American Elephants

“This Mandate is Going to Wind Up in the Supreme Court” by The Elephant's Child

When Obama spoke warmly about  hope and  bipartisanship and cooperation in Congress, both houses of Congress were controlled by the Democrats. When the 2010 election put Republicans firmly in control of the House of Representatives, Obama lost interest in cooperation.

Instead he determined to accomplish what he wanted done by executive orders, presidential memoranda and proclamations, and of course, regulations and mandates from the various agencies that were more or less authorized by some legislation. He just wouldn’t bother with Congress anymore.

Ruling by decree was just the way Obama wanted it. In February, President Obama announced his intention to order private insurance companies to provide contraception and abortion drug coverage free, as his way of accommodating religious institutions’ conscientious objections to being forced to provide coverage of those items for their employees, under the terms of ObamaCare.

The president just doesn’t get to rule by decree, taking over private industry,  installing his own people to carry out his wishes.  Oh, wait….

Back in 1952, during the Korean War, Harry Truman, an unpopular president, conducting an unpopular war, was faced with a political problem in a presidential election year. A looming steelworker’s strike could shut down the country’s steel production for months. The industry was under wartime price controls and could not raise their prices, yet could not meet the demands of labor without raising steel prices. The federal Wage Stabilization Board recommended a wage increase, but the federal Office of Price Stabilization denied the companies’ request for a price increase. Nobody would budge, and a strike was imminent.

Steel production was important to the war effort. Congress had rejected the idea of direct government interference in labor disputes. Truman ordered his secretary of commerce to seize and take over operation of the nation’s steel companies, in order to give steelworkers a wage increase and avoid a strike threatening steel production in the middle of a war. This became one of the most famous and most important of all modern Supreme Court decisions: Youngstown Steel & Tube Co.v. Sawyer. The Supreme Court held that the president may not rule by decree, conscripting private industry to carry out his commands. The chief executive may only execute laws passed by Congress, according to their terms. He may not make up laws of his own and then enforce them.

The presidents of three evangelical colleges have filed suit with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Alliance Defense Fund against the mandate, which is clearly in violation of the religious clause of the First Amendment.

In addition, it appears that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius did not consult Supreme Court decisions on religious liberty, nor have a legal memo prepared before she drafted the mandate. On Thursday Secretary Sebelius appeared before the House and was questioned by Congressman Gowdy (R-SC) a former federal prosecutor.

I suspect that Obama’s overreaching mandate may be in trouble.

%d bloggers like this: