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Lessons Learned : Obama Sued By Congress

Lessons Learned is for teachers who wish to add into their curriculum lessons from current events which are highlighted in the news and a focus their students are interested in. There are many very good resources out on the Internet now for focused, well made, professional CCSS aligned lesson modules. From these resources, I try to find a few so that teachers can review them and use them in their classrooms. 


Current Event : For the first time in History, Congress (as Congress) is suing the President of the United States.


When, on July 2, the Obama Administration announced a one-year postponement of the January 1, 2014 effective date for the Affordable Care Act's requirement that large employers provide their workers health insurance or pay a tax, affected businesses "cheered." But anti-"Obamacare" advocates and politicians howled. They saw a "blatantly illegal move" (Brietbart.com pundit Ken Klukowski), a government acting "as though it were not bound by law" (CATO Institute economist Michael Cannon), and an unconstitutional "refus[al] to enforce" a democratically enacted law (Congressional Joint Resolution #45, introduced July 10 by New Jersey House Republican Scott Garrett). In the Wall Street Journal, Stanford Professor Michael McConnell, formerly a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, huffed that the decision "raises grave concerns about [President Obama's] understanding" that, unlike medieval British monarchs, American presidents have, under Article II, Section 3 of our Constitution, a "duty, not a discretionary power" to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Following up in the Journal this Monday, David Rivkin and Lee Casey, who helped lawyer last year's legal challenge to the ACA individual mandate, darkly intimated that the new employer mandate delay could trigger litigation that could result in "the whole statute fall[ing] while the president's suspension is in effect."


Constitution Ariticle 2 sec 3 clause 3

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Lessons for Class: 

In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about the three branches of the United States government. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the powers that the Constitution assigns to each branch—legislative, executive, and judicial—and how the three branches work together. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.
CCSS: Strong alignment with adaption from k5-k12


NOTE: The lesson looked so good and engaging that I am listing it but it is not aligned with Common Core. Perhaps a little bit of adjustment could make it so.
In this lesson, students will examine the duties of the President as written in the Constitution and what the Oath of Office means.
CCSS: None - only National Alignment 


This course covers American Government: the Constitution, the branches of government (Presidency, Congress, Judiciary) and how politics works: elections, voting, parties, campaigning, policy making.  In addition we’ll look at how the media, interest groups, public opinion polls and political self-identification (are you liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican or something else?) impact politics and political choices.  We’ll also cover the basics in economic, social and foreign policy and bring in current issues and show how they illustrate the process.
CCSS: None. This is a College Level Open Course for Government



Clause 5: Caring for the faithful execution of the law

The President must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."[19] This clause in the Constitution imposes a duty on the President to take due care while executing laws and is called the Take Care Clause,[20] also known as the Faithful Execution Clause[21] or Faithfully Executed Clause.[22] This clause is meant to ensure that a law is faithfully executed by the President,[20] even if he disagrees with the purpose of that law.[23] By virtue of his executive power, the President may execute the law and control the law execution of others. Under the Take Care Clause, however, the President must exercise his law-execution power to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."[21] Addressing the North Carolina ratifying convention, William Maclaine declared that the Faithful Execution Clause was "one of the [Constitution's] best provisions."[21] If the President "takes care to see the laws faithfully executed, it will be more than is done in any government on the continent; for I will venture to say that our government, and those of the other states, are, with respect to the execution of the laws, in many respects mere ciphers."[21] President George Washington interpreted this clause as imposing on him a unique duty to ensure the execution of federal law. Discussing a tax rebellion, Washington observed, "it is my duty to see the Laws executed: to permit them to be trampled upon with impunity would be repugnant to" that duty.[21]
According to former United States Assistant Attorney General Walter E. Dellinger III the Supreme Court and the Attorneys General have long interpreted the Take Care Clause as standing for the proposition that the President has no inherent constitutional authority to suspend the enforcement of the laws, particularly of statutes.[24] Quite the contrary: The Take Care Clause demands that the President obey the law, the Supreme Court said in Humphrey's Executor v. United States, and repudiates any notion that he may dispense with the law's execution.[25] In Printz v. United States521 U.S. 898 (1997), the Supreme Court explained how the President executes the law: "The Constitution does not leave to speculation who is to administer the laws enacted by Congress; the President, it says, "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," Art. II, §3, personally and through officers whom he appoints (save for such inferior officers as Congress may authorize to be appointed by the "Courts of Law" or by "the Heads of Departments" who with other presidential appointees), Art. II, §2."
The President possesses wide discretion in deciding how and even when to enforce laws. He also has a range of interpretive discretion in deciding the meaning of laws he must execute. When an appropriation provides discretion, the President can gauge when and how appropriated moneys can be spent most efficiently. However, the President may not prevent a member of the executive branch from performing a ministerial duty lawfully imposed upon him by Congress. (See Marbury v. Madison (1803); and Kendall v. United States ex rel. Stokes (1838)). Nor may the President take an action not authorized either by the Constitution or by a lawful statute. (See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952)). Finally, the President may not refuse to enforce a constitutional law, or "cancel" certain appropriations, for that would amount to an extra-constitutional veto or suspension power.[21]
Some Presidents have claimed the authority under this clause to impound money appropriated by Congress. President Jefferson, for example, delayed the expenditure of money appropriated for the purchase of gunboats for over a year. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his successors sometimes refused outright to expend appropriated money.[21] The Supreme Court, however, has held that impoundments without Congressional authorization are unconstitutional.[26]
It has been asserted that the President's responsibility in the "faithful" execution of the laws entitles him to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus[citation needed]. Article One provides that the privilege may not be suspended save during times of rebellion or invasion, but it does not specify who may suspend the privilege. The Supreme Court ruled that Congress may suspend the privilege if it deems it necessary. During the American Civil War, PresidentAbraham Lincoln suspended the privilege, but, owing to the vehement opposition he faced, obtained congressional authorization for the same.[citation needed] Since then, the privilege of the writ has only been suspended upon the express authorization of Congress.
In Mississippi v. Johnson, 71 U.S. 475 (1867), the Supreme Court ruled that the judiciary may not restrain the President in the execution of laws. In that case the Supreme Court refused to entertain a request for an injunction preventing President Andrew Johnson from executing the Reconstruction Acts, which were claimed to be unconstitutional. The Court found that "[t]he Congress is the legislative department of the government; the President is the executive department. Neither can be restrained in its action by the judicial department; though the acts of both, when performed, are, in proper cases, subject to its cognizance."[27] Thus, the courts cannot bar the passage of a law by Congress, though it may strike down such a law as unconstitutional. A similar construction applies to the executive branch.


One View Point -- From the Atlantic 

Mostly, the heated rhetoric of the past few weeks ignores what the Administration has actually decided and how it has delimited the scope and purpose of that decision. The Treasury Department's announcement provides for one year of "transition relief," to continue working through 2014 with "employers, insurers, and other reporting entities" to revise and engage in "real-world testing" of the reporting requirements, simplify forms, coordinate requisite public and private sector information technology arrangements, and engineer a "smoother transition to full implementation in 2015." The announcement describes the postponed requirements as "ACA mandatory" -- i.e., not discretionary or subject to indefinite waiver. On July 9, Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Mazur added, in a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton, that the Department expects to publish proposed rules implementing the relevant provisions "this summer, after a dialogue with stakeholders." In effect, the Administration explains the delay as a sensible adjustment to phase-in enforcement, not a refusal to enforce

In Sunday's Washington Post, Bush II Health & Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt concurred that "The [Obama] Administration's decision to delay the employer mandate was wise," in light of the Bush Administration's initially bumpy but ultimately successful phase-in of the 2004 prescription drug benefit to Medicare. Though "wise," is the current postponement "illegal"? On the contrary, Treasury's Mazur wrote to Chair Upton, such temporary postponements of tax reporting and payment requirements are routine, citing numerous examples of such postponements by Republican and Democratic administrations when statutory deadlines proved unworkable.


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