Outraged by President Obama’s use of executive powers to enact his policies, Republicans are looking to the judicial branch to step in.
“We can go to court,” GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona told The Hill
. “We haven’t got many more options except [to] tell the American people that we’re seeing an abuse of the intent of the Constitution.”
The latest example of Obama’s oligopoly, according to concerned Republicans, came during Tuesday’s State of the Union address, when the president announced an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for future federal contract workers.
The GOP says there has also been an “unconstitutional exercise of power” by the Obama administration in its “selective enforcement” of Obamacare, the president’s signature piece of domestic legislation that has been mired with setbacks.
He has also suspended, delayed and waived the enforcement of other laws with which he disagrees, such as immigration, welfare and drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
To that end, Republicans are challenging Obamacare’s contraception mandate after religious organizations, including Catholic nuns, objected on the grounds that it violates their religious opposition to birth control.
After the Supreme Court ruled mandatory health coverage was constitutional, Obama began granting waivers, exemptions and extensions, including to members of Congress and their staffs so they could keep their pre-existing health subsidies. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is suing the Office of Personnel Management on that issue.
In another case, 18 Republican senators have filed amicus briefs supporting a Supreme Court challenge by two Christian businesses who argue that the contraception mandate violates the First Amendment and breaches the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Another amicus brief with GOP support argues that it’s unconstitutional to require health plans to offer birth control coverage.
“The First Amendment guarantees every American the right to free exercise of religion, yet, the Obama administration has chosen repeatedly to break the law by giving breaks to big business and Congress, while refusing to grant those same waivers to people with sincerely held religious beliefs,” said GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
is organizing a class action lawsuit against the NSA for its mass collection of phone records, a practice he argues violates the Fourth Amendment. Cruz predicts the litigation will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
He has asked Americans to sign on to the filing via the internet.
“Ten million people signed up for a lawsuit sends a message,” he said.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise, the U.S. Representative from Louisiana, chided Obama for living in a fantasy world where he can “just use his pen to write laws."
"We don't have a monarchy in this country—there's an executive branch and the legislative branch, and the president has to work with Congress to get things done,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, defended the president’s decision to push forward his agenda with or without the Congress.
"He's not going to be constrained by the gridlock, inaction and negativity of the Congress of the United States, particularly the Republicans, who have had a very negative agenda," the Journal reported.
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