If Obama Were Impeached, What Would He Be Impeached For?

Although many are (coyly) loathe to admit it, the talk of impeachment in some circles is getting louder.  Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) recently said “there’s no doubt” President Obama “has done plenty of things worthy of impeachment.”

But what could Obama be impeached for?

The Christian Science Monitor and others give some “suggestions.”

1. The Affordable Care Act – Employer Mandate Delay

A lawsuit in The House centers on one element of the ACA: the requirement that large employers (those with 50 or more workers) provide health coverage or pay a penalty.

That provision was originally due to go into effect in January 2014, but the Obama administration has delayed that deadline twice, and it is now January 2016.

The rationale for the delay was to allow companies more time to adjust to providing coverage. But Republicans accused the White House of trying to avoid another Obamacare controversy before the November midterms.

And they even argued that individuals should have been given a reprieve.

In some cases, a law is left vague, leaving rule-making up to the relevant government agencies. But in other cases, a law is explicit, and unilateral changes by the administration can spark controversy.

2. The Affordable Care Act – Federal Subsidies

Another controversial element of the ACA is the provision that says only people who enrolled in coverage via their state exchange are eligible for federal subsidies.

After the law passed, the Internal Revenue Service enacted a rule allowing the subsidies for people who enrolled via the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov. Opponents of the law sued and won in one federal circuit court of appeals and lost in another.

The case may go to a higher court.

3.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

This policy, announced by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012, came via a memorandum that directs authorities to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in dealing with some young undocumented immigrants.

Critics say that waiving deportation laws for more than a million people is not “prosecutorial discretion” – it’s policymaking by “executive fiat,” usurping the role of Congress. Defenders say DACA is an acceptable example of presidential discretion in policymaking.

Ten immigration agents challenged DACA in federal court, saying the policy undermined their duty to enforce the law. In 2013, the judge threw out the ecase on jurisdictional grounds, but suggested that DACA was inherently unlawful.

DACA has sometimes been mistakenly referred to as the Dream Act.  They are two separate entities.  The Dream Act was a bill that didn’t pass both houses and was never signed into law.

The Desert Sun newspaper backs up the idea that DACA and exempting 1 million illegal immigrants from deportation may give reason to impeach.

In an article about immigration reform, Forbes states, “it is hard to imagine that the House Republicans would not feel compelled to press forward with pursuing impeachment proceedings based on Obama overstepping his constitutional authority…”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said that Congress should weigh impeachment if Obama used executive actions to advance his immigration reform agenda.

4.  Gay Marriage

In 2011, the Justice Department took the unusual step of announcing that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Two years later, the Supreme Court struck down part of the law, but that does not lessen the unusual nature of the action by Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

5.  Recess appointments

In 2012, Obama made three “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was technically still in session.

In June 2014, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the president had overstepped his bounds, and that only the Senate can determine when it is in session. In a second, landmark decision in the case, the justices ruled 5-4 that the president had broad power to make recess appointments. But it was not as broad as Obama had wanted.

If one were to make an educated judgement, it seems as though the most likely reason the House would vote for impeachment would be on immigration reform.

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