In the lead-up to NFIB v. Sebelius, one statement that lived to haunt the President was his quip to George Stephanopoulos that Obamcare was “not a tax” It even came up during oral arguments before the Court, as the pinned Solicitor General tried to evade the question:
Justice Scalia was not persuaded that the penalty was a tax for any purposes. On the next day, he asked Verrilli directly, “The president said it wasn’t a tax, didn’t he? . . . Is it a tax or not a tax? The president didn’t think it was.” Verrilli, no doubt frustrated by this question, evaded it with some Washington-spin: the president, Verrilli noted, had said that the penalty “wasn’t a tax increase,” but he didn’t say it wasn’t a tax. A new tax must logically be a tax increase.
In response to the President’s moment of candor, the Solicitor General was only able to save the law by explaining that it actually was a tax.
After NFIB v. Sebelius was decided, and Obamacare actually went into effect, another one of the President’s oft-repeated statements haunted him big time–“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” This was always an abject lie, as Obamacare forced people to leave non-compliant plans, and in the months leading up to the rollout of HealthCare.gov, the Administration took steps to make it even harder to renew old plans. This whopper was voted the Politifact Lie of the Year.
In response to this lack of candor, the Obama Administration implemented the “administrative fix,” which waived the individual mandate’s penalty for millions, and grandfathered plans that were noncompliant under federal law.
I think we can now add a third to this list of Presidential talking points. With respect to his immigration executive action the President said quite clearly “I just took an action to change the law.” This was absolutely the truth. He did change the law–or more precisely, suspend it. Now, this statement was quoted several times by the Texas suit against the action.
I can already envision Justice Scalia snickering about this when the case gets to the Court. Poor Solicitor General Verrilli will have to explain what the meaning of change is.
For a former constitutional law professor, he really says things which hurt his case in court!