In the past four years, Fox News has routinely declared the Obama administration's initiatives unconstitutional, including immigration and deportation policy changes and the Affordable Care Act.
Obama Administration Announced Welfare Waiver Provision...
HHS Announced “Secretary's Willingness To Exercise Her Waiver Authority” On Welfare Program. In a July 12 memo, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would be changing the process by which states could apply for waivers from certain parts of the federal welfare program known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, stating that it was doing so to “encourag[e] states to consider new, more effective ways to meet the goals of TANF, particularly helping parents successfully prepare for, find, and retain employment.” [HHS.gov, 7/12/12]
...Fox Blasted Decision As “Clearly Illegal”
Charles Krauthammer: Obama Administration Is Acting “Illegally” By Announcing Waiver Provision. On Fox News' Special Report, contributor Charles Krauthammer claimed the Obama administration is “acting, what is essentially illegally, in granting waivers in a bill that does not allow the granting of waivers.” [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 8/7/12, via Media Matters]
Monica Crowley: This Is An “Executive Fiat Move” By Obama. Discussing a Mitt Romney campaign ad that highlighted the waiver provision, contributor Monica Crowley claimed the waivers were an “executive fiat move” by Obama. She then repeated Mitt Romney's assertion that Obama has “once again gone around the Congress, gone around the legislative process to give these waivers.” [Fox News, America Live, 8/8/12, via Media Matters]
Dick Morris: Obama Welfare Waiver Provision Is “Clearly Illegal.” On Fox & Friends, contributor Dick Morris stated of the provision: “It's clearly illegal. It'll clearly be reversed by the courts, but in the meantime, Obama can indulge his left-wing constituency and they can have a wonderful time celebrating the end of the most successful program over the last 40 years.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/8/12, via Media Matters]
Obama Administration Announced Immigration Policy Change For Young Undocumented Immigrants...
DHS Exercised Prosecutorial Discretion To Allow Young Undocumented Immigrants To Remain In The U.S. In a June 15 press release, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would exercise prosecutorial discretion to grant certain undocumented immigrants the chance to be exempted from deportation and work in the country legally:
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. [Department of Homeland Security, 6/15/12]
...Fox Likened Obama To Julius Caesar
Bill O'Reilly Likened Obama To Julius Caesar. During an exchange with contributor Juan Williams, host Bill O'Reilly disagreed that the change meant Obama was upholding the immigration law, asking, “Are you kidding me?” O'Reilly went on to say: Obama “said he doesn't like it, so, he, Julius Caesar, is gonna say, no, you don't have to enforce it.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 6/18/12, via Media Matters]
Karl Rove: Obama Is Saying That “We Will Selectively Apply The Laws Of The United States.” Contributor Karl Rove claimed that with the change, Obama is saying that “we will selectively apply the laws of the United States” and that "[w]e will exempt a class of people from the statutes. There's no authority, I think, to do that." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 6/18/12, via Media Matters]
Krauthammer: “This Is Out-And-Out Lawlessness” And An “End-Run” Around Congress. Discussing the policy change, Krauthammer claimed it was “out-and-out lawlessness” and not an instance of discretion: “This is a declaration of a whole new set of criteria which is essentially resurrecting the legislation that the Congress has said 'no' to. And I think this is not how you run a constitutional republic. This ought to be in the hands of Congress and it is an end-run.” He added: “This is out-and-out lawlessness. This is not how you govern.” [Fox News, Special Report, 6/15/12, via Media Matters]
Fox Nation: “Obama Administration Bypasses Congress.” A Fox Nation post highlighting the policy change bore the headline, “Obama Administration Bypasses Congress, to Give Immunity, Stop Deporting Younger Illegals”:
[Fox Nation, 6/15/12]
Steve Hayes: Obama Made The Policy Change “By Executive Fiat.” Contributor Steve Hayes questioned Obama's “process” in making the immigration policy change, asking: “Should the president be doing this by, sort of, executive fiat? I think not.” [Fox News, Special Report, 6/15/12, via Media Matters]
Sean Hannity Accused Obama Of Trying To “Rule By Executive Fiat.” Discussing the policy change on his radio show, Fox News host Sean Hannity claimed that what Obama “decided here is that he is going to pick and choose and basically rule by executive fiat, ignore the power that is constitutionally given to the United States Congress, and do an end-round around these guys, and basically dictate what is going to happen here.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/15/12, via Media Matters]
Obama Administration Announced Visa Rule Change For Undocumented Immigrants...
