Tags: Barack Obama | Healthcare Reform | Immigration | supreme court | obamacare | immigration | lawsuits

NY Times: GOP Relying on Courts to Block Obama Agenda

By    |   Monday, 05 Jan 2015 12:50 PM

Despite securing full control of Congress, the Republican leadership will likely be relying more on judges, not their legislative muscle, to block President Barack Obama's second term agenda and rollback some of his previous legislative accomplishments, according to The New York Times.

Republicans have already launched a lawsuit with the aim of having the Supreme Court examine the constitutionality of major parts of the Affordable Care Act. The GOP is also looking to the federal courts to block elements of Obama's climate change agenda.

And on immigration, the party on both the state and federal level is pushing for federal judges to overturn Obama's executive action that will halt the deportations of up to 5 million people.

"What they cannot win in the legislative body, they now seek and hope to achieve through judicial activism," Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerald Connolly told the Times. "That is such a delicious irony, it makes one's head spin."

Conservative legal scholars told the Times, however, that Republicans are justified in pursuing issues of executive overreach through the judiciary.

"Given the state of dysfunction in Congress, in many cases, the courts do represent the last opportunity to get a fair hearing on these issues," Patrick Morrisey, attorney general in West Virginia, told the Times.

He said there is no contradiction in the GOP's reliance on judges even though they have been vocal opponents of activist judges.

"It's a call for adhering to the law," Morrisey said.

In an amicus brief filed in December on behalf of 68 congressional lawmakers, the American Center for Law and Justice is arguing that Obama's executive action on immigration is unlawful because officials had "exceeded the bounds of their prosecutorial discretion and abdicated their duty to faithfully execute the law," the Times reported.

In a separate brief, the group is urging the Supreme Court to rule against Obamacare's tax subsidies saying they were the "most egregious example of the administration's make-it-up-as-we-go approach to implementing" the federal healthcare law.

Conservatives are also pursing action against carbon emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the Times.

New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said he believes the president's policies will survive the legal challenges.

"Certainly, they were very, very careful not to go beyond what the law will allow," he told the Times.

Schumer also suggested that Republicans were hypocritical in their use of the court system to pursue their legislative agenda.

"They decry the courts' overruling or implementing things they don't like," he told the Times. "But are eager to have the courts implement things they like."

But Jay Sekulow, chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, said conservatives had no choice but to turn to the courts after Obama has acted unilaterally to enact significant policy without the oversight of Congress.

"The courts are the venue, really, to try to keep the presidential authority in check," he told the Times. "That's why the conservatives are turning to the courts."

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Despite securing full control of Congress, the Republican leadership will likely be relying more on judges, not legislative muscle, to block President Barack Obama's second term agenda and rollback some of his accomplishments, according to The New York Times.
supreme court, obamacare, immigration, lawsuits, obama
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2015-50-05
Monday, 05 Jan 2015 12:50 PM
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