It's true! Here's the evidence:
Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), (Obama) said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.”This from the famed legal scholar George Will.
He continued: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. . . . It looks like there may be some better ways to do this, let’s make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. But we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to Obamacare. We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so.”
Oh, wait; he's not a legal scholar -- he's a bow-tied Right Wing blowhard. Can we get a legal opinion here?
Well, not from Jonathan Chait, but let's start there:
(E)ven though Obama did not expound upon his legal rationale at the press conference, his administration has provided a legal rationale.... The main point, to me, is that “this is something that the agency has done more than a dozen times before,” which is to say, federal agencies delay the implementation of statutes for practical reasons all the time without anybody bringing up Nixon. Will seems to think that, when a president fails to make a legal argument at a press conference, he forfeits the legal case. This is Barry Zuckercorn–level legal analysis.That rationale, linked to by Chait, is here, and summarized here. The key point?
The White House can’t simply decide not to set up a law; that much is clear in the constitution, which says the executive branch “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”See George? There's no bright line here, much as you'd like to see one. I think ordering a break in at the opposition party's headquarters is a pretty bright line OTOH, but then, I'm not a legal scholar -- or at least I don't have access to your besmirched bully pulpit.
At the same time, Congress has also given the executive branch some flexibility in determining what it means to “faithfully” execute a law. It’s hard, after all, for legislators to predict every thorny issue that will come up in the process of turning laws into regulations.
So a month after the Administration explains its rationale in delaying aspects of the ACA, George Will listens to a press conference, from which his takeaway is that Obama is worse than Nixon. Wow. He has forgotten a hell of a lot about Watergate. He might want a refresher from the files of the paper that published his screed.
Then he might want to retire so he can yell at the kids to get off his lawn. Maybe he could take Peggy Noonan with him.