Obama Avoids Executive Actions That Could Prompt Lawsuits
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 04:54 AM
Despite anticipation that President Barack Obama would seize on his authority to act without U.S. congressional approval, his State of the Union speech appeared to mention only a handful of executive actions that could face legal challenges.
In his Tuesday night speech, Obama stayed away from the kind of bold, detailed proposals that some lawmakers and media pundits said beforehand would shake up his relationship with Congress, legal experts said afterward.
He vowed to act on his own but offered modest or vague ideas that hardly stretched what Americans think of as a president's power, and that were unlikely to send business organizations rushing to file many lawsuits in courthouses.
His proposals to go it alone included a minimum wage increase for federal contract workers, creation of a "starter savings account" to help millions of people save for retirement and plans to establish new fuel efficiency standards for trucks.
Despite the administration's buildup before the speech, the high-flying rhetoric of the address itself and a promise of more such proposals, Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, a conservative legal group, said the president was not very explicit about what executive actions he might take.
"The theme was clearly there," Levey said. "It might have been a little more conciliatory, a little less explicit than I anticipated."