Meanwhile, decisions of the NLRB and the CFPB are in legal limbo, pending a Supreme Court decision. Hundreds of thousands of people and are affected and millions of dollars are at stake. There is a price for not observing the rule of law.
There are other examples. For several years, the Obama administration has refused to obey a law requiring the president's budget to be submitted on a certain date. As Budget Director, Treasury nominee Jack Lew refused to obey the law requiring him to issue a report in response to the trustees' report on Medicare.
During the 2012 campaign, the Pentagon told defense contractors not to inform employees that they may be laid off if the sequester took effect as required by the WARN Act.
They were even told that the government would pay any fines for not complying. What law authorizes that?
Similarly, Health and Human Services has stated that the federal government can fund health insurance exchanges run by the feds for states that refuse to create their own exchanges. But nowhere does the Democrats' hastily crafted Obamacare legislation say that.
In spring 2009, we got our first glimmers of this modus operandi. In arranging the Chrysler bankruptcy, administration officials brushed aside the rights of secured creditors in order to pay off the United Auto Workers.
University of Pennsylvania law professor David Skeel pointed out that this violated the standard rules of bankruptcy law established, interestingly, during the New Deal.
"We have just seen an episode of gangster government," I wrote at the time. "It is likely to be a continuing series."
It looks like that's one prediction I got right. This president, like all his predecessors since Woodrow Wilson started delivering these speeches in person, looks magnificent in the temple where laws are made. But he doesn't seem to consider himself bound by them.
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