Split four-to-four today, the short-staffed Supreme Court dealt President Barack Obama a blow, leaving the Nov. 10, 2015 Fifth U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that illegal immigrant parents of legal offspring are subject to deportation. Obama’s Nov. 14, 2015 executive order bypassed Congress to allow illegal immigrant parents to avoid deportation and obtain work permits. Obama can only wonder whether his Supreme Court nominee 63-year-old D.C. Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland would have upheld his executive order. Judging by today’s short-staffed Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decision to not vote on Garland looks genius for the GOP. Watching his executive order vacated, the former University of Chicago Constitutional law professor can only cringe, knowing that controversial executive orders are no substitute for Congressional action. Obama claimed he took the executive action out of sheer frustration.
There’s little doubt that Garland would have broken the deadlock and voted to overturn the Fifth Appeals Court ruling. With only six months left to his presidency, Obama bares the scares of a president with a failed relationship with a GOP Congress. When Barack signed Obamacare into law March 23, 2010 without one Republican vote, he sealed his fate in Congress. With a brief window of a Democratic House and Senate, Barack took the advice of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to seize the chance for national health care. Instead of working with the GOP on a common ground, Obama chose to go it alone, just like he did Nov. 21, 2014, signing his executive order to reform immigration . Again, what he couldn’t get from Congress, Barck took unilateral action, blaming the GOP for obstruction. When he looks back after leaving office Jan. 20, 2017, he’ll be asking himself what happened.
Barack doesn’t see the link between ramming Obamacare down Republicans’ throats and the GOP’s unwillingness to deal with his legislative and judicial agenda. Had Barack not set such a bad tone imposing the Affordable Care Act, the GOP would have been more amenable to his last Supreme Court pick. Refusing to advise-and-consent during his last few months in office, the GOP sent Obama a loud message: What goes around, comes around. “The court judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court,” said the High Court, reverting back to the Appeal Court’s ruling. Barack said the Supreme Court deadlock “takes us further from the country we aspire to be,” mirroring his and Democratic frontrunner former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s liberal views on immigration reform. What the split decision really shows is what happens when you have Washington’s partisan gridlock, something that would no doubt continue with Hillary.
Of all Hillary’s arguments for why Trump should not be present, she can’t explain how she’d do any better than Obama with a GOP Congress. It’s wishful thinking to see the House and Senate swing back to Democrats in November. While it’s possible either side could add or lose or few seats, it’s unlikely to see Democrats taking either the House or Senate. When Hillary told Anderson Cooper Oct. 13, 2015 in a CNN debate that Republicans were her “enemies,” it gave the best picture of things to come. Whatever Hillary says about Trump, she’s still got to convince voters that she can do a better bipartisan job than Obama in Congress. Obama can’t simply argue that the GOP Congress was out to get him. Imposing Obamacare on the GOP Congress had consequences on Obama’s legislative agenda. Hillary’s going to have to convince independent and GOP crossover voters that she can get anything done in a Republican House and Senate.
Dealing Obama a big blow on his Nov. 21, 2014 executive order on immigration, the Supreme Court showed Barack the meaning of “balance-of-power.” Imposing Obamacare March 23, 2010 without any GOP support sacrificed his agenda with a GOP Congress Barack and Hillary argue Obamacare was all worth the price. When you consider there’s no way to fix the unanticipated problems with Obamacare, including price-gouging by insurance companies and the employer loophole, allowing companies to stop paying for employee health insurance with employers working under 30 hours a week, the program doesn’t work. Had Obama worked with Congress to ban the insurance industry practice to denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, he would have accomplished a great thing. Creating all the bad blood with Obamacare hurt Barack with the Supreme Court and practically every other liberal agenda of his presidency.
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