The system works

President shouldn't try to evade Founders' checks and balances

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Barack Obama’s words have said one thing about his views on presidential power. His actions have said another.

As a presidential candidate, the former constitutional law professor decried President George W. Bush’s exercise of power.

“You don’t want a president who’s too powerful or a Congress who’s too powerful or a court that’s too powerful,” Obama said in 2008. Bush can either sign or veto legislation, Obama noted, but not interpret it however he likes. “That’s not part of his power.”

Obama called Bush’s actions “his effort to accumulate more power in the presidency. ... This is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he’s going along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States.”

An increasing number of observers and experts are concerned, however, that Mr. Obama is doing just what he said he would not do: bypassing Congress by executive order, and enforcing and ignoring laws as he sees fit (such as ignoring immigration, drug and marriage laws and unilaterally changing key aspects of the health-care law, including decreeing delays to such things as the employer mandate).

A panel of academic experts recently expressed alarm at a U.S. House hearing over Mr. Obama’s expansion of executive powers and Congress’s abrogation of its own.

“He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid,” Jonathan Turley, professor at George Washington University Law School, told Congress.

This isn’t about Mr. Obama particularly. Bush and Obama issued nearly the same number of executive orders in their first five years. And Turley noted that the troubling expansion of presidential power occurred under Mr. Bush as well. It no doubt has been building over multiple administrations.

All the more reason to believe we’re in uncharted waters.

“Is Barack Obama an imperial president?” asks a headline at the Christian Science Monitor.

If Mr. Obama has a shred of the respect for the Constitution he once proclaimed, he will stop threatening to bypass Congress even more, as he and his charges have been doing recently with a promised “year of action.”

“Where Congress isn’t acting, I’ll act on my own,” he said.

We’re frankly dumbfounded that a constitutional law lecturer could have such a dim view of the Constitution and its vital checks and balances. They are the very heart of our system of government. These checks and balances are there to protect the citizenry, as well as other branches of government, from one branch that gets so strong that it imposes its will on the others.

This system also requires presidents and members of Congress to build coalitions and consensus. That makes them better, and makes for better governance.

Nowhere in either the writing or design of the Constitution did our Founders express the notion that, where “Congress isn’t acting,” a president should act on his own. Quite the opposite.

Moreover, it’s quite possible that one man’s “not acting” is another man’s way of disagreeing with a proposed action. Unilateral action by a president is tantamount to banning disagreement with the chief executive.

We’re also nonplussed that a congressman or senator of either party would sit by and watch the legislative body’s role diminished so and its work product treated with such disregard and disdain.

The American government is designed beautifully to frustrate its top managers. It’s intended to be somewhat plodding – some would say “deliberative.” That’s not a weakness that gets in the way of one man getting his way; it’s a strength that gets in the way of one man getting his way.

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ymnbde
9556
Points
ymnbde 01/30/14 - 07:33 am
9
3
what will Scott Walker do with these new presidential powers?

Ted Cruz, maybe?
what could Reagan have done?
will a sweep of the pen do away with teachers unions?
will a sweep of the pen do away with the education department?
the National endowment for the "arts" department?
national public radio and tv?
O has given the baby the hammer, let us see what he breaks
a knowledge of history shows us already, doesn't it?
everything
(people are smarter than governments)

carcraft
25196
Points
carcraft 01/30/14 - 08:13 am
11
3
Well no end to the turning of

Well no end to the turning of Obama and his philosophies! For Obama a philosophical position is nothing more than than a ballerina's toe point, a convenient place to pivot from! Obama was against raising the debt ceiling before he was for it. Obama was against attacking a nation we weren't at war with before he was for it. Ditto's

Rhetor
1000
Points
Rhetor 01/30/14 - 08:34 am
7
12
pretty silly

Obama has signed fewer executive orders than Bush had signed at a comparable point during his presidency. Give it a rest, guys, and enjoy the sunny day.

Bizkit
30703
Points
Bizkit 01/30/14 - 09:00 am
12
3
The number of orders isn't

The number of orders isn't the issue-it's when and what. "Give it a rest"-well tell the SCOTUS who are reviewing the when and what of his "recess appointments".

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 01/30/14 - 09:11 am
13
3
How many executive orders did
Unpublished

How many executive orders did Bush sign that were contrary to the very laws he pushed to get enacted? How many laws did Bush refuse to enforce. Why can't Obama's supporters suport him without trying to rationalize his actions compared to someone else?

Thug passion
53
Points
Thug passion 01/30/14 - 09:14 am
6
14
I got a pen to and I will use it.

