By Harold Pease, Ph. D
November 16, President Obama announced his executive amnesty in a live address to the nation. After the American people soundly rejected his policies on November 4th, he had the audacity to address us in prime time fashion defiantly rejecting existing law and placing himself above Congress on immigration law. This, after he argued more than two dozen times on different dates in multiple places that he had no constitutional authority to do so, even arguing at one time that he would have to be an emperor to do so. He knows precisely what he is doing to the Constitution. Such action makes him a threat to the document and to liberty.
This is the biggest affront to the Constitution and the separation of powers doctrine since FDR attempted to pack the Supreme Court February 5, 1937, so as to control it, because it rightfully declared so much of what he did unconstitutional. President Obama’s rule changes violated two parts of the Constitution, the separation of powers between the three branches of government housed in Articles I, II, and III, and his responsibility to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” as noted in Article II, Section 3. These are serious, even impeachable, violations and should be challenged.
Americans now must depend on Congress to defend itself for posterity against executive tyranny. Senate Majority Leader-Elect Mitch McConnell must publicly denounce this executive takeover of their sole right to make all law (Article I, Section I) by rejecting, until the President rescinds his unconstitutional decree, every single nomination or appointment that the President puts forward for the next two years— except for critical national security positions. To do otherwise would be too weak a response to the President’s extreme power grab.
The House of Representatives, presently led by John Boehner, must follow with a public condemnation of executive tyranny with the announcement that they cannot, and will not, fund the President’s attempt to confiscate their sole power to make all law.
This power grab is not without his having warned us. In his recent State of the Union Address he boldly threatened to replace the legislative branch of government by doing it alone, through executive orders, if they did not do as he wished and in a timely fashion. Such is unprecedented and totally unconstitutional. Today, through the perversion of the executive order process, presidents makes half as many laws (decrees if you prefer) as does the Legislative Branch—about three a week. The practice is killing liberty and making Congress irrelevant.
President Obama told the United Nations General Assembly on September 24 2014, “On issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule-book written for a different century,” presumably referencing the U.S. Constitution. The obvious dig on being restricted to a document “written for a different century,” shows a definite lack of respect for the Constitution that he swore by oath to “preserve, protect and defend” (Article 11, Section 1). Ironically the Constitution is designed to harness presidents just like him, and his predecessor George W. Bush, but it will never work if the party in power runs interference for their own constitutional abuser.
Taking over Congress’s law making function in Obama’s case is intentional. He must know that it is based upon human nature and natural law, which do not change from century to century. Man and governments are still beset by the same sins as expressed in all ages. There will always be those that wish to rule over others. Government will always attempt to grow its power. There will always need to be a list of the things governments can do and they will always need to be harnessed to that list. There will always need to be a division of power. And there will always be those who wish to use the force of government to redistribute the wealth so that they can, in effect, purchase elections by “gifting” voters. The magic of the Constitution is that it, outside defense, does not distribute benefits to anyone.
These are the reasons that it is said to be outdated by those who wish to take from us our liberties. President Obama’s problem with the Constitution is that it designedly restricts him from doing whatever he pleases and thus his belittling and embarrassing comment about it before the world. The “rule book written in a different century” is still as relevant as before. What we need today are presidents and legislators that love and use it as first consideration instead of party. In this quest we are embarrassingly in short supply in both political parties.
Noticeably absent this time in protecting the Constitution, with respect to the 200-plus year process of making law, is the Democratic Party. Some even defend him. To my many friends therein, don’t you realize that by letting your party distort this process to get a gain that you face a Republican president unilaterally doing the same thing to you down the road using the same arguments that you now use to protect Obama? Can’t you see that the rule of law was to protect all of us and that the Constitution must remain pure or one day neither party will have it? The Constitution must be above party. This is why all elected officials swear an oath to protect and preserve it.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution.