HOUSTON, December 13, 2013 — On December 3, 2013, the Committee on the Judiciary in the House of Representatives held a hearing with the subject, “The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws.” One of the individuals who appeared before the Committee was George Washington University Law Professor, Johnathan Turley.
Turley has admitted to voting for Obama and is generally very supportive of his liberal agenda. This makes his remarks, both in his written testimony and in his spoken testimony, that much more poignant.
Many previous presidents have abused executive authority as well, but according to Turley, Obama has transformed the executive into “what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. The ‘Take Care Clause’ of Article II of the Constitution explicitly defines the President’s role in executing and administering the laws of the land, and it is one of the clearest and most direct clauses in the entire document. It states, ‘[The President] shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.’”
The Founders intentionally included an obvious differentiation between making laws and executing them. English kings had for centuries claimed the authority to “suspend” or alter laws based on their divine judgment, and the Founders knew that the greatest threat to freedom and liberty they had experienced was an all-powerful executive.
An all-powerful executive is what Obama has become and also what Turley was referring to when he stated that Obama “has become the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid.”
Obama disgraces America and the Constitution each and every time he states that, “if Congress will not act on this, I will.” He has said so in regard to gun control, climate change, unemployment insurance, the debt limit, and numerous other legislative priorities. Like a good fascist disciple of Saul Alinsky however, the ends are irrelevant as long as he achieves his progressive goals of weakening the United States and furthering the destruction of America’s constitutional structure.
There are three egregious ways that Obama has violated and disregarded the Constitution, the first of which is referred to as a “Non-Defense Order.” This occurs when a president refuses to defend a law in court.
Obama, right before the 2012 election and after he finished “evolving” on gay marriage, decided he was no longer going to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. He cited no legal reason for this decision. According to Turley’s written testimony, a study showed that no president in the last 40 years has ever signed a non-defense order.
This is one of the most egregious constitutional violations in history.
The second kind of constitutional violation is when a president uses a signing statement to instruct agencies how to interpret and sometimes even administer the law. A signing statement is added to a bill when the President signs it and is not supposed to hold the force of law. In effect, however, they often do.
Obama was very critical of George Bush for his use of signing statements. In fact, in May of 2008 at a campaign rally, then-Senator Obama said this: “This is part of the whole theory of George Bush - that he can make laws as he is going along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for ten years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. I am not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.”
While every previous president harking back to Jimmy Carter would use signing statements to direct agencies how to execute and interpret the law, Obama has maintained this practice in addition to directing agencies NOT to enforce a law or certain parts of laws. No other president in history has claimed this authority.
The final method Obama uses to avoid constitutional restraints on his authority are non-enforcement orders. These have been used throughout history when a President refuses to enforce a law that he does not believe to be constitutional. Turley explained how Obama has greatly extended the usage of these orders: “Obama’s main problem is that he does not refuse to enforce laws because he believes them to be unconstitutional. He has invoked a far broader authority to tailor laws based on his individual judgment and discretion.” This is unprecedented in the history of America.
The examples cited by Prof. Turley are numerous, but the most egregious in his mind involve Obamacare and immigration. Concerning Obamacare, Obama has unilaterally changed the date the employer mandate will kick in, and also forced insurance companies to offer old plans that were canceled for people with pre-existing conditions.
In regard to immigration, In June of 2012 Obama issued an order to agencies directing them not to deport individuals who came to this country illegally as children despite the fact that the federal law, which has been rendered constitutional by the Supreme Court, mandates them to do so. Additionally, in August of 2013 Obama announced that he would no longer deport anyone who is the parent, guardian or “primary provider” for a child who is a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident.
Prof. Turley explained that these non-enforcement policies of Obama’s “add a particularly menacing element to this pattern. They effectively reduce the legislative process to a series of options for presidential selection ranging from negation to full enforcement.”
This is a very dangerous path Obama has taken us down and Americans of every political persuasion should be very concerned. With the precedents that Obama has set, there is nothing stopping a Republican president from unilaterally suspending Obamacare (or any other progressive priority).
If House Speaker John Boehner continues allowing Obama to disregard and disrespect all constitutional restraints, the American constitutional structure will crumble. When the people realize that the elites can pick and choose which laws they would like to follow, it is only a short time before the people decide they won’t follow laws that they don’t like either.
House Speaker John Boehner should recall the words of Edmund Burke when Burke said that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
If John Boehner does not use his power to put a halt to this constutional crisis, history will forever remember him as the feckless, weakling who allowed the imperial fascist president to achieve his “fundamental transformation” of what once was the greatest country the world had ever known.
President Obama is a tyrant. He has violated and disregarded the Constitution and the rule of law to a degree that no other president that came before him could imagine.
Obama treats the Constitution and laws passed by Congress as merely advisory. If he unilaterally decides that new immigration policies are needed or that it would benefit him politically to suspend part of Obamacare, he will do just that.
The precedents Obama has set, in dictating by presidential fiat what laws will and will not be implemented has, as Obama had hoped, forever “fundamentally transform(ed)” this country.
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