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January 24, 2014

 

Judicial Watch Continues Challenge against Obama Lawlessness

 

On January 13, 2013, a federal court scuttled Judicial Watch’s lawsuit on behalf of Kawa Orthodontics’ challenge to the Obama administration’s decision to delay the enactment of the so-called “employer mandate” provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. But we’re not going away that easily. This is too important. So we immediately filed a notice of appeal, and we will take this as far as we need to go until justice is served.

 

(The U.S. Department of Treasury, Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, the Internal Revenue Service and IRS Director Daniel Werfel are named as defendants in the lawsuit, originally filed on October 1, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.)

 

Here’s the crux of our argument: President Obama’s unilateral postponement of the employer mandate from January 1, 2014, to 2015 violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), was “arbitrary and capricious,” and caused Kawa Orthodontics to lose “the value of its substantial efforts” in preparing for the mandate as originally scheduled.

 

And what did the court say in response to these arguments with its dismissal?  Absolutely nothing. On January 13, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas, in a brief opinion, dismissed the lawsuit on “standing” grounds.

 

Before we get to the background of this lawsuit and the constitutional issues at play, let me address this issue of “standing.” In order for Kawa Orthodontics to meet the “standing” threshold to bring this lawsuit, he must meet three basic requirements under Article III of the Constitution: (1) “injury in fact” (2) “a causal connection between the injury in fact and the challenged action of the defendant,” and (3) that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.”

 

Does Kawa Orthodontics meet these requirements? Judge for yourself.

 

According to the Judicial Watch legal filings, the unlawful delay of the “employer mandate” has caused Kawa Orthodontics “to lose the substantial time and resources it expended and the significant opportunity costs it incurred in anticipation of” the controversial provision now scheduled to take effect beginning next year.

 

The company estimates that it could have generated approximately $1.2 million in new revenue for its practice had it not spent approximately 100 hours of time determining how best to comply with the “employer mandate.”

 

So that takes care of “injury in fact” and “a causal connection.” With respect to redressing the injury, our lawsuit seeks the original reinstatement of the original date for the mandate. If granted, Kawa Orthodontics’ considerable expenditures to prepare for the mandate will not have been wasted. The offense will have been remedied.

 

So we are confident that Kawa Orthodontics has standing. Now, to review how this wound up in court.

 

The Obamacare employer mandate, which subjects certain large employers to tax penalties if they do not offer “affordable, minimum essential” health insurance coverage to their employees, is considered “a major pillar of the ACA.” By law, the mandate was required to take effect January 1, 2014.  On July 2, 2013, however, the Obama administration postponed the mandate without the approval of Congress.

 

And this was not the first time.

 

The Obama administration has now unilaterally rewritten the Obamacare law at least 16 times by executive fiat. The changes include such major overhauls as the congressional opt-out, eviscerating the individual mandate, and delaying the employer mandate. The latest rewrite occurred on December 20, 2013, when the administration allowed hundreds of thousands of people who had lost their insurance due to Obamacare to sign up for bare-bones “catastrophic” plans that are expressly prohibited by the Obamacare law.

 

It’s very clear why President Obama has resorted to these extra-constitutional means to avoid the unpleasant consequences of Obamacare. He’s a politician. And he knows that his unpopular health care overhaul will lead to disastrous political results he’d rather delay as long as he can. The problem is the Obama administration is operating outside of the law. And businesses are suffering.

 

The Agency for Health Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that the number of employers in the United States having more than 50 employees is as high as 1.6 million, each of which could be affected as well.

 

You can see how the numbers can begin to add up. And on this point, a July 30, 2013, letter from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office to the Chairman of the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives, states that the delay of the “employer mandate” will result in an estimated loss of $10 billion (that’s “billion” with a “b”!) in penalty payments by employers and approximately 1 million fewer people are expected to be enrolled in employment-based coverage in 2014 than the number previously projected, primarily because of the one-year delay in penalties on employers.

