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Jonathan Turley Tag

Today the House GOP sued the Obama Administration in federal court over the Administration's decision to make changes to the version of the Affordable Care Act that Congress passed. From CNN:
The one-two punch from Boehner marks a new era of tension between Republicans who will officially take over Congress in January, and the President who has signaled that despite his party's losses in the midterms, he plans to proceed with his agenda without GOP cooperation. After two Washington firms pulled out of commitments to represent the House in recent months, Boehner hired George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley earlier this week. Turley is an expert on constitutional law and has appeared on multiple television networks as a legal analyst. Boehner and other top congressional Republican leaders are also contemplating a filing a separate lawsuit challenging the president's authority to take executive action to give 5 million immigrants temporary status.
This move has been coming since July, when the chamber passed House Resolution 676, which authorized the lawsuit. Although lawmakers are already being criticized for not taking immediate action to stop Obama's executive order on immigration, there's a good reason for the delay.

For months Obama has been saying, "I'm gonna do it, I'm really gonna do it---unless of course you give me what I want." He even told us the timing; it would be after the election. In doing so, he will be keeping a promise to his radical base (Hispanic and otherwise), issuing a threat to the Republicans in Congress, and thumbing his nose at the American voters who expressed disapproval of him on November 4. You don't get a trifecta like that every day from a president. I just wrote that what Obama is about to do constitutes a threat to Republicans in Congress. But actually, it's a threat to Congress itself. Democrats should be just as disturbed as Republicans by it, because it's not the ends that are as important here as the very dangerous means. But if you've listened to a great many Democrats talk about it, you'd think ends are all they care about---and you might just be correct for most of them. Obama has the strong support of leading Democrats, who seem only too happy to cede the power of Congress to the president to get something they think will benefit the Party. Of course, they don't state that it's a dangerous executive power overreach; they say this is just like what other presidents have done when they used their executive discretion to tweak immigration laws. Surely they must be aware of the differences. But being aware has nothing to do with it; ideologues of the left have no trouble telling themselves that 2 + 2 = 5, and that what Reagan and Bush did was just the same as what Obama is poised to do now, even though only political junkies have even heard of the former actions before because they were relatively non-controversial. Frum summarizes the differences here, and they are substantial:

News recently broke that George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley has been tapped as lead counsel by the U.S. House of Representatives in their lawsuit against President Obama. Turley has been on the national legal scene for a number of years, but has been gaining increasing notoriety of late as a result of his Congressional testimonies and media appearances regarding the consolidation of constitutional authority in the Executive Branch. Conservatives have been quick to praise Turley, as his criticisms of the Executive have been directed toward President Obama for the last six years. Turley, however, makes no representation that he is any way politically conservative. Indeed, in his blog post yesterday, he declared quite the opposite.
As many on this blog know, I support national health care and voted for President Obama in his first presidential campaign. However, as I have often stressed before Congress, in the Madisonian system it is as important how you do something as what you do. And, the Executive is barred from usurping the Legislative Branch’s Article I powers, no matter how politically attractive or expedient it is to do so. Unilateral, unchecked Executive action is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in our constitutional system.
For Turley, this is not an issue of one party against the other. Rather, this is matter of constitutional process. Despite the fact that the decision to sue the President passed along party lines, there are genuine non-partisan concerns about the dangerous evolution of the Legislative-Executive dynamic over the last few decades. Turley went on to add,
This case represents a long-overdue effort by Congress to resolve fundamental Separation of Powers issues. In that sense, it has more to do with constitutional law than health care law. Without judicial review of unconstitutional actions by the Executive, the trend toward a dominant presidential model of government will continue in this country in direct conflict with the original design and guarantees of our Constitution. Our constitutional system as a whole (as well as our political system) would benefit greatly by courts reinforcing the lines of separation between the respective branches.
Turley is, in my opinion, a great choice by House Republicans.

