Forbes columnist Ilya Shapiro has compiled a list of what he calls President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013, saying that one of the President’s top accomplishments has been to return the Constitution to the center of public discussion, even if it was by “blatantly violating the strictures of our founding document.”
First on the list is the delay of Obamacare’s out-of-pocket caps. Shapiro points out that the Labor Department delayed a part of the healthcare law that limits how much people spend on insurance by a year despite not passing any legislation to do so.
Another Obamacare example is the delay of the employer mandate, which the White House announced via blog post rather than by passing legislation through Congress. Obama also delayed the minimum insurance requirements, after being slammed for breaking his “you can keep your plan” promise, only to “refuse to consider a House-passed bill that would have made this action legal.”
Shapiro points to Obamacare’s exemption of members of Congress, which he notes was done quietly and behind closed doors. Another example that Shapiro cites is the “expansion of the employer mandate penalty through IRS regulation”, which he says basically fines businesses for accepting Obamacare subsidies.
While Obamacare alone makes up half the list, it’s certainly not all of it. Shapiro points to political profiling by the IRS as another Constitutional overreach after the tax collectors went after groups whose names included words like “Tea Party” or “Patriots.”
He also points to the White House’s “outlandish Supreme Court arguments”, noting that the Supreme Court “unanimously rejected the Justice Department’s extreme positions 9 times” between January 2012 and June 2013. Those cases included anything from “criminal procedure to property rights, religious liberty to immigration.”
The list notes that Obama’s “recess appointments” were not really done during the Senate’s recess, as the upper chamber of Congress still holds “pro forma sessions” every three days. In such, those appointees must be confirmed by the senate.
Shapiro points to a letter from the Office of Civil Rights to college campuses telling them to crack down on “unwelcome speech”. According to Shapiro, the guidelines included require “complaints to be heard in quasi-judicial procedures that deny legal representation, encourage punishment before trial, and convict based on a mere ‘more likely than not’ standard.”
The last example in the article is the Mini-DREAM Act. Shapiro argues that “President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority, directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers. The executive branch undoubtedly has discretion regarding enforcement priorities, but granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.”