DHS Proposed Reducing Time Required For Undocumented Immigrants With Family In The U.S. To Apply For Legal Visa. DHS proposed a rule change that would reduce the amount of time required for undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens to apply for residency. The change would allow eligible immigrants to obtain a lawful return visa without a long separation from their families. [Federal Register, 4/2/12]
... Fox Called Decision “Unlawful”
Fox Nation: “Obama Granting Illegals 'Unlawful Presence Waivers.' ” Fox Nation highlighted the change using the headline, “Obama Granting Illegals 'Unlawful Presence Waivers.' ” From Fox Nation:
[Fox Nation, 4/3/12]
Obama Administration Announced New Deportation Policy...
Obama Administration Announced Policy To Prioritize The Removal Of Immigrants Who Pose Threat To Public Safety. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton explained that in allocating limited resources, ICE would prioritize the detention and removal of undocumented immigrants “who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety,” undocumented immigrants who have recently entered the United States illegally, and undocumented immigrants “who are fugitives or otherwise obstruct immigration controls.” [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 3/2/11]
...Fox Accused Obama Of Ruling “By Executive Fiat”
Michelle Malkin: Change Amounted To Passing The DREAM Act “Through Administrative Fiat.” Discussing the policy, contributor Michelle Malkin claimed the administration's decision was made to “appease” the “left-wing, open-borders lobby” and that it amounted to passing the DREAM Act “through administrative fiat.” [Fox News, America Live, 8/22/11, via Media Matters]
Krauthammer: “That's A Pretty Radical Sort Of In-Your-Face At The Constitutional System.” Krauthammer claimed that when Obama “doesn't succeed in Congress, he goes under the radar,” explaining that the policy change was an example of this practice. He also stated that the policy was “a pretty radical sort of in-your-face at the constitutional system.” [Fox News, Special Report, 8/30/11, via Media Matters]
Gregg Jarrett: “Is [Obama] Breaking His Constitutional Duty?” During a report of the policy change, anchor Gregg Jarrett repeatedly suggested Obama was subverting the Constitution, asking, “Isn't the president duty-bound by the Constitution to enforce the laws duly enacted by Congress?” Jarrett later reiterated: "[I]f the president refuses to enforce the existing law, which was passed by Congress, is he usurping the legislative authority of Congress?" He then again asked: “Is he breaking his Constitutional duty?” [Fox News, Studio B with Shepard Smith, 8/19/11, via Media Matters]
Obama Requested Consolidation Authority From Congress...
Obama Sought Authority From Congress To Consolidate Federal Agencies. As Politico reported, Obama asked Congress “for the power to merge departments and agencies to help streamline government and improve efficiency,” which “would allow him to propose agency mergers that would then be subject to an up-or-down vote from Congress within 90 days.” Politico added: “Under the terms of the president's proposal, lawmakers would still need to grant the president the the fast-track authority and approve each of his proposals.” [Politico, 1/13/12]
...Fox Accused Obama Of “Breaking The Law Of The Land”
Eric Bolling: “Power-Grabber In Chief” Wants “More Executive Power, Scary Power.” Discussing Obama's request, host Eric Bolling said that the “power-grabber in chief” wanted “more executive power, scary power.” He then asserted that Obama is “usurping Congress for more executive privilege” in seeking the authority to consolidate federal agencies. [Fox News, The Five, 1/13/12, via Media Matters]
Bolling: “He's Breaking The Law Of The Land.” Bolling also said that Obama is “breaking the law of the land” by saying he will consolidate federal agencies “no matter what.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/13/12, via Media Matters]
Obama Administration Announced Continuing Effort To Focus On Deportation Priorities...
