A few words about presidential prerogative

I have posted a blog that calls attention to the results of the 2012 presidential election.

The Affordable Care Act was the unwritten issue on the ballot, along with President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama was re-elected. Romney sought to make the ACA an issue in the election. He failed.

The earlier blog note drew some attention from a friend who said we should honor the views of the 435 House of Reps members, most of whom ran on the issue of smaller government. I took issue with my friend.

I have long believed in presidential prerogative. We elect only one individual at-large in this country: the president. The vice president is elected too, of course, but that person’s fortunes depend on the person at the top of the ticket. Presidents occasionally make decisions with which I disagree, such as appointments to the Supreme Court. But that’s their call, given that voters elect them knowing what they’re getting. If a president tilts to the left, we can expect liberal judges; if they tilt to the right, we expect conservative judges. The majority speaks and the president is able to pick qualified individuals with whom he feels comfortable.

Thus, given that President Obama was re-elected it is my view that we need to take a different approach to settling this ACA debate. How about, as another friend suggested, tinker with the law, amend it, fix what’s wrong with it — as Congress did with Medicare — and make it better?

It makes no sense for Congress to seek to defund a law that it approved in 2010. The Supreme Court received a challenge to the law’s constitutionality; it chose to hear the case and then it ruled, narrowly, that the law meets constitutional muster. The ACA stands.

Of course, some ACA foes in Congress had the nerve to suggest that a slim majority of non-elected judges didn’t actually mean the law is constitutional. They forgot that the Constitution gives the court to make those rulings and doesn’t stipulate that it must be any margin greater than a simple majority.

So, now that the law still stands, the president has the authority to implement it. Yes, the Constitution also grants Congress the right to pull money from the law. However, I get back to my original point: The 2012 presidential election seemed to have settled the Affordable Care Act debate when Barack Obama got more votes than Mitt Romney and was allowed to remain president of the United States.

As the saying goes: Elections have consequences.

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