Again, the “political experts” on cable TV continue to state that Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama is a “stunt” and will not be accepted by the Court because it addresses a “political question.” But, the problem with this argument is that Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit will address a question of constitutional law, not a political question.
President Obama and his administration unilaterally delayed the clearly defined implementation date of the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare].
A political question is an issue that is controlled by the decision-making authority of elected politicians that is outside of the domain of constitutional law. When a law is clear on when it must be executed, there is no decision to be made by the President concerning the time to implement. He must execute the law and implement it as the law requires. Article 2 of the U. S. Constitution directs the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” A failure to do so is a breach of the U. S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land.
The lawsuit will ask the Court to resolve a legal question, not a political one. Simply put, did President Obama violate the U. S. constitution by refusing to implement a law, which the President acknowledges was prescribed by Congress and is a valid and constitutional law?
Even if there was some political undertone to the issue, the Court must still address it as Chief Justice Burger confirmed in 1983:
“It is correct that this controversy may, in a sense, be termed ‘political.’ But the presence of constitutional issues with significant political overtones does not automatically invoke [462 U.S. 919, 943] the political question doctrine. Resolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches cannot be evaded by courts because the issues have political implications in the sense urged by Congress. Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803), was also a ‘political’ case, involving as it did claims under a judicial commission alleged to have been duly signed by the President but not delivered. But ‘courts cannot reject as ‘no law suit’ a bona fide controversy as to whether some action denominated ‘political’ exceeds constitutional authority.’ Baker v. Carr, supra, at 217.” INS v. Chadra, 462 U.S. 919, 942-43 (1983).
Chief Justice Burger continued on to say:
“Chief Justice Marshall observed: ‘It is the peculiar province of the legislature to prescribe general rules for the government of society; the application of those rules to individuals in society would seem to be the duty of other departments.’ Fletcher v. Peck, 6 Cranch 87, 136 (1810). In my view, when Congress undertook to apply its rules to Chadha, it exceeded the scope of its constitutionally prescribed authority.’” INS v. Chadra at 967.
So, if Congress’s action against Chadra exceeded the scope of Congress’s constitutional authority and required the Court to rule against Congress, then so should the Court rule on the President’s refusal to exercise his constitutional duty to execute a law that was prescribed by Congress. Each is a constitutional question.
Congress represents the citizens of the United States. The U. S. Constitution gives Congress the duty to enact laws for the benefit of U. S. citizens. A President’s unilateral refusal to see that these enacted laws are faithfully executed disenfranchises the citizens of the United States from their Congressional representation. This is a clear violation of the U. S. Constitution.
Congress has a duty to move to correct this.