We’ve always known Obama fancies himself a monarch and thus not subject to living within the constitutional limits of presidential power, but what’s most interesting about this piece is that it’s from the Politico, hardly a bastion of right-wing conservatism:
Rather than pushing new laws through a divided Congress to enact his agenda, Obama is relying on federal agencies to ignore, or at least not defend, laws that some of his important supporters –like Hispanic voters and the gay community — don’t like.
“If the president says we’re not going to enforce the law, there’s really nothing anyone can do about it,” University of Pennsylvania constitutional law professor Kermit Roosevelt said. “It’s clearly a political calculation.”
A White House official said the strategy is the result of a stalemate in Washington.
“We we work to achieve our policy goals in the most effective and appropriate way possible,” the official said. “Often times Congress has blocked efforts (ie [No Child Left Behind] and DREAM) and we look to pursue other appropriate means of achieving our policy goals. Sometimes this makes for less than ideal policy situations – such as the action we took on immigration – but the president isn’t going to be stonewalled by politics, he will pursue whatever means available to do business on behalf of American people.”
Obama, the Politico notes, has never felt constrained by the constitution, even in the very beginning of his term when both houses of Congress were controlled with supermajorities by his own party:
The tactic has its start in the earliest days of the administration. In October 2009, the DOJ announced it would not prosecute medical marijuana users or suppliers in states where it’s legal, despite the state laws contradicting federal law. Federal law generally trumps state law in such matters.
Jonathan Turley, a noted liberal CNN commentator and big supporter of Obama is concerned with this naked power grab, pointing out that even Richard Nixon, the Left’s all-purpose bogeyman and poster boy for executive abuse of power, wouldn’t have dreamed of going this far:
“The president is using executive power to do things Congress has refused to do, and that does fit a disturbing pattern of expansion of executive power under President Obama,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law scholar at George Washington University Law School known for his support of progressive causes as well as his ire at Obama for not prosecuting Bush officials in connection with alleged torture of terror suspects.
“In many ways, President Obama has fulfilled the dream of an imperial presidency that Richard Nixon strived for. On everything from (the Defense of Marriage Act) to the gaming laws, this is a president who is now functioning as a super legislator. He is effectively negating parts of the criminal code because he disagrees with them. That does go beyond the pale.”
It sure does. Several cited in the article wonder about what precedent this will set. For example, can a future Republican President simply refuse to enforce ObamaCare because he deems it ”the right thing to do”, which was Obama’s reasoning for illegally enacting the DREAM Act by executive fiat yesterday?
Roosevelt, like Eastman and Turley, worries that the Obama approach will give a future president the license “to decide we’re not going to prosecute insider trading or enforce EPA regulations. They could do that.”
And while giddy liberals on Friday marveled at Obama’s brazen craftiness, legal experts say supporters might feel a lot differently if the tactic becomes an enduring precedent.
“Say a Republican were to follow this strategy after regaining the White House in January of 2013 and the Supreme Court upholds the health care bill and Romney can’t repeal it because the Democrats in the Senate filibuster it, he could basically repeal it through non-enforcement,” said Eastman.
I believe that immediately converting Social Security for our young people from a non-funded, defined benefit Ponzi scheme to a defined contribution system is ”the right thing to do” as well since that’s the only way the system can survive, but shouldn’t that be a joint decision between our executive and legislative branches as outlined in the constitution? Where’s the legitimacy if it’s not? When did we become a monarchy in which one guy, Obama, is imbued with the power to dictate what is or isn’t “the right thing to do”, either personally or through his numerous czars? If Obama’s actions are allowed to stand, won’t the U.S Congress effectively become nothing more than a raucous group of self-important windbags with zero actual power … kind of like the UK’s House of Lords?
This can’t be allowed to stand. The precedent it sets will destroy our system of checks and balances forever. This is a dangerous and slippery slope with no clear way to put the genie back in the bottle. The Politico is essentially an extension of the Obama campaign, yet even they can see that we’re playing with fire here. Let’s hope Congress does too. I have my doubts. They seem far too preoccupied with not offending a particular demographic than upholding our nations’s constitution.