J. D. Heyes
December 14, 2013
President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid don’t have much respect or use for the Constitution. That much is made plain by their actions.
The Senate leader recently ditched a couple centuries’ worth of tradition by scuttling the chamber’s filibuster rules – rules which help protect the minority party and the constituents that they represent – so that he and Obama can fill the D.C. Circuit Court, the nation’s second most important, with a bunch of liberal jurists.
Obama, as president, however, wields much more power – and as such, the potential for much more abuse and tyranny. That observation was recently made by legitimate constitutional scholars during a testimony before a House panel examining Obama’s recent and past abuses of power.
Their analysis: Obama’s leading the country into some very dangerous waters, politically, and worse, his actions could have long-term adverse effects on our system of government.
‘Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government’
Michael Cannon, the director of health policies at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, was called to provide testimony regarding Obama’s legal behavior regarding the manner in which the president has chosen to selectively enforce provisions of his signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). What he said was ominous.
“There is one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restrains that the constitution places on the government,” Cannon said. “Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.”
“That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate,” he continued. “If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.”
Concluding, Cannon said: “That is a very dangerous sort of thing for the president to do, to wantonly ignore the laws to try to impose obligation upon people that the legislature did not approve.”
He wasn’t the only scholar to show serious concern not only for Obama’s unconstitutional behavior but also for the manner in which said behavior was making Congress irrelevant.
During an exchange with Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, a liberal, essentially said that the role of the Executive Branch has evolved far beyond the constitutional limits established by our founders, to a point where the presidency, for all intents and purposes, has become imperious:
Goodlatte: Professor Turley, the constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It’s about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president’s unilateral modification of acts of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?
Turley: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch.
This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one, but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There’s two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress. One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are now quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.
Obama knows what he’s doing – which makes him doubly dangerous
Turley then added this:
The great concern I have for this body [Congress] is that it is not only being circumvented, but it is also being denied the ability to enforce its inherent powers. … [T]he president is outside the line, but it has to go before a court, and a court has to grant review, and that’s where we have the most serious constitutional crisis I have viewed in my lifetime. And that is, this body is becoming less and less relevant.
Obama knows he sits in the Oval Office with a Democratic, impeachment-proof majority in the Senate. He knows that federal courts have been notoriously hesitant to challenge or curb executive privilege. He knows, in essence, that for now, at least, he is liable to get away with whatever it is he wants to do.
But what is worse than anything is that neither he nor Reid care what their actions are doing to the country and our founding system.
This article was posted: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 5:57 am