the 2010 election when in historic numbers Congress changed.
And then we have also talked about the “I” word, impeachment, which again I do not think would get past the Senate in the current climate. Am I missing anything? Is there anything else we can do? Mr. Turley? Mr. Turley. Well, it does paint a dire picture. As we have said before, for years I have encouraged Members to consider Member standing as a standalone issue, of trying to find a way to establish, either constitutionally or through statute, to allow Members of Congress to have- Mr.
Farenthold. Okay. So there is one fix to the court system. But you are still not going to get that through in any amount of time. Mr. Turley. Yes. To me the most troubling thing is-I just published a Law Review article on recess appointments, which I also testified on.
Mr. Farenthold. We forgot that one in the list. Mr. Turley. What is fascinating about it is that because Congress has been stripped of more and more of its power, it has actually put more emphasis on appointments as a way of controlling the White House. Mr. Farenthold. Have we been stripped of it or have we inadvertently given it up? Mr.
Turley. I am afraid it is either by acclaim or it has been- Mr. Farenthold. I have to ask the rest of the panel. Mr. Rosenkranz? Mr. Rosenkranz. Well, I have said it before. I am sorry to say that the ultimate remedy for this sort of thing is elections, and democracy is slow and messy.
- But at the end of the day, the right answer for this Committee is to hold hearings like this, to publicize what it takes to be violations of the Constitution and for that to become an election issue. Mr.
- Farenthold. Mr.
- Lazarus, I realize you do not think we have the problem with the President a lot of my constituents have.
But have I missed anything on a remedies against any rogue-again, I use the term in broad, general-not pointing to anybody in particular-a rogue President? Mr. Lazarus. I think that is, with all due respect, a gross misrepresentation of this President.
Mr. Farenthold. I was not pointing to this President. A hypothetical rogue President. Mr. Lazarus. Well, we know. We had a rogue President who was driven from office and who would have been impeached and convicted had that not happened. Actually that result was guaranteed in this very room when the ranking Republican Member of the Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Nixon.
So, sure- Mr. Farenthold. Mr. Cannon? Mr. Cannon. Well, I think what Professors Turley and Rosenkranz said is accurate or would help Member standing. Yes, you have to win elections, but something that has not been mentioned is getting Democrats to care about this issue when there is a Democratic President and getting Republicans to care about these issues when there is a Republican President.
Right now, I do not know if anyone who is watching this at home has noticed, but all the Democratic Members of the Committee have left room. I think they left about 20 minutes. We are 3 and a half hours into this hearing. They are obviously not as interested in this as- Mr. Farenthold. And finally, I think one of our problems here is we have a President right now who is not willing to work with Congress.
We just had a Democrat walk in. Mr. Cannon. I retract my statement. My apologies. Mr. Farenthold. I have talked to a constituent who worked for the Bush White House whose job it was to lobby with Congress, and I have met with somebody from the Obama administration exactly twice in 3 years.
- And I do think it is the President’s duty to engage.
- I had a question on that, but I am out of time.
- But I do think there is a disappointment with the President not being engaged. Mr.
- Cannon? Mr. Cannon. If I may.
- Republicans are very concerned about executive power when the executive is a Democrat.
- Democrats are very concerned about executive power abuses when the executive is a Republican.
I think the Members of each party need to care about these issues a lot more when someone from their own party occupies the White House and not just when someone from the opposite party- Mr. Farenthold. Thank you. I see my time has expired, Chairman Gowdy.
I will give it back to you. Mr. Gowdy. I thank the gentleman from Texas. The Chair would now recognize the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Cohen. Mr. Cohen. Thank you, sir. I have obviously missed some of this hearing, although I have caught some of it on the magic of video television. And I was interested the gentleman, Mr.
Cannon, had mentioned the possibility of impeachment or some impeachable offenses. Is that accurate? Mr. Cannon. I cannot remember if I brought that up. I may have. Mr. Cohen. And in what context would you have brought that up? Mr. Cannon. I think in response to a question.
I am not sure if I did or if someone else- Mr. Cohen. Can anybody on the panel refresh his memory? Mr. Cannon. I think what I brought up was a constitutional amendment convention. I do not think I brought up impeachment. I agree that it is certainly a tool that the Congress can use to restrain the executive.
Mr. Cohen. Constitutional amendment. You suggested we should have a convention? Mr. Cannon. The question I was asked was-I was asked about ways the people can restrain the executive, and I offered that as one way. Mr. Cohen. That has never been done before. Has it? Mr.
Cannon. Not that I am aware of, no. Mr. Cohen. Anybody else on the panel have any thoughts about impeachment? Mr. Rosenkranz. I mentioned impeachment earlier. We have been asked several times questions about possible remedies if we find that a President is behaving lawlessly. I have not said that this President has or that these examples rise to that level.
But the ultimate constitutional check on a lawless President is impeachment and ultimately election. Mr. Cohen. Right. That is the check. But nobody has suggested that the President has certainly not committed any impeachable offenses, I presume. Nobody here thinks that.
Is that right? Mr. Cannon? Mr. Cannon. Well, I do not know. As Professor Rosenkranz mentioned, I think an important element is that whatever crimes or misdemeanors he has committed were committed knowingly and whether there is a pattern of abuse of his office. And in my testimony, you will see that I actually lay out a pretty consistent pattern whereby President Obama has ignored and tried to rewrite portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
And I think that the most egregious of these is the one where he is implementing the law in a way such that he is taxing and borrowing and spending, over the next 10 years, $700 billion that this Congress never authorized. Now, you may disagree with my interpretation of the law.
I know Mr. Lazarus does. But I think that you and I and Mr. Lazarus would all agree that if a President were trying to tax and borrow and spend $700 billion without congressional authorization, that might be an impeachable offense. Mr. Cohen. Does anybody here think any actions of the Bush administration and going into Iraq without actual knowledge of weapons of mass destruction or anything else would have been an impeachable offense? Mr.
Lazarus, you seem to be nodding. Mr. Lazarus. No. Disregard the nod behind the curtain or in front of the curtain. I was very upset by that, but whether it is impeachable is a political decision that Congress would have to make. Mr. Cohen. Mr. Turley? Mr. Turley.
Well, the war powers issue does come closest for me for both President Obama and President Bush. The reason I do not think it rises to that level is because court decisions have made this so much of a mess, first of all, by judicial passivity in not reviewing it and by the use of historical practice.
So I think it is very hard to maintain an impeachable offense when you have that degree of ambiguity. I do not believe that ambiguity is found in the Constitution. I believe that President Obama violated the Constitution in Libya, for example. But because of that history and precedent, they can claim that were acting on a reasonable interpretation of the law.
Mr. Cohen. Thank you. Mr. Gowdy, I congratulate you, I guess, on South Carolina’s victory, and I yield back the balance of my time. Mr. Gowdy. Thank you, Mr. Cohen. I have got to be careful how I respond to that since they are both State schools. I thank the gentleman from Tennessee. I would now recognize another gentleman from Texas, former judge, Judge Poe.
Mr. Poe. I thank the Chairman. I disagree with you, Mr. Cannon, on that Republicans are only concerned about executive abuses when Democrats are in control. I personally do not like any executive abuses no matter who the President is. And I think our executives have gotten out of control over the last several executives, not to mention the judicial branch which I served in for 22 years.
I think it has exceeded its boundaries of the Constitution. But we are talking about the executive branch. In the Constitution, if I remember correctly, the executive branch is mentioned second. The first one mentioned in the Constitution is the legislative branch. That would be Congress. Third is the judicial branch.
My understanding of the writers of the Constitution-they put the most important one first and least important last because we are elected and the guys on the other end are appointed forever. In the middle is the executive branch. The President said we are not a banana republic.
