Suspending the Law: The Obama Administration’s Approach to Extending Executive Power and Evading Judicial Review

May 21, 2014

The president has a constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Previous administrations have been criticized for overreaching — that is, going beyond what the law expressly authorizes. But the Obama administration has pioneered a new way to shirk this duty: suspension of the law. In numerous areas — including Obamacare implementation, immigration law, education funding, and environmental regulation — the administration has carried out its policy objectives not by exceeding the law’s limits but by picking and choosing which provisions to enforce. In some cases it has relaxed legal requirements as an inducement for states to carry out its preferred policies, without any legal basis. In other cases, like immigration, it has established entirely new programs never authorized by Congress. And in every instance this approach has allowed the administration to avoid legal challenge by ensuring that no party suffers an injury sufficient to confer the legal “standing” necessary to bring suit. At least that’s been the working assumption — but it may not hold true in every instance. Please join us to learn about this new abuse of executive power and the prospects for challenging it.

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