Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) misled the American people on how their government works today, so that he could lie by claiming that President Obama is violating the Constitution.
Transcript via Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: Senator Lee, let me start with you.
The Obama administration contends that it has broad authority under the tax code to implement laws in ways that will encourage compliance. Given that authority, doesn’t President Obama have — whether you like it or not — the ability to keep changing ObamaCare?
LEE: Look, if that kind of broad regulatory mandate buried within the internal revenue code can authorize the president to do what he is purporting to do here, then there’s almost no limit to his authority. We have a government of one. We have a super executive and super legislator vested in the president of the United States. As, of course, not what we have as any high school civics student can tell you.
The president knows this is wrong and it’s not defensible. He is violating the Constitution. He is exercising power that doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to the American people.
WALLACE: Senator Lee, to questions about political — presidents twiddling their thumbs. If you look at the first five years of the recent two-term presidents we have a graph on the screen, Obama, in fact, has used executive orders much less often than his predecessors going back to Reagan. And this is the question that Congressman Becerra raised, and I think it’s a legitimate question for you, sir, if as a member of Congress you feel the president is doing something unconstitutional, you said that, violating the Constitution, why don’t you take them to court?
LEE: OK. First of all, I said taking him to court. There are many instances, in which a president might violate the Constitution. But in which for a variety of practical reasons and some constitutional reasons, the courts might not end up exercising jurisdiction over that case. It’s very difficult, for example, for someone to challenge in court the president’s suspension of the employer mandate. It’s difficult to identify the kind of plaintiff that would suffer the kind of injury, in fact, that’s particularized to the plaintiff. So it has to be able to establish article three standing in court.
Sen. Lee has embraced two lies. The first lie is that the president is acting in an unconstitutional manner. The president’s constitutional duty is to faithfully implement the laws that are passed by Congress. In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled that the executive branch has flexibility on implementation dates. The D.C. circuit court has also ruled that delays in implementation must be reasonable. Implementation can’t be delayed forever, but the executive branch does have the power to delay implementing legislation.
The second lie that Lee embraced that is Congress has no power to stop the president. Congress has the power to impeach President Obama is he is violating the constitution. The problem for Republicans is that the president is not violating the constitution.
Congressional Republicans could take President Obama to court, but they would have to argue in favor of implementing the employer mandate. Lee’s point about congressional Republicans not having standing in court was a bit of baloney. The truth is that Republicans don’t want to argue in favor of implementing an employer mandate that they have been demonizing for years.
The claim that Obama is violating the constitution is the talking point du jour on Fox News today. If President Obama is violating the constitution, he can be stopped through impeachment. Republicans know Obama is doing nothing wrong, so Lee’s comments are nothing more than a cynical attempt to motivate the Obama haters via another baseless falsehood.
Mike Lee and the rest of the Republicans are in desperate need of civics lesson, and a dose of truth serum, because their irrational Obama hate is damaging the country.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association