- There are a lot of definitions to banana republic, but my view of a banana republic is a lawless country.
- We are proud of the fact in the United States we are a country of laws not people.
- But yet, we are in a situation where the law means different things to different people and it is not enforced.
- And like many have said here, back home in Texas they just do not understand where the President gets the authority to do some of these things without congressional intervention.
I agree with the people that I represent, and they are from both parties. They are not just Republicans. They are saying, well, how can he do that? If I hear that once, I hear it a hundred times when I go home on weekends. How can he do that and what are you going to do about it, Congressman Poe? I get asked that a lot.
We have had some discussion about those things. We know subjects. There are a lot of subjects when people question where the President has authority. But let’s spend one moment on one issue. Obamacare, according to the Supreme Court, is a tax. The President has used the law and has said that I am going to postpone that tax for this group first, big business.
Then I am going to postpone the tax for 6 weeks for individuals, and then I am going to postpone the tax a year for small businesses. He is postponing taxes. Since I have no life, I have read Obamacare. I do not see that in there where the President-we gave him the authority to postpone a tax, but he does it.
- Now, if he has the legal authority to do that, which I doubt-but he used that authority-what is to prevent him from just going looking at the IRS Code, which is a mess.
- I do not know any American that thinks the IRS Code is a good bill, but rather than fix it, we just make it bigger every year.
- So the President goes to the IRS Code and says, well, this group of businesses-they are just having a bad year like green businesses, or we could use the energy companies on the other end, the oil and gas industry.
I am just going to postpone them paying income tax for a year. Why? Because I said so. Or I will take this group and do something similar, tweak their tax. Rather than paying 38 percent, they are going to just pay 20 percent for the next year. It seems to me if he has the legal authority to amend taxes, which the Affordable Care Act is a tax according to the Supreme Court, what is to prevent him from just amending any tax to his liking? Mr.
- Turley, weigh in on this, if you would, Professor. Mr. Turley.
- Thank you, Congressman.
- I have to agree.
- First of all, on your first remark about Article I, as I have said before, it is true that they are all equal branches, but the Framers spent the most time on Congress because it is this thumping heart of the Madisonian system.
It is where the magic happens, and that magic is to take those factional interests, those interests that destroyed countries, and turn them into a majoritarian compromise. And when we get to the issue of taxes, as you have raised, that is one of the most divisive issues facing the country.
And so when someone comes before Congress and says I want my group to be excluded, it obviously produces a great deal of heat from people saying, well, how about my group. How long should this apply? It is perhaps the most divisive issue that is raised in Congress, and that is precisely why it was given to Congress so that those types of issues would be subject to this transformative process of legislation.
Mr. Poe. So do you believe that that would be an unlawful constitutional act if the President started amending the tax code on his whim? Mr. Turley. Yes, I do. Mr. Poe. Let me ask you one other question, if I may, Mr. Chairman. You mentioned remedies. What about the remedy of a mandamus? Would a mandamus remedy lie in any situation where Congress thought the executive had not enforced the law? Mr.
Turley. Mandamus can be very difficult in some of these if you are trying to use mandamus against the President, but you can challenge some of these decisions, for example, the HHS decisions as violating APA, for example. You can go with-if you have standing to do so. Those are obviously a long process.
And this is one of the things where I tend to get off the train with at least one of my colleagues. This is not an APA issue. This is a constitutional issue. It is a President usurping the authority of Congress. And to say that this is just something that we leave to agencies I think radically misunderstands the severity of the situation.
Mr. Poe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. Mr. Goodlatte, I want to thank all of our witnesses for an excellent hearing, a great discussion on what I think is one of the most important issues facing our country today. I want to also thank the Members for a very strong participation in today’s hearing, and that means the witnesses had to stay maybe a little longer than they had originally thought they would, but that only means that you have had the opportunity to talk through and think through and debate this issue even more extensively.
