By Dr. Harold Pease
By now most informed political observers know something of the executive branches attempt to replace Congress as the major rule-making body by appointing, what are called Czars, who create policy and manage programs in areas where the president has no Constitutional authority as outlined in Article II, Sections II and III. Moreover, these appointments are made without the “advice and consent,” of the U.S. Senate as is required by the Constitution. They function much like cabinet officers but are unconfirmed and are accountable only to the president. They also are not required to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
This totally unconstitutional new stratum of government first started with Franklin Roosevelt who appointed, without Senate confirmation, eleven so called Czars in the 1930’s during his more than three terms in the White House. Harry Truman had 6 and Bill Clinton 8. Such was never seriously resisted, often because the president’s party also controlled both Houses of Congress and blind party loyalty kept them from questioning their leader. Then Czar power exploded. George W. Bush had 33 and Barack Obama, the king of Czar appointments, virtually began his administration with unconfirmed, unaccountable to no one but himself, 37 Czars. That number now exceeds 50.
Some of the more controversial Czars under George W. Bush head the following areas: AIDS, Bank Bailouts, Bioethics, Bird Flue, Birth Control, Copyright, Cyber Security and even Democracy. Do not ask what a Democracy Czar or a Birth Control Czar does. Not one of these powers belongs to the President. Under Obama such included: Auto, Bank Bailout, Climate, Global Warming, Pay, Domestic Violence, Drug, and Ethics Czars. Once again, these are powers never given to the Executive Branch of Government by the Constitution or any amendment added thereto; presidents just took them while Congress sat idly by. Actually most are state powers as per Amendment 10 of the U.S. Constitution. Both had/have Weatherization and Faith-Based Czars, what ever those are (List of U. S. Executive Branch Czars, Wikipedia.org). Each of these has enormous government power and answer only to the President, as would be the case under a king or dictator. Constitutional checks and balances do not exist.
One Democratic Senator alone had the guts to challenge his own party with the unconstitutionality of this practice. Senator Robert Byrd, the longest serving senator in U.S. history, “wrote a letter to President Obama … criticizing the President’s strategy of creating czars to manage important areas of national policy. Senator Byrd said that these appointments violate both the constitutional system of checks and balances and the constitutional separation of powers, and is a clear attempt to evade congressional oversight (Senior Democrat Says Obama’s Czars Unconstitutional, by Ken Klukowski, June 15, 2009, Infowars.com).”
So what are the President’s real powers outside his right to veto proposed law? Once again they are found in Article II, Sections II and III. Under the Constitution the president has but eleven powers. Let us identify them: 1) “Commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States” including the militia when called into actual service of the United States; 2) supervise departments (cabinet), each presumably established by the Congress (George Washington had but four); 3) grant reprieves and pardons; 4) make treaties with the help of the Senate; 5) with Senate help appoint positions established by law such as ambassadors, ministers and judges; 6) fill vacancies “during recess of the Senate;” 7) make recommendations to Congress on the state of the union; 8) convene both houses on special occasions and handle disputes with respect to convening (Prior to the 20th Amendment in Feb. 6, 1933, Congress convened on the first Monday in December and were out before Christmas—maybe three weeks.); 9) receive ambassadors and other public ministers; 10) make certain that “laws be faithfully executed;” and, 11) “commission all the officers of the United States.”
Simply stated, the president has two supervisory powers over existing organizations and two shared powers with the Senate, otherwise he pardons, recommends, appoints and entertains. That is it! Notice the absence of power to make any rules and regulations on us. This is the job of Congress alone.
Congress should immediately end all Czars and, if resisted in doing so, move next to impeachment proceedings regardless of political party. Please help save your liberty by passing this column on.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.