In a recent op-ed for the Daily Beast, Senator Rand Paul became the latest critic of what many see as a long history of Presidential abuse of power stretching back to Richard Nixon. In his piece, entitled "Obama's ISIS war is illegal," Paul made clear his view that the President’s action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has eclipsed its legality — if there ever was any to begin with — because we have now crossed the 90-day provisional authorization for military force permitted by the War Powers Resolution of 1973. To be sure, it doesn't appear Paul is not advocating for the end of hostilities against the roundly condemned members of ISIS. Rather, he is merely asserting a simple but essential truth about our system of government: Process matters.
I believe the President must come to Congress to begin a war… It must be declared and made valid, or it must be ended. Congress has a duty to act, one way or the other.
While it is true that we live in a time that exposes our nation to swift attacks on a grand scale, this reality does not justify the manner in which President Obama is circumventing the constitutional prerogative of Congress. Indeed, 90 days was ample time for the President to situate a small number of forces on the ground, carry out targeted airstrikes, and prepare a request to Congress to authorize military force. Yet no such request has been submitted. Obama is not the first President to engage in this realm of constitutionally questionable behavior, but the implications of his continued insistence on going it alone in nearly every aspect of his Presidency — foreign and domestic — threatens to undermine the very framework of the nation’s structure of governance.

The prosecutors in Austin, Texas thought they had one over on Texas Governor Rick Perry when they convinced a grand jury to issue an indictment accusing Perry of abusing his veto power.  A copy of the indictment is here. That alleged criminal abuse of power related to Perry's threat to issue a budget veto regarding a unit of the prosecutor's office if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not resign after a DWI conviction. Not just any conviction, Lehmberg was videotaped attempting to pull rank over the booking officers by mentioning they needed to make sure the Sheriff was aware of her predicament. It's not hard to see what she was doing -- hoping the Sheriff would intervene on her behalf. Her field sobriety test is here, and she again kept mentioning her political career.  She was abusive and violent in the police station:

Another day, another Obamacare extension decided by the president himself---thus further justifying the fact that the law is called by his name. The worst thing about this extension of the deadline to April 15 is, once again, the procedural overreach by Obama and the unconstitutionality of his declaration. The actual content of the change makes more sense than the March 31 deadline ever did because, pre-Obamacare, individual health insurance could ordinarily be purchased by the fifteenth of the month effective the first day of the next month. The new Obamacare extension only applies to people who've had trouble signing up on the federal website, so I assume that people in states with functioning state websites still supposedly have to sign up by March 31. I suspect such a distinction would be unconstitutional, but isn't most of what Obama's been doing with Obamacare rule changes unconsitutional (not to mention Obamacare itself, whatever SCOTUS says)? The deadline change is also on the honor system, which would make it almost humorous if this weren't a very serious business indeed. I'm with Boehner here:
“What the hell is this, a joke?” Boehner said at his weekly press conference. ...The Speaker called the move “another deadline made meaningless,” adding it to a litany of unilateral changes that the administration has made to the law.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, testified Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee on the topic of “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws.” Turley expressed concern that “We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications...

I can see clearly now the rain is gone ... How often does a cabinet secretary endorse an op-ed column? Thomas Friedman must feel really good right now, Secretary Sebelius endorsed his latest, ObamaCare's other surprise.
Obamacare is based on the notion that a main reason we pay so much more than any other industrial nation for health care, without better results, is because the incentive structure in our system is wrong. Doctors and hospitals are paid primarily for procedures and tests, not health outcomes. The goal of the health care law is to flip this fee-for-services system (which some insurance companies are emulating) to one where the government pays doctors and hospitals to keep Medicare patients healthy and the services they do render are reimbursed more for their value than volume. To do this, though, doctors and hospitals need instant access to data about patients — diagnoses, medications, test results, procedures and potential gaps in care that need to be addressed. As long as this information was stuffed into manila folders in doctors’ offices and hospitals, and not turned into electronic records, it was difficult to execute these kinds of analyses. That is changing. According to the Obama administration, thanks to incentives in the recovery act there has been nearly a tripling since 2008 of electronic records installed by office-based physicians, and a quadrupling by hospitals. The Health and Human Services Department connected me with some start-ups and doctors who’ve benefited from all this, including Dr. Jen Brull, a family medicine specialist in Plainville, Kan., who said that she was certain she had been alerting her relevant patients to have colorectal cancer screening — until she looked at the data in her new electronic health care system and discovered that only 43 percent of those who should be getting the screening had done so. She improved it to 90 percent by installing alerts in her electronic health records, and this led to the early detection of cancer in three patients — and early surgery that saved these patients’ lives and also substantial health care expense.
Friedman suggests that the experiences of one doctor provide an example of how Obamacare will work universally. That's a huge leap of logic. But the next part really bothers me:

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