So I thank all of you for your participation. This concludes today’s hearing. And without objection, all Members will have 5 legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witnesses or additional materials for the record. And this hearing is adjourned.
What is the process of execute?
Process execution refers to execution of an action or a process. A process can be a computation script, a workflow definition, a service etc. An action can be a decision making, a judgment etc. A process execution should be associated with an actor.
What does it mean to execute an action?
: to carry out fully : put completely into effect. execute a command. : to do what is provided or required by. execute a decree.
Who was the first man executed?
The Death Penalty in America – Britain influenced America’s use of the death penalty more than any other country. When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the practice of capital punishment. The first recorded execution in the new colonies was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608.
Kendall was executed for being a spy for Spain. In 1612, Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale enacted the Divine, Moral and Martial Laws, which provided the death penalty for even minor offenses such as stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians. Laws regarding the death penalty varied from colony to colony.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony held its first execution in 1630, even though the Capital Laws of New England did not go into effect until years later. The New York Colony instituted the Duke’s Laws of 1665. Under these laws, offenses such as striking one’s mother or father, or denying the “true God,” were punishable by death.
(Randa, 1997) Sources Amnesty International, ” List of Abolitionist and Retentionist Countries,” Report ACT 50 / 01 / 99, April 1999 D. Baker: ” A Descriptive Profile and Socio-Historical Analysis of Female Executions in the United States: 1632 – 1997 “; 10 ( 3 ) Women and Criminal Justice 57 ( 1999 ) R.
Bohm, ” Deathquest: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Capital Punishment in the United States,” Anderson Publishing, 1999, ” The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies,” H. Bedau, editor, Oxford University Press, 1997,K. O’Shea, ” Women and the Death Penalty in the United States, 1900 – 1998,” Praeger 1999,W.
Who was the first person executed?
Historical Federal Executions | U.S. Marshals Service The U.S. Marshal has been historically assigned the task of conducting the death sentences on those condemned by federal courts. This stemmed from “An Act for the Punishment of certain Crimes against the United States” (April 30, 1790) and the, Convicted of President Lincoln’s Assassination, Surratt, David Herold, George Atzerodt and Paine were hanged on the grounds of present-day Fort McNair. The first known federal execution under this authority was conducted by on June 25, 1790. He was ordered to execute one Thomas Bird for murder on the high seas.
- In coordinating this, Dearborn spent money on building a gallows and coffin.
- Later, as U.S.
- Marshals saw more death sentences imposed, a few districts resorted to more permanent equipment.
- Had a portable scaffold that could be easily packed for travel in 1894.
- Most death sentences required use of the gallows until the mid Twentieth Century.
The famous “Hanging Judge,” the Honorable Isaac Parker of the Western District of Arkansas, ordered 160 known executions, of which 79 were actually carried out after the appeals and commutation process. Often hangings created a spectacle, so most crowds were kept at a distance. George Maledon, Deputy U.S. Marshal who was responsible for carrying out executions for Judge Parker The most famous federal executions attended by the U.S. Marshals were those of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in June 1953.U.S. Marshal William A. Carroll of the Southern District of New York rented the electric chair at the famous Sing Sing Prison and saw to his duties.
- On March 15, 1963, U.S.
- Marshal Covell Meek of the Northern District of Iowa oversaw the execution by hanging of convicted murderer and kidnapper Victor Feguer.
- The latest federal executions were that of Louis Jones, Jr., on March 18, 2003, and those of Timothy McVeigh and Juan Raul Garza, on June 11 and 19, 2001, respectively.
Jones kidnapped, assaulted and killed Private Tracie Joy McBride. McVeigh was sentenced to death for the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.U.S. Marshal Frank Anderson of Northern Indiana attended both the McVeigh and Garza executions at the Federal Penitentiary at Terre Haute.
Who was innocent but executed?
Texas — Convicted: 1992; Executed: 2004 – After examining evidence from the capital prosecution of Cameron Willingham, four national arson experts have concluded that the original investigation of Willingham’s case was flawed, and it is possible the fire was accidental.
