American Elephants


Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws by The Elephant's Child

The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on executive overreach. Members of Congress and constitutional law experts testified yesterday, warning that the legislative branch is in danger of ceding its power in the face of an “imperial presidency.”

The hearing, “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,” focused on the multiple areas  where President Barack Obama has bypassed Congress, ranging from healthcare and immigration to marriage and welfare rules.

Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, testified that the expansion of executive power is happening so fast that America is at a “constitutional tipping point.”

My view [is] that the president, has in fact, exceeded his authority in a way that is creating a destabilizing influence in a three branch system,” he said. “I want to emphasize, of course, this problem didn’t begin with President Obama, I was critical of his predecessor President Bush as well, but the rate at which executive power has been concentrated in our system is accelerating. And frankly, I am very alarmed by the implications of that aggregation of power.”

“What also alarms me, however, is that the two other branches appear not just simply passive, but inert in the face of this concentration of authority,” Turley said.

Jim Gerlach (R-PA) said “The ACA has been revised, altered and effectively rewritten by the president and his administration 23 times since July.”

Representative Tom Rice (R-SC) said, “When we have these constant changes at the president’s whim, think about what that does to businesses’ planning capabilities and hiring capabilities and their expansion capabilities. We shouldn’t wonder why our economy is struggling.”



This Really Covers It, Doesn’t It? by The Elephant's Child

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Obama Carries Arrogance to New Levels. by The Elephant's Child

Obama is getting testy.

In his recent interview with the New York Times. Mr, Obama said to Jackie Calmes:

“What I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security.

— but where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people.

And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. But there’s not an action that I take that you don’t have some folks in Congress who say that I’m usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don’t think that’s a secret. But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions — very few of them, but the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.”

The United States has a system of checks and balances, but Mr. Obama is apparently done with Congress. He’s going for the imperial model. Daniel Henninger has a brilliant column in the Wall Street Journal today, and observes that Mr. Obama is “rebalancing the system toward a national-leader model that is alien to the American tradition.” Obama will make the laws himself.

“Every president since George Washington has felt frustration with the American system’s impediments to change” Mr. Henninger says. “This president is done with Congress.” To accomplish his ends, Mr. Obama needs to lessen support for the other two branches of government — Congress and the Judiciary.

Take a closer look at the Galesburg and Jacksonville speeches. Mr. Obama doesn’t merely criticize Congress. He mocks it repeatedly. Washington “ignored” problems. It “made things worse.” It “manufactures” crises and “phony scandals.” He is persuading his audiences to set Congress aside and let him act.

Mr Obama has determined that he will not enforce the laws that he doesn’t like. He has unilaterally decided to delay the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act, though there is no provision in the law allowing the president to suspend, delay or repeal it. Democrats may go along with his aggressive assertions of executive power, but allowing a president to refuse to enforce statutes passed by Congress changes the nature of our government.

Democrats argue that Congress is gridlocked, and they are, but that is because the people are gridlocked. The Congress represents the people of the United States, and Mr. Obama’s contempt for Congress betrays a contempt for the American people.

So too the judiciary. During his 2010 State of the Union speech, Mr. Obama denounced the Supreme Court Justices in front of him. The National Labor Relations Board has continued to issue orders despite two federal court rulings forbidding it to do so. Attorney General Eric Holder says he will use a different section of the Voting Rights Act to impose requirements on Southern states that the Supreme Court ruled illegal. Mr. Obama’s repeated flouting of the judiciary and its decisions are undermining its institutional authority, as intended.

There are not many means to stop a president who decides that he is above the law and can do as he pleases with no checks and balances. Presidents swear to protect and defend the Constitution, but if you have a President to whom oaths are meaningless, and the Constitution is an old tired document that needs to be changed — we’re in trouble. The people need to speak out.

 



This Imperial President Is Above Mere Laws by The Elephant's Child

The White House seems to have an odd relationship with the separation of powers. The 2010 mid-term election when Republicans took over control of the House of Representatives was a sharp rebuke to the administration and congressional Democrats. Rather than understand that as a call for more cooperation and bipartisanship, Obama saw it as a sign that he should just go around Congress, accomplishing his goals by executive orders and agency regulation.

The Friday night news dump showed that Obama had exceeded his own guidelines. He decided that he would ignore the restrictions of Congress’s Palestinian Accountability Act with a “waiver.” He made the decision to pour American taxpayer dollars —$192 million — into the coffers of the Palestinian Authority despite its being illegal. This was first printed in the foreign press (AFP), where many of the more interesting things about this administration first appear.

Congress mandated that no funds may be made available to the Palestinian Authority until it ends its terrorist activities and an independent audit is conducted of its finances. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said it would ensure “the continued viability of the moderate PA government.” This is the same moderate government which has tried to form a pact with Hamas. He added that “the PA had fulfilled all its major obligations, such as recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence and accepting the Road Map for Peace.”

In the real world, the PA is not only not moderate, but has reneged on all its commitments. The whole thing is a blatant  lie.

Obama’s thinks of himself as an imperial president, above mere laws. His rant against the Supreme Court in the wake of the ObamaCare hearing was a disgrace. The Supreme Court is a fully equal branch of the government to the executive branch, and they decide what is Constitutional — not the president, who was a part-time lecturer on the 15th Amendment at the University of Chicago —not a professor of Constitutional Law.

Obama instructed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to inform Congress of the move, on the grounds that “waiving such prohibition is important to the national security interests of the United States.” Embarrassing.

Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy suggests that Congress should slash the executive branch’s budget— perhaps with a treble damages rule. Will they do it? remains to be seen, but unless they respond definitively, the imperial presidency will continue. Obama doesn’t think anyone will dare to do so.

 




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