(CNSNews.com) - President Obama suggested in an interview with the New York Times that was published on Saturday that you need to be a lawyer to understand the U.S. Constitution.
The president made the suggestion when talking about members of Congress who have argued he does not have the constitutional authority to unilaterally suspend enforcement of parts of the Obamacare law.
The Times asked Obama if he “consulted” with his lawyer when making the decision to suspend the employer mandate, which would require businesses with more than 50 employees to buy them health insurance, and which was supposed to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
“[I]f you heard me on stage today, what I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security,” Obama said.
“But where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people,” he said.
“And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case,” Obama added. “But there’s not an action that I take that you don't have some folks in Congress who say that I'm usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don't think that's a secret.”
“But, ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions--very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers,” the president said.
Obama was a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 1996, and a senior lecturer from 1996 to 2004. Those positions were not full-time or tenure-track. Obama was invited to join the faculty in a tenure-track position but he declined.
Many Republicans in Congress say that the president does not have the power to pick and choose when mandates are enforced, contrary to the law.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a lawyer who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, argues that Obama has violated his constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the law by suspending the deadline for the Obamacare mandate that requires large employers to provide health insurance for their workers. The mandate was supposed to begin on Dec. 31, 2013.
Founding Father George Washington, who led America to victory in the Revolutionary War and was the first U.S. president (two terms 1789-1797), was not a lawyer.
Washington presided over the convention that drafted the Constitution and established the presidency. He is considered the “Father of the Nation.” His only schooling was seven years of tutoring by his father and half-brother Lawrence.