We now have a commander in chief who has given up on the false, Republican - driven deficit hysteria and is determined to tackle income equality, the most urgent issue facing America. But all across the country, Americans are still falling behind, still deeply in debt, and still we watch as corporate CEOs rake in millions upon millions more while hardworking people struggle. Look, we already know that Republicans will do everything in their power to keep the economy working for the wealthy, both by trying to sabotage President Obama, and by courting the unlimited Wall Street money they depend on for re- election. President Obama planted a flag in the ground by raising the minimum wages of federal contract workers through executive order, and by calling for a substantial increase in the minimum wage for every one else. It's a great start, and long overdue.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 01/30/14 - 09:21 am
16
5
Just what has Obama, or any
Unpublished

Just what has Obama, or any of the Democrats done to make the poor any less poor. Please be specific. And for "income equality", give it a rest. As soon as we have ambition equality, and resourcefulness equality, and risk equality, then you will have the utopian income equality you wish for. Has it occurred to you that not all jobs have equal value and demand, or require equal skill? Do you tip your waitress so that she makes the same income as you?.....oh right.....liberals are only that generous with OTHER people's money.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 01/30/14 - 09:23 am
13
5
While you are at it, please
Unpublished

While you are at it, please explain how raising the minimum wage, and the cost of the goods that they buy will help the poor.

Bizkit
30703
Points
Bizkit 01/30/14 - 09:23 am
10
4
So we see Obama has been

So we see Obama has been lying, not just the last three years with the ACA, but he also lied about the speech “You don’t want a president who’s too powerful or a Congress who’s too powerful or a court that’s too powerful,” Obama said in 2008. Bush can either sign or veto legislation, Obama noted, but not interpret it however he likes. “That’s not part of his power.” Your right Obama we don't want a President who interprets laws however he likes.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 01/30/14 - 09:30 am
11
5
Bizkit....it appears there
Unpublished

Bizkit....it appears there are some among us who are all too happy to have a dictator who will make up the laws as he goes along. How else can you explain his support.

OJP
6418
Points
OJP 01/30/14 - 09:43 am
5
10
Executive orders only apply to executive agencies.

1. Congress gave the President authority over these agencies when it created them. If Congress thinks that authority should be curtailed, curtail it (override the veto).

2. Checks and balances mean all branches step on each others' toes. If the President's actions are legitimate exercises of his authority under Article II or a statute, Congress can't do much (again, checks and balances - Congress no more owns the President than vice versa).

3. If an executive order is beyond the scope of the President's power, sue and have the courts void it. Checks and balances.

EOs are not new and not unconstitutional per se. It's just Obama issuing them so now the GOP thinks they're the end of the world.

Do we have any AC editorials condemning prior uses of EOs (to verify this is genuine concern and not raw politics? Honest question.

GuyGene
1247
Points
GuyGene 01/30/14 - 09:53 am
4
2
A fail of our system?

Seems to me IF any president can actually get away using executive powers, the system is not working. So, what branch is responsible to make sure this executive power is not abused? Either it's not clear or it's not written in our law, or, there's incompetence by whoever is supposed to be the enforcer.

Bizkit
30703
Points
Bizkit 01/30/14 - 10:00 am
10
4
OJP that's fine but that

OJP that's fine but that isn't what Obama said in 2008.

nofanofobama
6809
Points
nofanofobama 01/30/14 - 10:09 am
10
3
income ineguality is a silly

income ineguality is a silly mis leading arguement...ist.. the economy is not static as any economist will tell you...if you look at it over 10-15 you will see mobility both ways...usually the longer you are in the workforce the more climb you enjoy..some dont...most do..those who are starting out like i did 40 years ago had little..but over the years i have steadly increased my wealth...2nd.since that snap shot was taken you would have to argue that the increase is on obumlers watch..is due to the feds buying of bond etc quey 3 each month...this has driven up the stock market...people with investment money are doing well...they are in the market..because of the feds..the economy still stinks for most americans there is no real growth because there is no real private investment...people are not investing in business or starting new business because of the anti-business attitudes and regulations of obumler...ie too much risk...without investment their is no new wealth..without wealth their is no real creation of good jobs ..and those with marketable skills cannot sell these skills to new job makers..there arent any...the upper mobility is harder now but not as bad as the dims would have you believe...get a real prez who loves our country and is not anti-business and mobility will start to improve

OJP
6418
Points
OJP 01/30/14 - 10:11 am
5
4
@Bizkit

That's a political matter, not a legal matter. The President (or a candidate) can't make them legal or not by proclamation.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 01/30/14 - 10:16 am
7
5
So a lying President is OK?
Unpublished

So a lying President is OK?

Bizkit
30703
Points
Bizkit 01/30/14 - 10:30 am
8
3
So OJP the president's SOTU

So OJP the president's SOTU was just a bunch of hot air. I thought as much-thanks for making that clear. He sure was "proclaiming" a lot.

OJP
6418
Points
OJP 01/30/14 - 11:06 am
4
5
@Bizkit

I think most SOTUs are political hot air. The President is not a king. He can't get up there and dictate what will and will not happen.

But whether or not EOs in general are constitutional is in no way affected by Senator Obama's position in 2008.

