9:12 AM, Sep 1, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In 2014, President Obama has made much of his pen-and-a-phone strategy to accomplish his goals in the face of what he calls an "unprecedented pattern of obstruction" from Republicans in Congress. Apparently the president's supporters are on board with the idea of unilateral executive action. At a meeting last Friday, a supporter of the president asked about the possibility of "a state of emergency." The president relayed the story to another groups of supporters at a Democratic National Committee event later in the day at a private residence in Purchase, New York:
I was in a meeting earlier today and somebody asked, you know, Mr. President, what can you do, these folks, they just -- all they do is just oppose whatever you propose even if they used to be for it, now they’re against it; if you said the sky was blue, they’d say it was green; they deny the facts, they don’t have any ideas for growing the economy or helping the middle class -- maybe you just need to announce a state of emergency. I said, well, now, I’m not going to do that, that’s not how the Constitution works. (Laughter.)
Of course, "how the Constitution works" is at the heart of the dispute between the president and Republicans in the House who recently voted to move forward with a lawsuit against the president for overstepping his constitutional authority. Interestingly, regardless of how seriously President Obama took his supporter's question, he went on to tell his audience "there’s actually a solution to this that our Founders envisioned." However, he was not talking about executive orders:
I said to them, you know, there’s actually a solution to this that our Founders envisioned, and that is people being involved citizens and getting out there and voting, and bringing about change through the ballot box.
The president went on to tell his DNC audience that "we have the opportunity to do that during these midterms," although based on a recent email that President Obama sent on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the Democrats may have already written off their chances of winning back the majority in the House elections in November:
I'm emailing you again because the Senate is at stake.
If the GOP gains just six seats, the same Republicans who just voted to sue me will control both houses of Congress...
Will you let Republicans take charge of everything from the future of Medicare to education? Or will you make sure Democrats stay in charge?
The president did not specifically mention the elections for the House of Representatives in his DSCC fund raising email, nor in his remarks at the event on Friday. President Obama spoke at three fundraisers on Friday. At this point, the White House has posted a transcript of the president's remarks from only one.
1:41 PM, Jun 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House says "the constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office disagrees" with the Supreme Court's decision today on the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare:
10:05 AM, Jun 27, 2014 • By ADAM J. WHITE
Two and a half years ago, President Obama tired of the Senate's refusal to confirm several of his nominations. Dissatisfied with the Constitution's general requirement that the president make appointments only after receiving the Senate's "advice and consent," he chose a more direct route.
1:34 PM, Jun 26, 2014 • By TERRY EASTLAND
In NLRB v. Noel Canning, whatever the differences between the bare majority of five justices led by Justice Breyer and the four dissenters for whom Justice Scalia wrote, there is no question between the contending sides that President Obama acted unconstitutionally in making three ostensible recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
4:51 PM, Jun 13, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
If there is any realm of policy that the American Founders were most firmly committed to having be decided by the most representative branch — the Congress — it was presumably the realm of taxation. Those who wrote the Constitution were not content even to let the Senate initiate tax policy. Instead, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution specifies, “All Bills for raising R
1:32 PM, Jun 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Nancy Pelosi is fundraising to amend the Constitution of the United States.
"You might miss out on history," she writes in an email sent out on the Mother Jones email list.
"931,561 people and counting have added their name calling for a Constitutional amendment to end Citizens United.
1:05 PM, Jun 3, 2014 • By ADAM J. WHITE
From 2005 through 2008, legal scholars and Democratic politicians heaped relentless scorn upon the Bush administration for arguing that the president's constitutional commander-in-chief powers superseded statutes that might limit his discretion.
8:02 AM, Apr 24, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
It is becoming increasingly hard to tell whether Obamacare is the law of the land, or just the law of the parts of the land that don’t reside in (or aren’t in the good graces of) the executive branch. One wonders: Is it really too much to expect an administration that championed the passage of a 2,700-page overhaul of American medicine to live by the same law it was so eager to impose on others?
The Framers of the Constitution, that’s who.Jan 20, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 18 • By DAVID M. WAGNER
As an institution, the jury—especially in civil cases—is having a bad run these days. Nobody likes that summons in the mail (even though clerks-of-court in the electronic era have figured out ways to make jury service less of a hassle).
11:31 AM, Nov 18, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Democratic congressman Nick Rahall says he voted for the Keep Your Health Plan Act because President Obama's Obamacare fix lacked the "legal underpinning" he believes is necessary:
"Did you vote yes because you think that the president didn't go far enough?" a CBS reporter asked the congressman.
"I voted yes, perhaps that was part of the reason," said Rahall. "But the main reason was, I'm not sure he had the legal underpinning to do what he did."
2:40 PM, Nov 15, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Remember back (a few short weeks ago) when the Democrats were arguing that Obamacare was the law of the land, that it hadn’t been struck down by the Supreme Court (as if avoiding that ignominious fate by a razor-slim 5-4 vote were a selling point), and that Republicans—and the American people—just needed to get over it and accept Obamacare as settled law forevermore? Well, it now appears what they meant was that, while the American people are powerless to change (or repeal) the law that the Democrats passed, the Democratic president can do so at his whim. Apparently, the federal lawmaking authority has now moved to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
9:06 AM, Oct 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
John McCormack reports on Twitter that a World War I Memorial is closed due to the federal government shutdown. However, a sign posted by the National Park Service says that despite the memorial's closure, there is an exception "for 1st Amendment activities."
8:24 AM, Sep 24, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Speaking last Wednesday at the Center for American Progress (CAP), Democratic Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi became a little confused at one point, stumbling over her words and flipping through her notes while referencing one of the founding documents of the United States. Rep. Pelosi was recalling an early women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York 165 years ago.