 

In a December 2013 Motion for Summary Judgment, Judicial Watch attorneys, arguing on behalf of Kawa Orthodontics stated:

 

This lawsuit raises a single, straightforward legal question: does the Executive Branch have authority to ignore a clear, congressionally-imposed deadline affecting hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees across the country on a matter of unquestionable importance? … The answer to the question posed by this lawsuit is quite plainly “No.” Defendants’ delay of the mandate violates the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”). It exceeds Defendants’ statutory jurisdiction, authority, and limitations, is contrary to constitutional right, power, or privilege, and is otherwise not in accordance with law.

 

The court did not get to these issues. Kawa Orthodontics continues its challenge to Obama’s rewrite of Obamacare because the court is so plainly wrong. If President Obama truly wants to fix Obamacare, he will have to go through Congress.  He may “have a pen,” but he ought to use it to sign a repeal of his law that had been passed by Congress.

 

Dr. Kawa, meanwhile, puts the lawsuit in perspective: “With over 300 million people and 16 illegal changes there’s only been one lawsuit with one plaintiff that has been filed and continues to be adjudicated. The administration doesn’t want to defend its actions on the merits and is trying to prevent us from having our day in court. The administration presented no credible legal precedent for Obama’s delay of the employer mandate. This single lawsuit could do more to rein in Obama’s lawless actions than anything going in Congress right now. We expect the courts will ultimately rule in our favor and remind this president that he is not above the law.”

 

Obama, Biden Presidents’ Day Weekend Vacations Cost Taxpayers $295,437 According to Records Obtained by Judicial Watch

 

The Obama administration is expert at inventing bogus new exemptions in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law. There is the infamous “spiking the football” exemption (AKA as the “offending the terrorists” exemption) that I referenced last week that was used to keep the bin Laden death images secret.  Unfortunately, the courts bought that one.

 

And then there is the embarrassment exemption. We’ve seen this one employed on too many occasions to count. Any records that might cause damage to the image of the president and his administration are held under lock and key.

 

That’s why Judicial Watch has had to fight so hard to get hold of the administration’s vacation travel records. Thanks to our investigations team, we’ve been extremely successful in breaking through the Obama stonewall in order to tally the cost to the American taxpayer of these personal trips. And we recently did it again.

 

This week JW released U.S. Secret Service records from the Department of Homeland Security detailing expenditures of $295,437.04 by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden during separate luxury vacations over the 2013 Presidents’ Day Weekend. A separate group of documents shows that taxpayers paid more than $1,000,000 for Michelle Obama’s controversial 2011 trip to South Africa and Botswana.

 

President Obama spent the Presidents’ Day Weekend (February 15-18) on a golf trip in West Palm Beach, Florida. First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters spent the same holiday weekend on a ski trip in Aspen, Colorado. Vice President Biden and his family spent that weekend skiing in Aspen.

 

Once again, we had to sue for these records, filing a FOIA lawsuit on June 21, 2013, against the U.S. Secret Service. According to the billing records, here’s the bang you got for your taxpayer buck:

 

  • Transportation and lodging costs for the President’s trip totaled $98,135.79. This includes $32,406.50 for the flights, $16,466.25 for rental cars, and $48,490 for hotel rooms.

 

  • The vacation costs for First Lady Michelle Obama totaled $81,523.64, including $13,221.30 in flights, $3,925 in rental cars, and $64,377.34 in lodging.

 

  • The expenses for Vice President Biden’s weekend in Aspen totaled $115,777.61, including $5,315 in flights, $92,596 in accommodations, and $17,866.61 in rental cars.

 

With respect to the infamous “safari” trip, even though we filed our lawsuit back on October 4, 2011, we are just now getting records detailing the full costs of the June 21-27, 2011, trip taken by Michelle Obama, her family, and her staff to South Africa and Botswana.

 

According to this most recent batch of records obtained from the United States Air Force, during the six-day trip the First Lady and her entourage spent $668.702.01, including hotel and lodging costs of $430,614.18. The trip ended with a private family safari at a South African game reserve.

