“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Barak H. Obama, Jan 20, 2009
When I hear the words that the President speaks at his swearing in ceremony I get goosebumps. It doesn’t matter if it is in a movie or real life, if it is a Republican or a Democrat (even Barak Obama), the words are so simple and yet so powerful. To “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. Amazingly simple. But what does that really mean.
When most people think of the Constitution, they think of the Bill of Rights, but there is much more to the Constitution than those 475 words. Actually there are 4447 words in the Constitution and it covers much more than the Bill of Rights. It defines the separation of powers and the checks and balances that are one of the defining characteristics of our country.
There is one particular passage, 10 simple words that is the topic today.
“He (the president) shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” US Constitution, Article II Section 3
I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but these 10 words are simply stating that the President is responsible for enforcing the laws, not for writing them but enforcing them. He’s the sheriff and is supposed to make sure that all of the laws are obeyed equally. And yet time and again this President has chosen to ignore or change laws as passed by Congress simply because he doesn’t agree or they are inconvenient. A small sampling includes:
ObamaCare (sorry the Affordable Care Act)
Delay of the employer mandate for 1 year
Delay of the income and health status verification requirements for 1 year
Delay of out of pocket caps for 1 year
Subsidy of Congressional Staffers Health Insurance Exchange Purchases
Providing Subsidies in Federal Exchanges
Non Deportation of illegal immigrants under the age of 30
Non defense of DOMA
Non prosecution of medical marijuana users or suppliers in states where it has been legalized
Non prosecution of marijuana users in states where it has been legalized.
10 state waivers for No Child Left Behind
NLRB Recess Appointments – Two appeals courts have ruled that the appointments are unconstitutional and yet the board continues to make rulings.
Ignoring Egypts Coup and maintaining foreign aid.
I could go expand on each one of these, but it’s really the totality of the actions and the flaunting of the constitution that is the issue. You could nit pick and say that DOMA was eventually struck down or that the employer mandate was just delayed for a year, but the question that I want to ask is where is Congress in all of this?
President Obama explains his actions this way…
“In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law … it looks like there may be some better ways to do this, let’s make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. But we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to Obamacare.”
The President of the United States is essentially usurping Congress’s power to make laws by picking and choosing which laws he wants to enforce and for the most part Congress is silent on this. Occasionally you will hear a Republican say something but you should be hearing it from both sides of the aisle.
One of the things that has made this country great is the checks and balances built into the constitution, each branch recognizing and defending their roll in governing this nation and standing up and defending their power when another branch tried to overstep their bounds. Members of Congress used to recognize that their branch had certain powers and would stand up to any President of any party to defend their roll. They were members of congress first and members of a party second. That all seems to have changed. Democrats line up in lock step with the President as he strips them of their power.
What happens when the shoe is on the other foot? What happens when there is a Republican president. History shows that power once given away is hard to take back.
Tuesday was National Constitution Day and it’s time that we defend the constitution. I believe that standing up for the separation of powers is more important to this country than standing with your party. What do you think?