All they are are orders from the CEO regarding how certain agencies should operate (which is entirely within the President's authority as chief executive). They're not legislative declarations.

jimmymac
36955
Points
jimmymac 01/30/14 - 11:09 am
0
0
POND LIFE
Unpublished

You correctly nailed the silliness of Obama's income equality push. Have a kid as a teenager, quit school, have no job skills and then expects the same gains as someone who didn't. Now that's a solid portrait on an ignorant person. Obama would reward bad behavior at the expense of hard working taxpayers. He instead should be encouraging them to improve their own life and lift themselves up! No body is opposed to helping people when they're down but it's grating on people with the number of takers not willing to even try and help themselves.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 01/30/14 - 11:11 am
7
4
They are not within his
Unpublished

They are not within his authority when they violate current laws, such as enacting your own "dream act" by fiat.

Little Old Lady
5530
Points
Little Old Lady 01/30/14 - 11:21 am
8
3
Outcome equality

If some demand income equality others need to demand outcome equality. We certainly do not have it now.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 01/30/14 - 11:32 am
8
4
Income equality
Unpublished

Do you want to pay your burger flipper the same as your doctor? If so, why would anyone waste money going to medical school?

KSL
126363
Points
KSL 01/30/14 - 11:32 am
8
4
Notice that the defense of

Notice that the defense of obama is diminishing here. What can they say? He has done everything Bush did that they complained about to a greater degree!

harley_52
22989
Points
harley_52 01/30/14 - 11:48 am
5
4
"We’re also nonplussed....

....that a congressman or senator of either party would sit by and watch the legislative body’s role diminished so and its work product treated with such disregard and disdain."

I had to look up "nonplussed," and found that I had been it many times and never even knew it. Very perplexing.

Anyway....I have had the same concern for a long time. The problem is....what can a "congressman or senator of either party" actually do about it? It is very unlikely a legislative fix can be accomplished with the Senate in democrat hands and Harry Reid at the helm. A law suit may, or may not, work since the Courts have been hostile to suits by members of Congress suing the President concluding they lack cause, or standing in such actions. Nonetheless, I'd like to see them try it more often than they do. Actually, Senator Paul has recently sued NSA over its "spying" programs, so we can watch how that works.

It may be that an individual citizen who believes he/she has been harmed by one of the President's Executive Orders would be more successful at filing a law suit against the President, but he'd likely be out of office before it rose to the Supreme Court level, especially with Eric Holder making all the calls. I suspect that's one of the reasons Holder got the job in the first place.

corgimom
31207
Points
corgimom 01/30/14 - 12:09 pm
2
7
Presidential candidates will

Presidential candidates will say or do anything to get elected, why do people keep falling for those phony promises, and why does the ACES think that the promises are valid? They tell people what they want to hear.

OF COURSE they do things different when they are elected. It's all Presidents, not just one.

Is the ACES really that naïve?

corgimom
31207
Points
corgimom 01/30/14 - 12:14 pm
3
4
Nofan="people are not

Nofan="people are not investing in business or starting new business because of the anti-business attitudes and regulations of obumler...ie too much risk"

I disagree, they aren't investing because they can't borrow the money to do it. If people think that they will make a profit on their business, and make an acceptable ROR, they will start and invest in businesses.

We are in a recession, people aren't buying goods like they used to, and it's not because of "attitudes and regulations" that people aren't starting businesses. There will always be regulations, they aren't going away, ever.

It's popular to say that, but it's not true. There are regulations under every President.

Bizkit
30703
Points
Bizkit 01/30/14 - 12:17 pm
3
3
We aren't in a "recession".

We aren't in a "recession". The last was the "Great Recession" which lasted from Dec 2007 – June 2009.

carcraft
25196
Points
carcraft 01/30/14 - 12:26 pm
5
4
We're in a recession? Who

We're in a recession? Who knew? Obumbler thinks thinks things are great and said so. Federal regs and Obama care are slowing down the economy. Darden and others are doing 29 hour hires to avoid the health care fiasco that well hit next year when up to 60 million may lose their insurance. The coal industry is being shut down. Coal fired plants are being closed (2 in Georgia), out look for health insurance companies down graded. For the first time on generations Americans don't think their children well do as well or better than they did!

harley_52
22989
Points
harley_52 01/30/14 - 12:35 pm
4
2
"We aren't in a "recession"."

Really?

Says who?

nofanofobama
6809
Points
nofanofobama 01/30/14 - 12:46 pm
5
3
corigam***i was making the

corigam***i was making the arguement that people with money were investing in the markets not main street...ie business...you are right if they dont make a decent return on their investment they wont invest..which is why mainstreet is hurting..feds policy is helping the markets, thats were their money is going.. ..you seem to think all regulation are the same...epa can make a ruling on cafe standards, or more requirement on coal power plants etc...regulations are different in scope....the prez is the one who tells us of the success of his concerning the economy...however this adminstration is anti business except green and the regulations that are coming out hurt business..coupled with the deceit we all found and are finding in the ACA..which discourages business growth and employment..NO a prez even though he doesnt write legislation can hurt the enviroment for GDP growth..obumler hates the economic system that grew this country..

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