 

This $668,702.01 expenditure was in addition to the $424,142 taxpayers were billed for the cost of the flight and crew, according to earlier documents obtained by Judicial Watch, jacking the total cost of the trip over $1 million.

 

After all of our litigating and investigating these travel records, this much is clear: The Obamas and Vice President Biden do not seem to care a whit about sticking taxpayers with the bill for their vacation travel. But they care very much about keeping these costs secret. The stonewalling over releasing these travel numbers suggests that the Obama administration is embarrassed by the personal travel of President Obama and Vice President Biden. And rightly so.

 

However, I’ll say it again: Embarrassment is not a valid reason to exempt documents from disclosure. In fact, quite the opposite. Often the most embarrassing documents shed light on the most egregious abuses of the public trust. And this is the very reason for FOIA law! To allow the American people to know the government’s business so that corrupt and abusive activities can be exposed and discouraged.

 

Stay tuned. I get the notion that the First and Second Families have more luxury travel plans in their future.

 

McDonnell, Christie in Hot Water

 

A pair of once high-rising politicians has recently experienced a precipitous fall of late. One, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, was indicted for improperly accepting thousands of dollars in gifts from a supporter who sought his help. The other, the current Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, is embroiled in a scandal that involves the alleged abuse of his office to punish his political adversaries.

 

First, let’s talk about the newly indicted former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Per MSNBC:

 

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged in federal court on Tuesday for allegedly taking tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts while in office from a supporter who sought help from the state government.

 

McDonnell held a press conference with his wife and one of his daughters by his side on Tuesday evening, insisting he was “falsely and wrongly accused.”

 

During his final State of the Commonwealth address earlier this month, McDonnell – who repaid the money and returned the gifts – apologized for the “problems and pain I’ve caused this past year.” Some of the gifts allegedly included a $6,500 Rolex watch, $10,000 worth of Oscar de la Renta clothing and $15,000 for his daughter’s wedding expenses.

 

The “supporter” referenced in the report is Jonnie Williams, a former chief executive of the diet supplement company Star Scientific Inc.

 

McDonnell defended his decision to accept the gifts by saying he believed they were made out of Williams’ “personal generosity and friendship” and not in any attempt to curry favor. He knows better. When you are a public official there really is no such thing as an innocent gesture of “personal generosity” – at least so far as the public is concerned. Even the appearance of impropriety in these situations is reason enough to say “no thank you.”

 

However, in this case, this gesture of “personal generosity” was evidently accompanied by a gesture in turn by the former Governor, to persuade universities to study the efficacy of Star Scientific products, according to the 14-count indictment. So it’s a hard argument to buy that the Rolex watch did not come with any strings attached, even if merely implied.

 

Now, with respect to Governor Christie, you can check out this excellent summary by The Washington Post to get all of the details related to what is now being referred to as “Bridgegate.” But here’s the deal in a nutshell, courtesy of the Post:

 

Last September, the Port Authority announced a traffic study would shut down two lanes of the George Washington Bridge. Massive traffic jams ensued in Fort Lee, the town connected to New York City via the bridge. Reporting by The Wall Street Journal and the Bergen Record revealed that the traffic delays might have had a somewhat more sinister origin. Fort Lee’s mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, failed to endorse Christie prior to November’s gubernatorial election. Christie still won by 22 percent, but his deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly still thought it wise to email Port Authority and tell them it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”  It’s not clear what the lane closures were payback for but judging from Kelly’s tone they were payback for something.

 

Christie maintained from the outset that there was nothing political about the bridge closing, and defended his staff. It was all part of the aforementioned traffic study. But the emails suggest a different and disturbing story.

 

(In a second emerging scandal, it is alleged that Governor Christie’s office also withheld Hurricane Sandy relief from the City of Hoboken for political reasons. Hoboken is a heavily Democratic district.)

 

Now, does closing a bridge and creating a traffic jam rise to the level of, say, using the Internal Revenue Service to kill off the Tea Party for political payback (as the evidence shows the Obama administration has done)?