CNN: Following Arizona Supreme Court Ruling, DHS Will Continue To Focus On Deportation Priorities. After the Supreme Court allowed the so-called “show me your papers” provision of Arizona's immigration law to go into effect, DHS announced that federal officials would not respond to every traffic stop at which Arizona authorities claim to have an undocumented immigrant in custody. CNN reported:
[F]ederal officials will not respond to the scene of state or local traffic stops or similar law enforcement encounters to enforce immigration laws unless the individual meets DHS enforcement priorities. To meet those priorities, the individual must be a convicted criminal or a recent border crosser, or must have been removed from the U.S. previously and re-entered unlawfully.
DHS will continue to comply with its legal requirement to verify, by telephone, the individual's immigration status, officials said. [CNN.com, 6/25/12]
...Fox Claimed Obama Was “Thumbing His Nose At The Judiciary Branch”
Hannity: Obama Was “Bypassing Laws That Were Already On The Books.” On his Fox News show, Hannity stated of Obama: “He was bypassing Congress, bypassing laws that were already on the books. It seems like he doesn't respect the Constitution in this sense: separation of powers, checks and balances, and these actions today -- seems like he's just basically thumbing his nose at the judiciary branch.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/25/12, via Media Matters]
Krauthammer: “This Is High-Handed And Lawless.” After repeatedly accusing the administration of not wanting to enforce immigration law, Krauthammer stated: “This is high-handed and lawless on the part of the administration.” [Fox News, Special Report, 6/25/12, via Media Matters]
Greta Van Susteren: Obama Was “Snubb[ing] His Finger A Little Bit At The Full Court.” Host Greta Van Susteren claimed that with DHS' decision, Obama “snub[ed] his finger a little bit at the full court because he's saying we're not gonna abide by this.” [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 6/25/12, via Media Matters]
Obama Named Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief In Recess Appointment...
Obama Appointed Richard Cordray As CFPB Director During Senate Recess Of Fewer Than Three Days. The Washington Post reported that Obama recess-appointed Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
President Obama appointed Richard Cordray as head of a federal consumer watchdog agency on Wednesday, defiantly using his executive authority after the Senate rejected the nomination last month.
Speaking in Cordray's home state of Ohio, where Cordray served as attorney general until losing reelection in 2010, Obama chided Senate Republicans for holding up the nomination since last summer, saying, “I refuse to take 'no' for an answer.”
“For almost half a year, Republicans in the Senate have blocked Richard's nomination,” refusing to even give him an up or down vote, Obama said. “This is not because Richard is not qualified.” Cordray, Obama said, had the support of Democrats, a majority of state attorneys general and a majority of the Senate itself. [The Washington Post, 1/4/12]
...Fox: Obama Appointment “Is Another Unprecedented Power Grab”
Crowley: “This Is Another Unprecedented Power Grab By This President.” Discussing the Cordray appointment, Crowley stated: “I think this is another unprecedented power grab by this president.” She added: “President Obama has never made a mystery of who he is, what he's intended to do, what his philosophy is. He has told us repeatedly over many months that this is what he was going to do, that he was going to end-run the congress -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- to get his agenda through. Executive fiat, through bureaucracies, recess appointments. This is just one of the many pieces to the puzzle.” [Fox News, America Live, 1/4/12, via Media Matters]
FoxNews.com Op-Ed: “Obama's Cordray Appointment Mocks The Constitution.” In a FoxNews.com op-ed headlined, “Obama's Cordray Appointment Mocks the Constitution, ” Phil Kerpen, vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity, wrote that Obama “overturn[ed] at least a hundred years of precedent, and bypass[ed] the Constitution's advice and consent requirement.” Kerpen accused Obama of not “acting within the confines of the law and the Constitution,” and claimed he “adopted a theory of executive power so expansive that a reporter at a recent press conference understandably asked whether the president believes we have a virtual monarchy.” [FoxNews.com, 1/4/12]
Obama Administration Decided To Stop Defending Defense of Marriage Act...
