The Department of Justice (DOJ) handed down its ruling on March 25: It will not defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. In a one-page letter to the appeals court, the DOJ said it would uphold the Texas court decision that the insurance program was unconstitutional: “The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed.”
Let the Hysteria and Accusations Begin
Is it really any surprise that the DOJ is not going to defend Obamacare, when replacing it was one of President Trump’s biggest campaign promises? It has been a sore subject across the aisle as Democrats and Republicans bitterly fought to maintain, replace, or repeal the Act. With the DOJ’s decision not to defend it, there will be a couple of predictable responses from the left:
- Hysterical terror-inspiring predictions that millions of people will lose medical insurance.
- More accusations and name calling on the president for being so anti-American.
Loss of Medical Insurance
Millions of people benefited from Obamacare, getting insurance when they couldn’t afford to do so before. Millions more were taxed and penalized for not having insurance – whether that was by choice or lack of “affordability.” The driving force behind the act to provide medical coverage to those without was to have the young and healthy pay for the elderly and sickly. One of the problems here is that the young and healthy are just starting out in life and are usually barely making ends meet. Many would rather pay the fine than be obligated to a high monthly premium when they were less likely to even use the insurance benefits than those their payments would be supporting.
Now, the left will be raising the terror-level to DEFCON 1, spreading panic among the population, claiming everyone will lose their medical coverage. But this isn’t necessarily true. The DOJ only said it would not defend Obamacare; the issue still needs to go before the appeals court, and there is still the possibility that it could be reversed.
When the tax for those who did not have coverage was removed by Congress and set to $0 in 2017, this made the ACA constitutional. Obamacare as a tax was constitutional; now it is not. Presidents have every right to refuse to defend something they feel does not follow the Constitution – and they have been doing so for decades.
We Will Not Defend This Unconstitutional Act
As sure as the night becomes the day and the day becomes the night, the left will blame, accuse, and lambast President Trump for refusing Americans affordable medical coverage. However, presidents have been using their right to not back something they feel is unconstitutional since at least 1860. In a 1994 memorandum, then Assistant Attorney General Walter Dellinger wrote:
Opinions dating to at least 1860 assert the President’s authority to decline to effectuate enactments that the President views as unconstitutional. See, e.g., Memorial of Captain Meigs, 9 Op. Att’y Gen. 462, 469-70 (1860) (asserting that the President need not enforce a statute purporting to appoint an officer); see also annotations of attached Attorney General and Office of Legal Counsel opinions. Moreover, as we discuss more fully below, numerous Presidents have provided advance notice of their intention not to enforce specific statutory requirements that they have viewed as unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court has implicitly endorsed this practice. See INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 942 n.13 (1983) (noting that Presidents often sign legislation containing constitutionally objectionable provisions and indicate that they will not comply with those provisions).
Barack Obama was quite efficient at taking the denial road and refusing to back specific legislation. The most notable were the 1966 Defense of Marriage Act and his refusal to back immigration policies. However, this won’t matter to the left who look for any and every way possible to discriminate against our president. This, to them, will just be one more piece of evidence that he is the foulest creature on Earth, bent on destroying America and her citizens.
But in all reality, what does the DOJ’s refusal to defend Obamacare really mean for the American people? It is a stance made by the Justice Department that it will not protect something it deems unconstitutional. It doesn’t mean millions of people will lose their medical insurance tomorrow, or even next year. The case still needs to go to the appeals court, at least, and possibly the Supreme Court.