 

And in the case of McDonnell, does accepting a Rolex watch, allegedly in exchange for urging a university study, rise to the same level of, say, the extortion and favors for donors in Obama’s multi-billion dollar Solyndra and green energy scandals.

 

Not even in the same zip code.

 

And the fact that the corrupt Obama Justice Department indicted McDonnell and his wife – and is pursuing Christie like a bird dog – does not inspire confidence in the fair administration of justice. Where are the IRS indictments?  Fast and Furious?  Voter fraud?

 

Both Christie and McDonnell have been considered political stars on the rise, suitable candidates to one day occupy the White House, perhaps as soon as 2016. Voters will now wonder if they cannot be trusted with the responsibility of power in the Governor’s mansion – and this is still a big “if” as these investigations are ongoing – what happens should they get to the Oval Office?

 

Look no further than our current presidential administration for answers to that question. The Obama White House has embraced “The Chicago Way” that characterized President Obama’s rise to power and jacked it up with steroids, putting our country, our Constitution and our way of life at risk.

 

Until next week…

Appeal Filed in Lawsuit Challenging Obama Delay of Obamacare Employer Mandate

 

Judicial Watch Appeals Decision against Kawa Orthodontics’ Challenge to Obama’s Rewrite of Health Care Law

 

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to appeal a lower court decision in litigation on behalf of Kawa Orthodontics against the U.S. Department of Treasury, Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, the Internal Revenue Service and IRS Director Daniel Werfel challenging the Obama administration’s decision to delay the enactment of the so-called “employer mandate” provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. (Kawa Orthodontics, LLP vs. Jack Lew, et al. (No. 9:13-cv-80990))

 

In the Kawa lawsuit, filed on October 1, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Judicial Watch argued that the unilateral postponement of the employer mandate from January 1, 2014, to 2015 violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), was “arbitrary and capricious,” and had caused Kawa Orthodontics to lose “the value of its substantial efforts” in preparing for the mandate as originally scheduled.  But on January 13, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas, in a brief opinion, dismissed the lawsuit on “standing” grounds.

 

The Obamacare employer mandate, which subjects certain large employers to tax penalties if they do not offer “affordable, minimum essential” health insurance coverage to their employees, is considered “a major pillar of the ACA.” By law, the mandate was required to take effect January 1, 2014.  On July 2, 2013, however, the Obama administration postponed the mandate without the approval of Congress.

 

The Obama administration has now unilaterally rewritten the Obamacare law at least 16 times by executive fiat. The changes include such major overhauls as the congressional opt-out, eviscerating the individual mandate, and delaying the employer mandate. The latest rewrite occurred on December 20, 2013, when the administration allowed hundreds of thousands of people who had lost their insurance due to Obamacare to sign up for bare-bones “catastrophic” plans that are expressly prohibited by the Obamacare law.

 

According to the Judicial Watch legal filings, the unlawful delay of the “employer mandate” has caused Kawa Orthodontics “to lose the substantial time and resources it expended and the significant opportunity costs it incurred in anticipation of” the controversial provision now scheduled to take effect beginning next year. The company estimates that it could have generated approximately $1.2 million in new revenue for its practice had it not spent approximately 100 hours of time determining how best to comply with the “employer mandate.” The Agency for Health Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that the number of employers in the United States having more than 50 employees is as high as 1.6 million, each of which could be affected as well.

 

A July 30, 2013, letter from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office to the Chairman of the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives states that the delay of the “employer mandate” will result in an estimated loss of $10 billion in penalty payments by employers and approximately 1 million fewer people are expected to be enrolled in employment-based coverage in 2014 than the number previously projected, primarily because of the one-year delay in penalties on employers.

 

In a December 2013 Motion for Summary Judgment, Judicial Watch attorneys, arguing on behalf of Kawa Orthodontics stated:

 

This lawsuit raises a single, straightforward legal question:  does the Executive Branch have authority to ignore a clear, congressionally-imposed deadline affecting hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees across the country on a matter of unquestionable importance? … The answer to the question posed by this lawsuit is quite plainly ‘No.’ Defendants’ delay of the mandate violates the Administrative Procedures Act (‘APA’).  It exceeds Defendants’ statutory jurisdiction, authority, and limitations, is contrary to constitutional right, power, or privilege, and is otherwise not in accordance with law.

