No Explicit Constitutional Provision Or Statute Permitting Presidential Executive Orders
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Richard M. Nixon was a shrinking violet compared to His Royal Majesty Barack Hussein Obama. Talk about an Imperial presidency -- an imperial President? One need look no farther than the current occupant of the Oval Office.
America is about to see "Obama unleashed."
Everything we conservative commentators warned America would happen in an Obama second term is about to transpire. Four years from this month, America will be difficult to recognize. There is even the possibility that America will not exist four years hence. We hear reports fairly often that a few states are actively investigating leaving the union.
Look up Imperial Presidency in a dictionary and you will probably find Mr. Obama's photo embedded within the definition.
For those of you not familiar with the term imperial presidency, allow me to offer some background:
Imperial Presidency is a term that became popular in the 1960s and that served as the title of a 1973 volume by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. to describe the modern presidency of the United States. The author wrote The Imperial Presidency out of two concerns; first that the US Presidency was out of control and second that the Presidency had exceeded the constitutional limits.
Please note the last line of the paragraph above: "The author wrote The Imperial Presidency out of two concerns; first that the US Presidency was out of control and second that the Presidency had exceeded the constitutional limits." Does that describe any current President of the US that, you know, might spring to mind?
"One definition of "imperial" on dictionary.com is "of the nature or rank of an emperor or supreme ruler."
"At his news conference Monday, a petulant, threatening and confrontational President Obama spoke like an emperor or supreme ruler. All that was missing was a scepter, a crown and a robe trimmed in ermine." Thus wrote Cal Thomas at in a column at The Washington Examiner which you will find here: http://washingtonexaminer.com/obamas-imperial-presidency/article/2518775#.UPiWy_J0jTg
Thomas goes on to say: "President Obama will not negotiate about raising the debt ceiling? Not surprising. Imperial leaders don't negotiate." SOURCE: http://washingtonexaminer.com/obamas-imperial-presidency/article/2518775#.UPiWy_J0jTg
"In so many situations, Mr. Obama's stated rationale for action has been the same: We tried working with Congress but it didn't pan out—so we did what we had to do. This is not only admission that the president has subverted the legislative branch, but a revealing insight into Mr. Obama's view of his own importance and authority.
... Mr. Obama came to office promising to deliver a new kind of politics. He did—his own, unilateral governance." -- Kim Strassel -- The Wall Street Journal Online -- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304141204577506881495497626.html
Matthew Spalding, Vice President for American Studies and Director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation, wrote about the imperial presidency in June:
" We can now see before us a persistent pattern of disregard for the powers of the legislative branch in favor of administrative decision-making without—and often in spite of—congressional action. This violates the spirit—and potentially the letter—of the Constitution’s separation of the legislative and executive powers of Congress and the President." SOURCE: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/24/morning-bell-obamas-imperial-presidency-part-ii/
"It is critical that Americans understand the Obama Administration’s mode of operation. The law has not stood in its way. Congress has not stood in its way. It seems to recognize no authority but its own." SOURCE: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/24/morning-bell-obamas-imperial-presidency-part-ii/
On a recent Fox News Channel report Mark Levin said the following: “He was elected president. Congratulations. This guy makes Richard Nixon look like a man who followed the law all the time. I think we have an imperial president. He sounds imperial, he’s arrogant as hell and I’m furious about this.” SOURCE: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/mark-levin-goes-off-on-tyranny-under-obamas-imperial-presidency-to-foxs-megyn-kelly/
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, speaking on Laura Ingraham's radio talk show recently said of Obama: "He is feeling right now high on his own power, and he is pushing on every front, on guns ... ." Cruz continued: "I think he's going to pay a serious political price, and I think the price that's going to be paid on this is going to manifest in Senate races in 2014 ... ."
America, we have a problem! A really BIG problem! If Mr. Obama doesn't slack-off his monumental power grab we are in for a constitutional crisis.
Look. The Founders of this nation understood that every time a law is passed by the government, the people lose more freedom. They deliberately made passing laws very difficult. We often have gridlock. Gridlock simply proves the system is working as designed. It's not sexy. It's not pretty, but it IS the way our government is supposed to work.
When a president, any president, takes matters into his own hands, no matter the motive, and orders laws into existence, it is unconstitutional. It removes the people's voice. There is no representation of the people in the making of that law. THAT'S NOT the way constitutional government in America is supposed to work.
Executive orders were intended to assist officers and agencies of the executive branch manage their operations within the federal government itself. They were never intended to be laws, or decrees, handed down from the Office of the President.
Executive orders, as perceived today, have the full force of law. But do they, really? And where, exactly does the President get the authority to issue such orders?
You may be surprised to learn that there is no constitutional provision or statute that explicitly permits executive orders.
There is a vague grant of "executive power" given in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution, and furthered by the declaration "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" made in Article II, Section 3, Clause 5. Most executive orders use these Constitutional reasonings as the authorization allowing for their issuance to be justified as part of the President's sworn duties, the intent being to help direct officers of the U.S. Executive carry out their delegated duties as well as the normal operations of the federal government: the consequence of failing to comply possibly being the removal from office. -- SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order
Please note, as I mentioned above: "there is no constitutional provision or statute that explicitly permits executive orders."
No need to check the text of the constitution ... it simply is NOT there!
It seems to this ole country boy, that any executive order issued by ANY president that affects any American -- not in the direct employ of the executive branch and supervised directly by the President of the United States -- is, therefore, unconstitutional.
It would also seem to me that executive orders should be limited to supervising the tasks of executive departments and even then, only after the law triggering the EO has been passed by both houses of Congress an signed by the President.
Even more important, I believe, is the need to settle the dispute over the constitutional status of executive orders once and for all. If Americans decide that we wish to have Presidential executive orders the I would propose that an amendment to the constitution is called for. The amendment should spell out-- clearly-- what an executive order is and what, exactly, and who, exactly, it affects. There should be nothing vague about an amendment to the constitution.
There may, very well, be court challenges to one or more of the 23 executive orders Obama signed recently aimed at gun control. The timing is spot on to determine if the President actually has constitutional power to issue such orders, or not.
This is far too important an issue to allow a "vague" notion of power -- a "vague" interpretation of the constitution -- to affect the freedom of the people of America.
© J. D. Longstreet