Economics, Health Care

The Obamacare employer mandate delay is another symptom of our crumbling ‘rule of law’

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

I am not a legal scholar, so I need someone to explain it to me. In what sense do we live under the rule of law if the Congress can pass a bill, the president can sign it, and then the president can unilaterally announce that it is not going to be implemented as planned? Telling me that this kind of discretionary power is routinely exercised by the executive branch is not an answer. In what sense is legislation that permits such discretion the “rule of law”? Isn’t the essence of the rule of law that ordinary citizens can know what the rules are? Can be confident that the rules are not guidelines but, you know, The Law?

We live in a country where the law has not only become unintelligible, written in thousand-page chunks, but has morphed into a giant mass of silly putty that can be reshaped as our rulers find convenient.

10 thoughts on “The Obamacare employer mandate delay is another symptom of our crumbling ‘rule of law’

  1. Charles, we live in a country where the people of the State of California can affirm their support for traditional marriage TWICE, yet have no standing to enforce their referendum if the governor chooses to ignore it.

  2. My understanding is that the timing of the implementation is dictated in the legislative language by one of the hundreds of “The Secretary shall determine….” instances found in the law.

  3. Actually, in this instance, ACA sec. 1513(d) provides explicitly when that monthly reporting requirement shall apply. “The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.”

    This would appear to offer no discretion. On the other hand, the statute does not say “all months” beginning after December 31, but somehow I doubt that line of argument would carry a lot of weight in court. Then again, I don’t pretend to understand Chief Justice Roberts’ convoluted reasoning in upholding the law in the first place, so who knows?

  4. The Law no longer exists.

    Law is whatever those in power say it is. All language is now “open to construction.”

    The founders had a name for that: tyranny.

    Obamascare is a direct form of tyranny.

  5. Getting around a law you don’t want to obey or enforce is ‘nullification’. Executive Nullification is the Presidential analogue to Jury Nullification or even the ante-bellum notion of State Nullification.

    The classic method (since Jefferson) of executive nullification and frustration of the direction of Congress in the United States was through Impoundment of Appropriated Funds – a tactic favored by some Conservatives. But, since Nixon, The Impoundment Control Act, and Train v. City of New York (1975), impoundment has been deemed as basically illegal despite a long tradition.

    I guess it all depends on whose ox is being gored. Maybe once upon a time there were some market for politicians who stood for upholding formal procedures even if it meant the frustrations of other parts of their agenda for policy. That era is gone.

  6. Make no mistake. Rule of law is a core value of President Jarrett.

    “The most transparent administration in history.”
    — Richard Windsor

  7. I was born in 1938 and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and Texarkana, TX, during WWII. I always felt secure and comfortable in the U.S., which I viewed as an extended family full of people working together to build a better future. I no longer recognize this country.

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