Opinion

Obama’s constitutional crisis creeping closer

Some government violations are so monstrous that we can’t just sigh and move on.

Remember the string of serious constitutional violations committed by Hugo Chavez on his way to supreme dictatorship in Venezuela?

Here in America, one small constitutional violation makes it easier to commit the next one. We live today in a world of real threats and false threats. The false ones are conjured up by the Chicken Littles, who run to tell the world the sky is falling when some little acorn drops on their heads. But some of the real threats to freedom are perpetrated by no less than America’s president.

Obama ripping the ConstitutionAmerica has a Constitution that tells us how federal laws are to be enacted. When a problem arises, hearings are held, a solution is crafted following deliberations, new provisions are debated and ratified by Congress, then sent to the president for signature. The Constitution forbids the president from changing laws on his own. His job as chief of the executive branch is to “execute” laws that Congress passes; he cannot ignore or suspend such laws, and he cannot create his own. No president can unilaterally rewrite congressional laws, such as Barack Obama did when suspending the Affordable Care Act and changing its mandates. It’s always been this way because the Founders designed the legislative branch to be closest to the people, to enact laws, with the president in charge of faithfully enforcing them.

This is serious and disturbing stuff, broaching crisis mode because patterns have developed in which the current president, bypassing Congress, issues “executive orders” that have the full force of law. Obama’s hard-left agenda has resulted in him treating Congress, and the Constitution, as trivial inconveniences. Examples abound:

When he couldn’t obtain congressional consent, Obama ordered the EPA to write regulations imposing onerous CO2 emission requirements on business.

A U.S. Court of Appeals judicial order found that Obama’s executive branch broke the law when it refused a congressional mandate to fund the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Yucca Mountain program.

In June 2012, the administration stopped deportation proceedings against 800,000 illegal immigrants, by suspending compliance with congressional statutes.

Earlier that year, Obama granted selective waivers and tossed out congressional requirements for how states comply with the No Child Left Behind Act, and rewrote different requirements.

Obama decided the Defense of Marriage Act was a law that did not merit actual enforcement.

Obama appointed 38 “special advisers” to the president, referred to as “czars” by some, without Senate confirmation.

Obama named two recess appointments to his pro-union National Labor Relations Board, but a federal appeals court ruled they were unconstitutional and the board lacked a quorum to make rulings. But Obama allowed the board to go rogue by defying the court and continuing to turn out decisions.

Recently, Obama’s Justice Department “all but ordered U.S. attorneys nationwide not to enforce federal marijuana laws,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

obama executive orderObama has issued 163 executive orders so far. While not an unusually large number of orders, the nature of his directives is unusual because many have exceeded executive branch authority. Such orders are supposed to be limited to managing administrative and internal matters. Evidence is overwhelming that Obama’s use of these orders to circumvent balance of powers is designed to give him power at the expense of the legislative branch.

Obama cannot routinely dispense with laws or parts of laws, and alter others, simply because he disagrees with them “because of policy objections,” a federal judge wrote. The president is forbidden to take such actions for mere policy reasons, but that’s Obama’s usual defense.

Our nation is a country built on the rule of law, making us a nation of laws, not men.

No president can refuse to enforce laws passed by Congress. The laws are not optional suggestions by Congress. Selective enforcement has become an administration habit. What’s next for this imperial presidency’s pattern of lawlessness? Perhaps some morning in the future, the news headline will be: “Obama sends executive order to Congress: Your services are no longer needed.”

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John R. Smith

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