 

“Kawa Orthodontics continues its challenge to Obama’s rewrite of Obamacare because the court is so plainly wrong,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “If President Obama truly wants to fix Obamacare, he will have to go through Congress.  He may ‘have a pen,’ but he ought to use it to sign a repeal of his law that had been passed by Congress.”

 

With over 300 million people and 16 illegal changes there’s only been one lawsuit with one plaintiff that has been filed and continues to be adjudicated. The administration doesn’t want to defend its actions on the merits and is trying to prevent us from having our day in court,” stated Dr. Larry Kawa, owner of Kawa Orthodontics, LLP. “The administration presented no credible legal precedent for Obama’s delay of the employer mandate. This single lawsuit could do more to rein in Obama’s lawless actions than anything going in Congress right now. We expect the courts will ultimately rule in our favor and remind this president that he is not above the law.”

 

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Obama DOD: Mainstream Conservative Views “Extremist”

Did you ever think there would come a day in this country when the federal government would compare a person speaking about “individual liberties” to a member of the Klu Klux Klan? Unfortunately, such is the state of affairs in Obama’s America.

Judicial Watch recently obtained “educational” materials from the Department of Defense (DOD) depicting conservative organizations as “hate groups” and advising students to be aware that “instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.”

The documents repeatedly cite the leftwing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a resource for identifying “hate groups.”  (More on this contemptible group here.)

Pursuant to our original Freedom of Information (FOIA) request, filed on April 8, 2013, JW sought from DOD:  “Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the preparation and presentation of training materials on hate groups or hate crimes distributed or used by the Air Force.”

And here’s what we have received so far: 133 pages of lesson plans and PowerPoint slides provided by the U.S. Air Force.  Included in these documents is a January 2013 Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute “student guide” entitled “Extremism.”  The document is marked “for training purposes only” with the instruction “do not use on the job.”  Highlights include:

  • The document defines extremists as “a person who advocates the use of force or violence; advocates supremacist causes based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or national origin; or otherwise engages to illegally deprive individuals or groups of their civil rights.”

 

  • A statement that “Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publically espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.”

 

  • [W]hile not all extremist groups are hate groups, all hate groups are extremist groups.”

 

  • Under a section labeled “Extremist Ideologies” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements.  The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”

 

  • In this same section, the document lists the 9/11 attack under a category of “Historical events.”

 

  • [A]ctive participationwith regard to extremist organizations is incompatible with military service and, is therefore prohibited.” [Emphasis in original]

 

  • The document details the “seven stages of hate” and sixteen “extremists’ traits.”

 

  • The SPLC is listed as a resource for information on hate groups and referenced several times throughout the guide.

 

  • Of the five organizations besides the SPLC listed as resources, one is an SPLC project (Teaching Tolerance) and one considers any politically or socially conservative movement to be a potential hate group (Political Research Associates).

 

  • Other than a mention of 9/11 and the Sudan, there is no discussion of Islamic extremism.

In April 2013, following a terrorist shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters that occurred in August 2012, Judicial Watch filed multiple FOIA requests to determine what, if any, influence SPLC’s branding of hate groups had on government agencies.

On its website, the SPLC has depicted FRC as a “hate group,” along with other such mainstream conservative organizations as the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, and Coral Ridge Ministries. At the time of the shooting, FRC president Tony Perkins accused the SPLC of sparking the shooting, saying the shooter “was given a license to shoot … by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Though the document released by Judicial Watch was obtained from the Air Force, it originated in the Pentagon, and is likely to have been used throughout the military.

