Legal dictionaries define the word “usurpation” thus:
The illegal encroachment or assumption of the use of authority, power, or property properly belonging to another; the interruption or disturbance of an individual in his or her right or possession.
The term usurpation is also used in reference to the unlawful assumption or seizure of sovereign power, in derogation of the constitution and rights of the proper ruler.
–West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
In which case, what are we to make of this news:
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was again extending the ObamaCare enrollment deadline for people with pre-existing conditions.
The administration said it would extend the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), slated to end Jan. 31, until March 15.
“As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers’ transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.
The deadline was originally at the end of December, but last month, the administration pushed it back through January because of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov.
The new extension is just the latest in a string of unilateral delays the administration has implemented to buy time after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov.
By “unilateral,” the author means “done without any statutory authority from Congress, the body charged under the constitution with writing and rewriting our laws.”
Or, in a word, “usurpation.”
Republicans renewed their calls to delay or repeal ObamaCare Monday after the Obama administration announced another delay in the requirement for businesses to provide health coverage to workers, giving some employers a reprieve next year while phasing in the mandate for others.
The administration had already delayed the implementation of the so-called employer mandate by a year, initially pushing the requirements off until 2015 — past the midterm elections. In a concession to business, though, Treasury Department officials announced Monday that the administration would not enforce the rules across the board next year.
As a result of the delay, the administration will let employers with 50 to 99 employees off the hook in 2015. They’ll be required to report on how many workers are covered but will have until 2016 before being required to cover full-time staff or pay a penalty. Americans would still be required to obtain health insurance through what’s known as the individual mandate.
In other words, they’re giving a break to some employers, but not others, with, again, no legal authority to do so. This isn’t “prosecutorial discretion,” as the administration has tried sometimes to claim, but the seizure of legislative authority by the Executive to effectively rewrite an inconvenient law.
And, in the same article, Gabriel Malor found this gem:
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) February 11, 2014
To answer Gabe’s question, I’m willing to bet one could look high and low in the ACA and never find the authority.
But think about that highlighted portion and what follows: the Treasury, an executive department under the presidency, is unilaterally creating a criminal offense, a felony. Legislature? They don’t need no steenkin’ legislature! They’ll just rewrite the law as they see fit and then declare it a crime not to obey. (1)
To usurpation, then, let’s add “tyranny:”
a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially : one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state.
“Tyranny” and “usurpation” have a much more meaningful ring to them than “overreach,” don’t you think? Why, I can hear Jefferson sharpening his pen, even now.
Under our Madisonian system, institutional jealousy is supposed to keep the various branches from encroaching on each other’s constitutional prerogatives, but, for various reasons, those barriers eroded over the last century, especially since the New Deal.
The remedies Congress has for these usurpations are few and clumsy, the two most relevant being the refusal to allocate funds, and impeachment. So why not impeach President Obama?
Like Andrew McCarthy, while I’m convinced impeachment is well-warranted, I don’t believe the necessary political will among the public yet exists to carry it out. (2) In fact, I contend that the resulting political crisis, given that the Senate would never convict absent direct evidence that Obama ax-murdered someone in the Oval Office, wouldn’t be worth the destruction of Republicans’ electoral prospects in the coming midterm elections, which, thanks to Obamacare, are looking better and better. With control of both chambers starting in 2015 (3), Republicans and conservatives will be in a much better position to geld the White House and send Obama even more often to the links.
And that’s the real solution to Obama’s usurpations and petty tyrannies: a good, old-fashioned election. As Clint Eastwood said, “We own this country.” It’s time for the owners to take charge.
PS: Some relevant humor from Slublog.
Ahem. Fixed. pic.twitter.com/yClxFf8jmv
— Slublog (@Slublog) February 11, 2014
(1) God, but I’d love to see this tested in federal court and watch a judge shove this back in the administration’s face like a grapefruit wielded by Jimmy Cagney.
(2) This was the big mistake of the Clinton impeachment, which was also merited: Clinton was well-liked by the public, and so the public consensus did not exist that would otherwise have pressured senators into convicting him. A drastic move like this in a republic requires public support a priori to be successful.
(3) I hope.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)