It is fitting that on election day the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed its petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high Court to review its case against President Barack Obama and several of his executive agencies for engaging in unlawful executive action that exceeds the authority of the Executive Branch and thus violates the separation of powers principles enshrined in the Constitution.
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise explains:
“As America is about to elect its next President, this case is a reminder that regardless of party affiliation, our Constitution does not permit a runaway Executive Branch. The power of the President is limited, and it should remain so regardless of who is occupying the White House. Our Constitution does not countenance a king.”
The lawsuit, which is captioned American Freedom Law Center v. Obama, alleges that Obama has violated his constitutional duty to “faithfully execute” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)—his signature piece of legislation which was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2010—dealing a severe blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers, which is designed to protect private individuals from the tyranny of government, and in particular, from the tyranny of a single branch of government that seeks to usurp power and authority not permitted under the Constitution.
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi added:
“America is and must remain a ‘nation of laws, not of men,’ as John Adams put it. The lawlessness of this administration is breathtaking and dangerous. And the American people are sick and tired of this President’s flippant disregard for the Constitution and Congress’ unwillingness to do anything serious about it.”
As noted in the lawsuit, in 2013 millions of Americans received notices that their health insurance was cancelled, a result that was predictable in light of the mandates imposed by the Affordable Care Act. This caused a political firestorm for the White House because Obama had promised the American people that if “you like your health care plan, you can keep it”—a promise that was contrary to the clear and unambiguous language of the Act.
In fact, in October 2013, the Department of Justice filed a brief in federal court in Washington, D.C., stating that the administration has “estimated that a majority of group health plans will have lost their grandfather status by the end of 2013.”
Consequently, as a politically expedient measure, Obama engaged in a series of executive actions that materially altered the Affordable Care Act without approval from Congress. As alleged in the lawsuit, “By executive fiat, [Obama and his executive agencies] altered the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and thus established with an unconstitutional and illegal claim of executive authority that otherwise-prohibited conduct—in particular, maintaining non-compliant health care plans—will not violate the Act, in direct violation of the separation of powers set forth in the United States Constitution.”
As stated further in the lawsuit, “By altering the clear and unambiguous statutory requirements of the Affordable Care Act, including the Act’s ‘essential’ component, and thus establishing with an unconstitutional and illegal claim of executive authority that otherwise-prohibited conduct will not violate the Act, [President Obama and his executive agencies] have directly harmed law-abiding citizens, including Plaintiffs, and violated the United States Constitution.”
Relying in part upon “Congress’s explicit findings” to demonstrate the individual and particularized harm caused by Obama’s unlawful actions, AFLC’s lawsuit alleges that “as the pool of ‘applicable individuals’ who are required to purchase ‘minimum essential coverage’ pursuant to the unambiguous language of the Affordable Care Act is reduced, as President Obama has done through his unlawful executive actions, the direct effect of this action is to financially burden those who do maintain ‘minimum essential coverage’ pursuant to the Act, specifically including Plaintiffs, who are now suffering an economic injury directly related to [Obama’s] unlawful actions.”
“In order to keep his broken promises and clean up the political mess he made, President Obama disregarded his constitutional duty to obey the law of the land and flipped Obamacare upside down without Congressional approval. Unfortunately, law-abiding American citizens are now being subjected to ridiculously high premiums—premiums which are skyrocketing as a result of Obama’s unlawful executive action.”