Barack Obama: Violating the law when he changes ObamaCare?

Tom Jackson
Feb 14, 2014

The Obama administration has repeatedly modified the deadlines that were supposed to enforce provisions of the Affordable Care Act, e.g. "ObamaCare."

Many of these changes in the law are clearly illegal, says Jonathan H. Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He recently posted an article, "Another day, another illegal ObamaCare delay," at The Volokh Conspiracy,  a libertarian-conservative law professor blog that recently moved to the Washington Post's website.

"The language of the statute is clear, and it is well established that when Congress enacts explicit deadlines into federal statutes, without also providing authority to waive or delay such deadlines, federal agencies are obligated to stay on schedule.  So, for instance, federal courts routinely force the Environmental Protection Agency to act when it misses deadlines and environmentalist groups file suit,"  Adler writes.

Ultimately, the problem is that making changes in federal law is Congress' responsibility, not the president's, Adler writes. "The Executive Branch is supposed to faithfully execute the laws Congress enacts, not rewrite them."

The courts  would seem to be the place to test Adler's thesis, but the law professor thinks that's not likely. After explaining that Congress is unlikely to reverse any of Obama's rewrites of the law (Democrats control the Senate), Adler adds, "Courts are unlikely to do anything here either, as it is not clear who would have standing to challenge the latest rule.  In order to demonstrate standing, a plaintiff must show that they are directly and personally injured by the government action at issue."

Aside from the policy issues raised by Adler's post (what's to keep a Republican president elected in 2016 from issuing proclamations to abolish parts of ObamaCare?) it's interesting that when the government does something illegal it may be impossible to do anything about it.

For example, the "standing" issue also may be giving a free pass to Gov. John Kasich's allegedly illegal creation of JobsOhio, his job development agency. Sandusky's Dennis Murray Jr. and others are currently before the Ohio Supreme Court, trying to demonstrate that they have standing to challenge the law. Murray tells me it will likely be a few months before the Ohio Supreme Court rules on the case.





Re: "Who is the buffer between Corporations and the working person?"

The competitive market.

Who's the "buffer" between over-reaching onerous govt. and the individual?


LOL. The free market and competition in health care do not exist as Insurance companies can price fix due exemption from Antitrust statutes.


Re: "Insurance companies can price fix due exemption from Antitrust statutes."

Rates are the purview of the states, NOT the Feds.

Not-to-worry; single payer will soon be a reality and then everything will be 'fair' right?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Going with the baited answer of government, I agree that it has a place and point. However, government should NOT be the origin or terminus (or monopolistic toll road) of this kind of service. It is supposed to be an innocuous facilitator and the ultimate arbiter when those two "sides" you mentioned disagree. In my view your intended point is partially correct, but you must also take Contango's answer into the mix.

I shouldn't beg my government for my life and health, I should beg them to intercede when someone else that I entered into a private contract with fails to deliver on their promise or is otherwise unscrupulous. This leaves the government cleaner in the end and resolves the issue between private parties.

The Big Dog's back

Obama is trying to "clean up" the health insurance industry.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Guaranteeing profits by our tax dollars sure is a step away from what you claim he is trying to do, among others.


No. Nobody has standing. YET. We go back to the "it must have damaged you, and you must be able to prove it" caveat. And since the deadline for individuals to have insurance is in March, nobody has yet been "damaged."

It's my understanding that there are a couple of class action lawsuits ready to go the very moment damages begin to be suffered. But again, that won't happen until somebody somewhere becomes liable for fines or any other penalties for the failure to be insured.


There's a cause of action called a Declaratory Judgment where one can ask a court to enjoin a law before the actual harm occurs but where the likelihood of harm is imminent. With ACA, one segment of the population is subject to quasi criminal penalties for failure to comply with the law while others have an excuse.

However, I do agree it is better to wait until the harm actually occurs.

Dr. Information

Just more proof that Obama is a dictator and will do whatever he wants to and trample over the laws to get his way. Laws? What laws, I'm president, I will do whatever I want to get my way. Let's see the left bloggers deflect, blame Bush, and lie. Here it comes, 3,2,1....


Looking forward to the progressive-socialists advocating govt. supported, mandated & guaranteed:

House insurance
Vehicle insurance
Grocery insurance
Job insurance
Retirement insurance
Disability insurance
Clothing insurance
Vacation insurance
Unemployment insurance
Education insurance
Entertainment insurance
Smart phone insurance

And the 'good news' is that's the direction they're intending, see:

"The Second Bill of Rights"

Hang on boys & girls!


Darwin's choice

"It’s a perfect analogy to the spiraling tyranny of centralized mismanagement epitomized by Obamacare and other rogue federal programs under President Obama. Here’s how it goes:

If you don’t bother to pay attention or even vote, you get a liberal in the White House and a bunch of them in Congress. When you get liberals in power, you get bad laws. When you have bad laws, you need penalties to ensure compliance. When you have more penalties, you need more enforcers. When you have more enforcers, you lose your freedom to run your business. When you can’t run your business, you lay off people.

When you lay off people, they go on welfare and food stamps. When they go on welfare and food stamps, they vote for lawmakers who will give them more free stuff. To pay for more free stuff, the government raises taxes and borrows money from China to service the national debt. When China crooks its finger, Uncle Sam crawls to Beijing, asking for mercy. Don’t make Uncle Sam crawl to Beijing asking for mercy."

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"Cloward–Piven strategy":

Overwhelm the system in order to help bring about a socialist revolution.

Darwin's choice

Correct! And here we are....