“The president may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections.”
So writes Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. On Tuesday, the Court told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it had to complete the licensing process and approve or reject the Department of Energy’s application to site a nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain, Nev., as required by federal law.
Kavenaugh’s opinion continues: “It is no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.” [In Re: Aiken County, Et Al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, August 13]
Come to think of it, similar words could apply to quite a few of the Obama administration’s doings these days, in particular its actions on ObamaCare. The administration has suspended ObamaCare’s employer mandate, suspended the fraud protections in the ObamaCare exchanges, decided to let Congress continue receiving benefits that the law had discontinued, and suspended the caps on out-of-pocket costs. Now the administration also seems likely to ignore the legal requirements for ensuring the security of personal data in the ObamaCare data hub. For a law that’s considered the Obama administration’s signature piece of legislation, ObamaCare sure gets ignored a lot by the Obama administration.