Holder Fail: AG can’t explain why Obamacare executive orders are constitutional

Holder Fail: AG can’t explain why Obamacare executive orders are constitutional

Thomas Lifson

Yesterday was a bad, bad day for the Attorney General of the United States. Senator Mike Lee twice asked Eric Holder to explain the constitutional basis of President Obama’s executive orders suspending parts of Obamacare, and the AG fumbled badly, essentially claiming the dog ate his homework. Joel Gehrke of the Washington Examiner:

Attorney General Eric Holder couldn’t explain the constitutional basis for executive orders such as President Obama’s delay of the employer mandate because he hasn’t read the legal analysis — or at least, hasn’t seen it in a long time.

via Blog: Holder Fail: AG can’t explain why Obamacare executive orders are constitutional.

Jan 29 2014

Lee to Holder: Explain Constitutional Basis for Executive Action on Minimum Wage, Delaying Employer Mandate

Lee Calls Action Unprecedented and Lawless

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee asked Attorney General Holder to explain the President’s constitutional authority to take executive action to delay the employer mandate and raise the minimum wage.   When Holder was unable to explain the analysis, Lee called for the Department of Justice to release documents that explain the decision “so that the American people can be aware of what’s happening and on what basis [the President] is claiming that authority.”


Lee: “…Is this [constitutional] analysis undertaken each time the president issues an executive order and…was it undertaken when the president, for example, announced on July 2nd , 2013, that he would not be enforcing the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act…?”

Holder: “…Those kinds of activities are done after consultation with the Justice Department and an analysis is done to make sure the President is acting in an appropriate and a constitutional way…”

Lee: “In which of those three categories would you put the president’s decision to delay the employer mandate?”

Holder: “To be honest with you, I have not seen – I don’t remember looking at or having – I haven’t seen the analysis in some time so I’m not sure exactly where along the spectrum that would come…”

Lee: “How about the executive order he proposed last night with regard to minimum wage?”

Holder: “Um, again, without having delved into this to any great degree that would-“

Lee: “But you’re the Attorney General. I’m assuming he consulted you.”

Holder: “Well, there have been consultations done with the Justice Department…”

Lee: “It would be very helpful for you to release legal analysis produced by the Office of Legal Counsel, or whoever is advising the President on these issues…”

Holder: “…[The president] has made far less use of his executive power at this point in his administration than some of his predecessors have and he will only do so, as I indicated previously, where he is unable to work with Congress to do things together…”

Lee: “General Holder, I respectfully but forcefully disagree with the assertion, if this is what you’re saying, that because the number of orders issued by this president might be comparable to the number of executive orders issued by previous presidents that that means he hasn’t made more use of it then other presidents have.  When you look at the quality – not just the quantity, but the quality – the nature of the executive orders that he has issued, he has usurped an extraordinary amount of authority within the executive branch.  This is not precedented. And I point to the delay – the unilateral delay – lawless delay, in my opinion, of the employer mandate as an example of this.”

Watch the full video here:

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