AG Eric Holder Announced That Administration Will No Longer Defend Section 3 Of DOMA. In a statement announcing that the administration would no longer defend the constitutionality of a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, Attorney General Eric Holder stated:
After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in Windsor and Pedersen, now pending in the Southern District of New York and the District of Connecticut. I concur in this determination. [Department of Justice, Letter to Congressional Leadership, 2/23/2011]
...Fox Called Decision “A Form Of Dictatorship”
Crowley Called DOMA Decision “A Form Of Dictatorship.” Discussing the decision, Crowley stated that “the president of the United States doesn't get to decide which laws he likes and which ones he's gonna enforce. He's the chief executive,” and added: “The law is on the books, the Defense of Marriage Act. It is his responsibility under the Constitution to enforce that law. Not just to decide, ”Well, I don't like that law, so I'm not going to enforce it." That is -- to me, that is a form of dictatorship. That is Mubarak Obama." She continued: “If President Bush had done that, there would be calls for his impeachment. I think this is a very serious story.” [Fox News, America Live, 2/23/11, via Media Matters]
Megyn Kelly Suggested DOJ Isn't Doing Its “Job.” Host Megyn Kelly stated: “The Department of Justice, however you feel about this law, whether you like this law or you don't like this law, the Department of Justice's job is to defend the laws that are on the books. And it is now saying that pursuant to President Obama's feeling that this law is unconstitutional, and Eric Holder says he agrees, they're just not going to do it. So what happens now?” [Fox News, America Live, 2/23/11, via Equality Matters]
Maggie Gallagher Accused Administration Of Avoiding Constitution. Fox guest and National Organization for Marriage (NOM) co-founder Maggie Gallagher commented: “This is an end run really around our normal constitutional processes and we're going to be seeing a lot more of this by President Obama now that he faces a Republican dominated Congress.” [Fox News, America Live, 2/23/11, via Equality Matters]
Lars Larson: “You Can't Even Count The Number Of Things [Obama] Has Done To Act Like A King.” Discussing the decision, frequent Fox guest and conservative talk radio host Lars Larson stated: “All Hail, King Obama. Listen, the fact is the president is effectively saying to Americans, I don't need no stinking checks and balances. If I decide the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, I don't need the Supreme Court.” He concluded: “You can't even count the number of things this man has done to act like a king.” [Fox News, America Live, 7/10/12, via Media Matters]
And Fox Repeatedly Cast Health Care Reform As Unconstitutional
Fox Waged Battle To Declare Health Care Reform Unconstitutional. The debate about the constitutionality of health care reform went from the fringes of legal and political opinion to the mainstream, culminating in the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law. During this time, Fox News was at the forefront, challenging the constitutionality of health care reform and the individual mandate:
- Sarah Palin: “This is unconstitutional.”
- Steve Doocy: “We've argued on this program” that the individual mandate is “against the law.”
- Mike Huckabee: The government is “forcing people into an unconstitutional system where they're going to have to virtually pay into a private marketplace in order to get full rights of citizenship. It's the equivalent of a poll tax.”
- Michelle Malkin: Health care reform is a “wholly unconstitutional mother of all unconstitutional mandates.”
- Andrew Napolitano: “The government has no legitimate authority under the constitution or under the natural law to force us to purchase health insurance or to punish us when we don't.”
- Kimberly Guilfoyle: “This is something that is unconstitutional.”
- David Asman: “We believe Obamacare is unconstitutional. We also believe that the early effects of Obamacare show exactly why it is an affront to the founding principles of the constitution. That folks in government would always be tempted to grab more power they already have.” [Media Matters, 6/28/12]