Amid a recent debate about the legality of President Obama’s latest delay in Obamacare, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) argued that opponents could sue if they didn’t like the President’s action to delay a mandate for certain businesses to provide health insurance.
“Small businesses support the flexibility and the President is making sure that we implement [Obamacare] in a way that puts into effect the purpose of the law, which is to give people more health security,” Becerra said on Fox News Sunday. “So if this were against the Constitution, someone would have sued by now and the President would have to stop.”
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But not every unlawful act leads to a court case, countered Andrew Kloster, Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution authorizes the federal courts to hear ‘cases or controversies,’” Kloster explained, “and the federal courts cannot opine on legal issues when no one is hurt.”
What this means is that Americans must show a legally cognizable injury from a federal rule in order to challenge that rule in the federal court. “So when the federal government creates unlawful handouts like the Obamacare tax-free subsidies for members of Congress, it is difficult, if not impossible, to sue,” Kloster said.
A delay of the employer mandate will likely keep businesses from filing lawsuits until the provision goes into effect, Kloster added. “Many of the Obama administration’s otherwise unlawful actions will not be remedied in federal court,” he said. “And when members of Congress abdicate their own duties to hold the executive accountable, the only real remedy in these cases is the ballot box.”
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.