Halbig and the rule of law

eyeglasses and newspaper blue background

We’ve known for some time that the Obama Administration cares less about the rule of law than it does its own political ends. When push comes to shove, ideology trumps the Constitution every time. Yesterday, a reporter for ABC News finally pressed [1] White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on that very issue.

In response to the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling in Halbig, reporter Jon Karl asked, “The letter of the law very clearly states that the subsidies are available to those who enroll in state exchanges. Does the letter of the law matter to the White House on this?”

Earnest, of course, avoided directly responding to the question, instead quipping, “I don’t have the fancy legal degree…”

The White House’s response to the court ruling that invalidated an IRS rule related to the ObamaCare law is just another startling – if not surprising – display of this administration’s lack of respect for the rule of law. To the administration, it seems, any law at any given time means whatever they want it to mean!

As Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Jenny Beth Martin noted yesterday [2], “From health care to immigration, President Obama has been operating under the imperial notion that he can simply decree what the law will say.”

Martin continued:

It’s critical to understand the purpose of the challenge: Halbig and her co-plaintiffs sued to prevent an illegal tax from being collected. In order to prevent the illegal tax from being collected, the illegal subsidies had to end. By ruling that the subsidies are illegal, the Court is simultaneously ruling that the taxes are illegal. The structure of the law makes clear that where no subsidies can be granted, no individual or employer mandate taxes can be collected…”

Indeed, the Halbig case is about upholding the rule of law, preventing the Internal Revenue Service from collecting an illegal tax, and ending illegal subsidies. Like it or not, the executive branch can’t, on its own, deem when it needs to collect new taxes or spend taxpayer dollars.

No doubt the Obama Administration will fight the D.C. court’s ruling. When that happens, it will be a sad day for the rule of law and constitutional boundaries.