After all, the language used by the DOD to characterize conservative Americans is eerily similar to descriptions used by the Internal Revenue Service to target “Tea Party” and conservative organizations, slamming these groups with unnecessary audits, releasing their confidential financial information and stonewalling the tax-exempt applications of organizations deemed hostile to the president’s Big Government agenda.

The Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism. And now, in a document full of claptrap, its DOD suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military.

After reviewing this document, one can’t help but worry for the future and morale of our nation’s armed forces. And for our national security in general!

Consider this. At a time when the FBI is purging its training materials and organizational vocabulary of any term that might offend radical Islam – say, for example, the term “radical Islam” – the federal government has no problem tagging American citizens who believe in traditional American values with labels like “extremist” and “hateful.”

Make no mistake. The ramifications of these types of activities go far beyond hurt feelings. The Obama administration labels conservatives “extremists” to delegitimize opposition to its radical socialism and to justify government oppression against them. (See IRS.) And the Obama administration’s refusal to plainly identify and focus on radical elements within Islam demonstrates a willingness to overlook real threats to our security in the name of political correctness.

Department of Justice Sues Texas over Voter ID Law

Well that didn’t take long.  A little more than 60 days after the United States Supreme Court invalidated a key portion of the Voting Rights Act that required certain jurisdictions to obtain “pre-clearance” from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before enacting changes to election laws, Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas over its voter ID law.

As reported by Politico:

Attorney General Eric Holder will sue to challenge the Texas voter ID law, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The Justice lawsuit will allege that the Texas law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which was among the elements of the law that remains in effect after the Supreme Court invalidated the preclearance requirements in June.

Justice will also seek to intervene in a separate lawsuit against Texas over the state’s redistricting laws, arguing that the state should still be forced to submit to federal preclearance.

“Today’s action marks another step forward in the Justice Department’s continuing effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans,” Holder said. “We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.”

For the attorney general to use the phrase “eligible Americans” to describe the people the DOJ intends to protect is simply laughable. Voter ID laws have only one purpose: To make certain that every vote cast is legitimate. The purpose of the DOJ lawsuit is political.  Liberals, specifically the Obama campaign organization, is focusing on turning Texas “blue” or Democratic.  And to the degree that liberals rely on illicit votes to get elected, voter ID is a hindrance to their plans.  Hence, the new lawsuit from politician Holder.

(We saw this playbook in action in 2012.  Click here for more on the DOJ’s scheme to try to steal elections for liberal candidates, including the president himself, and JW’s legal counter-campaign.)

Texas Governor Rick Perry labeled the DOJ’s lawsuit “an end run” around the Supreme Court. That sounds about right. Barack Obama and Eric Holder have rarely allowed the Constitution or the rule of law to obstruct their plans. So they are certainly not going to let a Supreme Court ruling stand in their way.

Our friends over at Pajamas Media, former Justice Department officials and election integrity experts J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky, have done a great job tearing apart the government’s legal arguments. (You can check out their analysis here.)

J. Christian Adams has characterized the government’s complaint as the work of “a progressive snake oil salesman,” noting that Holder has populated the DOJ’s Voting Rights division with attorneys that have “streaks of radicalism.” Click here for his full report compiled by Pajamas demonstrating how Holder has so egregiously politicized this Justice Department.

With respect to the federal government’s case against Texas, Hans Von Spakovsky, now with The Heritage Foundation, maintains that the Holder DOJ is engaging in a little fuzzy math to “distract” the public and, presumably, the courts. For example: citing minority population statistics that include convicted felons, illegal aliens, and individuals who are explicitly prohibited from voting, in order to beef up the numbers of people who the government claims could be “disenfranchised” by the Texas voter ID law.

Hans also points out that the DOJ justifies its lawsuit based upon examples of discrimination dating back to 1927. He closes with this recommendation for Texas public officials: “Texas needs to fight this case the same way South Carolina fought Justice over its voter-ID law — and won.”

Folks, this is a legal battle that can be won and must be won if we are to protect the integrity of our electoral process. As you know, Judicial Watch has been fully engaged in this epic battle, supporting voter integrity measures in states across the country, including Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania and, yes, South Carolina. You can be sure we will be active in Texas as well.

If our nation’s Department of Justice won’t stand for the rule of law, JW will step up to the plate.

Judicial Watch Considers Obamacare Challenge

How bad is Obamacare? In July, President Obama himself unilaterally rewrote the law. Why?  Businesses started cutting hours, slashing benefits and reducing staff to avoid paying hefty $3,000 per-employee penalty/fine/tax – whatever you want to call it – mandated by Obamacare.

And what did the Obama administration do? It simply announced that the employer mandate, scheduled to go into effect in January 2014, would be delayed one year.

“We have listened to your feedback,” Treasury official Mark Mazur said on July 2, announcing the delay in the implementation of the employer mandate, “and we are taking action.”

Is anyone buying the claim that the Obama administration’s move was in response to listening to feedback from American business?  Didn’t think so.

This is about politics. Hardest hit by the resulting job cuts were low-wage employees, a key voter demographic for Democrats. Remember, we’re heading into mid-term election season. The last thing the president needs is for his loyal base to abandon the Democrats’ cause at a time when he cannot afford to lose seats in Congress.

But regardless of the president’s reasons, the key question is this: Does he have the authority?

Per The New York Times, “Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and an author of the health law, questioned whether Mr. Obama had the authority to unilaterally delay the employer mandate. ‘This was the law. How can they change the law?’” he asked.

How indeed?

There is no provision in the law allowing for a delay. And, as pointed out by former judge Michael McConnell in the Wall Street Journal, who compared the president to King James II, Obama cannot simply refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like (no matter the reason).

McConnell makes two key points on the matter:

  • “Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution states that the president ‘shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.’ This is a duty, not a discretionary power. While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so.

 

  • The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the president on legal and constitutional issues, has repeatedly opined that the president may decline to enforce laws he believes are unconstitutional. But these opinions have always insisted that the president has no authority, as one such memo put it in 1990, to “refuse to enforce a statute he opposes for policy reasons.”

(Obviously the president’s position on the employer mandate is not constitutionally based. His administration successfully defended his law’s constitutionality to the Supreme Court.)

While delaying the employer mandate, the president did not rewrite the law to delay the “individual mandate,” which requires nearly all Americans to have Obama-approved health insurance by that same date or pay a tax penalty.

As a result, many Americans are caught in the middle.  They are obligated to have Obama-approved health insurance, but their employers are not obligated to provide it, at least for another year.  As a result, these Americans will be forced to purchase Obama-approved health insurance on an Obamacare-created health insurance exchange or pay the tax penalty. Either way, they’re out-of-pocket.

As you well know, Judicial Watch objects to the employer mandate, the individual mandate, and the entire Obamacare law. In fact, JW filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court making the argument that the mandate to purchase health insurance is flagrantly unconstitutional.

We also understand that, under the U.S. Constitution, the law can only be changed by legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president.  President Obama evidently wants to delay at least some of the ill effects of his health care scheme until after the 2014 congressional elections.  But politics do not trump the Constitution or the rule of law.

For this reason, we are seeking to mount a challenge to Obamacare based on the president’s attempts to rewrite the law. And you might be personally able to join in this legal effort.

If you are going to have to purchase Obama-approved health insurance (which would have been covered by the employer mandate) through an Obamacare-created health insurance exchange or pay a tax penalty because your employer is dropping or does not provide health insurance, you may have a claim to challenge President Obama’s unilateral rewriting of the law.

If you think your circumstances fit the bill and you would be interested in being a plaintiff in a challenge to Obama’s unconstitutional power grab, then please contact us by replying to this email address: [ obamacarechallenge@judicialwatch.org ]. And please feel free to share this email with others you think might also have a claim as described here.

President Obama has repeatedly defied the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law to pave the way for his Big Government agenda. This is one action we can take together to stop him. Please consider joining JW’s cause if you are eligible. And I’ll be sure to update you on the progress of our legal efforts in this space.

In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Until next week…

Tom Fitton

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