Nine State AGs Cite 21 Illegal Actions by Obama Administration

March 5, 2012 - 3:53 PM
Vatican US Contraception

Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, gestures during an interview at the North American College in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. The top U.S. bishop has vowed legislative and court challenges to President Barack Obama's compromise on exempting religiously affiliated employers from paying directly for birth control for their workers. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that while Obama's about-face Friday initially sparked glimmers of hope in the Catholic Church, it ended up being a "hill of beans." (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration through regulatory agencies, mandates, lawsuits and threats of lawsuits, has broken the law and overstepped its constitutional bounds, said a report released Monday from nine Republican state attorneys general.

The report cited prominently the individual mandate to purchase health insurance and the mandate for employers – without a conscience exemption – to cover the cost of employee abortifacients, sterilization and contraception under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obama care.

The report focused on what the attorneys general considered the administration’s attacks on religious liberty, unconstitutional environmental regulations, illegal recess appointments, and lawsuits to stop state laws regarding voter ID and immigration.

“One of the ways in which attorneys general protect the integrity of state laws and constitutions is by carefully reviewing the actions of the federal government and responding when they break the law or overstep the bounds of the Constitution,” said the memo titled, “A Report on Obama Administration Violations of Law.”

It said, “Through the collective review by a committee of Attorneys General from nine of the 50 states, the group identified more than 21 illegal actions from this administration and is highlighting the effects of the federal overreach on our citizens and states.”

The state attorneys general who put the report together were Tom Horne of Arizona; Pam Bondi of Florida; Sam Olens of Georgia; Bill Schuette of Michigan; Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma; Marty Jackley of South Dakota; Alan Wilson of South Carolina; Greg Abbott of Texas; and Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia.

The report acknowledged political differences between the Republican attorneys general and President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

“While each attorney general has policy disagreements with the Obama administration, those disagreements are not what serve as the basis for this effort,” the report said. “For example, this administration makes many decisions and takes numerous actions that Republican attorneys general find politically ignorant or flawed from a policy standpoint.

“However, that does not make those decisions or actions illegal. The purpose of this report is to outline actions taken by this Administration that are violations of law,” it added.

The report cited two instances where the Obama administration attacked the First Amendment’s right to religious freedom. Already, seven states filed suit to protect religious liberty and oppose the Department of Health and Human Services forcing employers, including religious entities that are opposed, such as Catholic, Baptist and Jewish schools, to cover the cost of contraception for employees.

In what was cited as a previous attack on religious liberty, the U.S. Supreme Court already ruled against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the Hosanna Tabor case in which the EEOC sought to reinstate a minister who was discharged for her disagreement with the religious doctrine of the church.

The Environmental Protection Agency was involved in four legally questionable actions, according to the report, which are being litigated. This includes a federal water quality regulation on Florida.

“The estimated impact the EPA’s rules would impose was dramatic, including billions of dollars in compliance costs, significant spikes in utility bills and the loss of thousands of jobs,” the report said. “The Florida Attorney General’s Office sued the EPA and two weeks ago prevailed when a federal judge in Tallahassee threw out the costliest of the EPA’s rules, the one governing Florida’s streams and rivers.”

Further, the EPA put in place emissions standards in Oklahoma that “goes beyond the authority granted to the EPA in the Clean Air Act and will result in $2 billion in cost to install technology needed to complete the EPA plan, and a permanent increase of 15-20 percent in the cost of electricity; Obama Administration is fighting Oklahoma's appeal, which was filed in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals,” the report said.

The report called out the Federal Communications Commission for seeking to regulate the Internet through net neutrality rules even after a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington stated the federal government does not have the power to regulate the Internet.

The report cited the National Labor Relations Board for making three recess appointments at a time when Congress was not in recess. Appointees to the board must be confirmed by the Senate.

The NLRB threatened legal action against South Carolina, after voters in the state voted by 83 percent in a statewide referendum to guarantee secret ballot union elections. However, the board backed off the legal action when three other states joined South Carolina to mount the defense.

The NLRB also tried to stop jet manufacturer Boeing from relocating a plant from Washington State, a heavy unionized state, to South Carolina, a right-to-work state. The board also backed down on this after strong public reaction against the move.

The report calls out the Justice Department for lawsuits to get rid of voter identification laws in South Carolina and Arizona. The report further cited Justice Department actions against laws to control illegal immigration passed by Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina.

It added that attorneys general must follow two principles going forward.

“This group of nine Attorneys General will grow and continue to serve as a de facto ‘task force,’ assisting when possible to defend state laws and identifying ‘best practices’ and legal arguments to fight back against the Obama Administration’s illegalities in a more cohesive and effective manner,” the report said.

“The next election is critically important and as the states’ chief legal officers, the attorneys general will make a concerted effort to educate their states’ voters on the impacts that the Obama Administration’s legal violations have on their every day lives,” it added.