Walter Dellinger was assistant attorney general during the Clinton administration. He’s billed as an authority on constitutional law.
Today, he testified before Congress on President Obama’s various delays of parts of Obamacare, delays that were not part of the original law and were not approved by Congress.
Under questioning from Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) Dellinger came up with a novel way to explain why Barack Obama can change Obamacare but a hypothetical President Ted Cruz, who has said that he wants to repeal Obamacare, could not.
Take a look.
Burgess opens the segment explaining that President Cruz announces that he will suspend the individual mandate immediately after taking the oath of office. “Is it okay for him to do that, just as the president did?” Burgess asks.
“That’s actually a very good question,” Dellinger begins. “What should inform the judgement is is the president acting because he just disagrees as a matter of policy with the law the Congress enacted? And that should lead us to think that we should be wary about that kind of delaying capacity if it’s a policy disagreement. The president actually agrees with the act as a whole of course.” Dellinger goes on to say that Obama only enacted the delay to make it easier for businesses to apply it, which isn’t entirely true. Obama delayed it to push its impact past the presidential election.
Question for Mr. Dellinger: What to make of Obama’s scuttling of the Defense of Marriage Act? He clearly did not do that because he agreed with its ban on same-sex marriage. In fact, he declined to defend it in court expressly because he disagrees with it.
One could be forgiven for seeing in Mr. Dellinger’s answer on Obamacare no principle in play at all, save for the principle that whatever a Democrat does is fine with him.
No future Republicans president should feel themselves constrained by the opinion of a partisan former White House lawyer.