- The independent investigation, reported by the Chicago Tribune, found that prosecutors and arson investigators used arson theories that have since been repudiated by scientific advances.
- Willingham was executed in 2004 in Texas despite his consistent claims of innocence.
- He was convicted of murdering his three children in a 1991 house fire.
Arson expert Gerald Hurst said, “There’s nothing to suggest to any reasonable arson investigator that this was an arson fire. It was just a fire.” Former Louisiana State University fire instructor Kendall Ryland added, ” made me sick to think this guy was executed based on this investigation.
They executed this guy and they’ve just got no idea – at least not scientifically – if he set the fire, or if the fire was even intentionally set.” Willingham was convicted of capital murder after arson investigators concluded that 20 indicators of arson led them to believe that an accelerent had been used to set three separate fires inside his home.
Among the only other evidence presented by prosecutors during the the trial was testimony from jailhouse snitch Johnny E. Webb, a drug addict on psychiatric medication, who claimed Willingham had confessed to him in the county jail. Evidence discovered years after the Willingham execution showed that the prosecution had given Webb favorable treatment, then deliberately elicited perjured testimony from Webb that he had been promised and given nothing for his testimony.
- The Marshall Project, August 3, 2014).
- Some of the jurors who convicted Willingham were troubled when told of the new case review.
- Juror Dorinda Brokofsky asked, “Did anybody know about this prior to his execution? Now I will have to live with this for the rest of my life.
- Maybe this man was innocent.” Prior to the execution, Willingham’s defense attorneys presented expert testimony regarding the new arson investigation to the state’s highest court, as well as to Texas Governor Rick Perry.
No relief was granted and Willingham was executed on February 17, 2004. Coincidentally, less than a year after Willingham’s execution, arson evidence presented by some of the same experts who had appealed for relief in Willingham’s case helped free Ernest Willis from Texas’s death row.
The experts noted that the evidence in the Willingham case was nearly identical to the evidence used to exonerate Willis. (Chicago Tribune, December 9, 2004). Read “Texas Man Executed on Disproved Forensics” by Steve Mills and Maurice Possley, Chicago Tribune (December 9, 2004) Read “Was an Innocent Man Executed in Texas?” by Anderson Cooper 360 Blog (April 9, 2007) Read ” The Prosecutor and the Snitch.
Did Texas execute an innocent man? ” by Maurice Possley, The Marshall Project (August 3, 2014) See also The Ernest Willis Case
What are examples of execution?
The primary means of execution in the U.S. have been hanging, electrocution, the gas chamber, firing squad, and lethal injection.
What’s mean by executed?
To kill someone as a legal punishment : He was executed for murder. She was condemned to death and executed two weeks later. A convicted murderer was executed in North Carolina yesterday.
Why is it called execution?
Etymology – From Latin execūtiō, an agent noun from exsequor ( ” follow out ” ), itself from ex + sequor ( ” follow ” ),
How does the President execute all the laws?
Steps in Making a Law –
- A bill can be introduced in either chamber of Congress by a senator or representative who sponsors it.
- Once a bill is introduced, it is assigned to a committee whose members will research, discuss, and make changes to the bill.
- The bill is then put before that chamber to be voted on.
- If the bill passes one body of Congress, it goes to the other body to go through a similar process of research, discussion, changes, and voting.
- Once both bodies vote to accept a bill, they must work out any differences between the two versions. Then both chambers vote on the same exact bill and, if it passes, they present it to the president.
- The president then considers the bill. The president can approve the bill and sign it into law or not approve (veto) a bill.
- If the president chooses to veto a bill, in most cases Congress can vote to override that veto and the bill becomes a law. But, if the president pocket vetoes a bill after Congress has adjourned, the veto cannot be overridden.
