At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Quote of the Day: Taxpayer Privacy and IRS Abuse

At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) remains among our most important missions.  Among the abuses that we've chronicled is the case of convicted criminal Charles Littlejohn, who rejoined the IRS in 2017 with the specific purpose of illegally breaching and leaking the private tax returns of Donald Trump and other Americans to radical left-wing organizations like ProPublica.

In The Wall Street Journal this week, one of those victims speaks out on his own experience and the need for greater taxpayer protection against this recurring problem that should terrify all Americans of every political persuasion.  Ira Stoll, whose tax information was passed to ProPublica, even helpfully details how…[more]

May 29, 2024 • 11:28 AM

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Obama Administration Suffers "Significant Defeat" in Court Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, September 10 2015
[T]he administration's effort to undermine statutory and constitutional limitations on its power in implementing this disastrous law poses even more corrosive threats to our system of divided powers and checks and balances.

This week, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. issued what even The New York Times acknowledged constitutes "a significant defeat for the Obama Administration." 

Although liberal partisans immediately struggled to minimize its importance, the Times characterized the ruling as one "that poses a new legal threat to the health care law and gave congressional Republicans a victory in their claims of executive overreach by the White House." 

Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has demonstrated a chronic inability to persuade the American public toward his policy point of view.  From ObamaCare at the outset of his tenure to his current nuclear capitulation to Iran, which garners just 21% support in a new Pew Research poll, one cannot identify a single instance in which Obama has moved public opinion in his favor via his mythical persuasive powers.  On this critical job component for any president, Obama has simply proven woefully inept. 

To compensate for that failure, his administration has instead resorted to simply evading statutory and constitutional limits to get what he wants through simple fiat. 

For example, recall his behavior on the subject of immigration, where Obama initially pleaded powerlessness to Hispanic audiences in order to rationalize his lack of achievement.  A short time later, however, he began to simply stop enforcing deportation responsibilities and other legal provisions that he deemed unpalatable. 

Fortunately, the judicial branch has on multiple occasions rebuked Obama's overreach, including an unprecedented string of unanimous Supreme Court decisions rejecting his claim of authority on such matters as "recess" appointments when the Senate was not in fact in recess. 

This week, Judge Rosemary Collyer of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia provided the latest rejection of an Obama Administration overreach. 

The underlying lawsuit was brought by the U.S. House of Representatives, after the administration spent billions of dollars on healthcare subsidies that weren't authorized by Congress.  The Obama Administration moved to dismiss the case, arguing that Congress lacked standing to sue and that "only the Executive has authority to implement the laws," urging the court "to stay out of a quintessentially political fight in which the House is already well armed." 

Judge Collyer, however, was having none of that argument: 

"The Congress (of which the House and Senate are equal) is the only body empowered by the Constitution to adopt laws directing monies to be spent from the U.S. Treasury.  Yet this constitutional structure would collapse, and the role of the House would be meaningless, if the Executive could circumvent the appropriations process and spend funds however it pleases.  If such actions are taken, in contravention of the specific proscription in Article I, § 9, cl. 7, the House as an institution has standing to sue.  None of the Secretaries' four arguments persuades the Court otherwise." 

Judge Collyer employed particularly astringent language in dismissing one White House argument in particular: 

"The Secretaries further argue that the House is not injured by the lack of an appropriation because it can remedy or prevent that injury through means outside this lawsuit.  Chief among those means, they contend, is 'the elimination of funding.'  As the House points out, the Secretaries are 'apparently oblivious to the irony' of their argument.  Eliminating funding for Section 1402 is exactly what the House tried to do.  But as the House argues, Congress cannot fulfill its constitutional role if it specifically denies funding and the Executive simply finds money elsewhere without consequence.  Indeed, the harm alleged in this case is particularly insidious because, if proved, it would eliminate Congress's role vis-a-vis the Executive." 

ObamaCare is destructive enough as a matter of policy and its impact on everyday Americans, which is the primary reason why it was widely unpopular at inception and remains so nearly six years later.  Indeed, that helps explain why Obama himself was rated the worst president in U.S. history in a recent USA Today survey, even below his much-maligned predecessor and Richard Nixon. 

But the administration's effort to undermine statutory and constitutional limitations on its power in implementing this disastrous law poses even more corrosive threats to our system of divided powers and checks and balances.  Article I unequivocally states that "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."  As Judge Collyer concluded, "Disregard for that reservation works a grievous harm on the House, which is deprived of its rightful and necessary place under our Constitution." 

She is to be applauded for rebuking an administration that promises only increased lawlessness as it enters its final 500 days in power. 

Notable Quote   
 
"Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says Democrats have tipped their hand to their desire to unleash noncitizen voting by opposing his state's citizenship verification in court and he is urging elections chiefs in other states to fight such lawsuits.Georgia's citizenship verification system has prevented noncitizens from getting on state voter rolls, but the state had to defend it in court…[more]
 
 
— Natalia Mittelstadt, Just the News
 
Liberty Poll   

Which would be the most useful for voters: a televised presidential debate that only includes Trump and Biden or one that adds Kennedy?