What does it mean to execute power?
vb tr 1 to put (a condemned person) to death; inflict capital punishment upon 2 to carry out; complete; perform; do to execute an order 3 to perform; accomplish; effect to execute a pirouette 4 to make or produce to execute a drawing 5 to carry into effect (a judicial sentence, the law, etc.); enforce 6 (Law) to comply with legal formalities in order to render (a deed, etc.) effective, as by signing, sealing, and delivering 7 to sign (a will) in the presence of witnesses and in accordance with other legal formalities 8 to carry out the terms of (a contract, will, etc.) (C14: from Old French executer, back formation from executeur executor) ♦ executable adj ♦ executer n English Collins Dictionary – English Definition & Thesaurus Collaborative Dictionary English Definition
|dominant||adj.||a person with more power or authority than others||Eg.: Your father is one of the dominant man in his section because he is boss.|
|! sudo||v.||SuperUser Do: used in Unix/Linux by a ‘regular’ (non-root) user to execute or preform an ‘Administrator’ (super user, root user) command or task.|
|cyber object||n.||a virtual component in cyberspace which may be in any form and may execute any function, solely or partially.|
|! gibe||n.||1:to utter taunting words 2:to deride or tease with taunting words ‘The Gridiron Show group joked with and gibed at those in the Memphis power structure, politicians mostly. Rarely did anyone get their feelings hurt by the skits in the shows.” — Toby Sells, Memphis Magazine, December 2014|
|! argyrocracy||n.||a political system where power is based on the wealthiest elements of the society|
|Poison Dwarf||n.||Poisonously vicious person in position of power who is not immediately identified as such. Both sexes. Euphemism.|
|bully pulpit||n.||dominant position, use of an office with power and influence to expose or impose one’s views||canned by Theodore Roosevelt|
|! Web Ownership||exp.||The rights of ownership and power for transference of one’s web assets belong to the individual.|
|might is right||id.||expression referring to the belief that those who hold the power are entitled to anything|
|quantum computing||n.||computation device whose processing power is derived from the application of quantum physics phenomena|
|live off the grid||exp.||live without being connected to one of more public utilities (such as water, electric power )|
|boardroom politics||n.||game of power inside a company’s board or management team||;|
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How did Jesus fulfill the law?
In terms of Paul’s Adam Christology, Christ having fulfilled everything the law requires means that, by their participation through faith and the application of that which is true of Christ to the lives of the believers by the Spirit, the requirement of the law has already been met with reference to those who are ‘in
What does Jesus say about observing the law?
See how Jesus said it in Hebrews 8:6-13 and Matthew 9:16-17. In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus says, ‘ Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
What does it mean to executing?
Execute verb (KILL) to kill someone as a legal punishment : He was executed for murder. More examples. She was condemned to death and executed two weeks later. A convicted murderer was executed in North Carolina yesterday.
What do you mean by executing?
Transitive verb. : to carry out fully : put completely into effect. execute a command. : to do what is provided or required by. execute a decree.
What is the process of executing?
Process execution refers to execution of an action or a process. A process can be a computation script, a workflow definition, a service etc. An action can be a decision making, a judgment etc. A process execution should be associated with an actor.
How does the President execute the law?
Steps in Making a Law –
- A bill can be introduced in either chamber of Congress by a senator or representative who sponsors it.
- Once a bill is introduced, it is assigned to a committee whose members will research, discuss, and make changes to the bill.
- The bill is then put before that chamber to be voted on.
- If the bill passes one body of Congress, it goes to the other body to go through a similar process of research, discussion, changes, and voting.
- Once both bodies vote to accept a bill, they must work out any differences between the two versions. Then both chambers vote on the same exact bill and, if it passes, they present it to the president.
- The president then considers the bill. The president can approve the bill and sign it into law or not approve (veto) a bill.
- If the president chooses to veto a bill, in most cases Congress can vote to override that veto and the bill becomes a law. But, if the president pocket vetoes a bill after Congress has adjourned, the veto cannot be overridden.