Commentary by James Shott
governmental system of the United States of America was carefully
designed to prevent the sort of oppression that the colonists had fought
and died to escape in the Revolutionary War from arising under the new
government. The Framers reacted to an intolerable system where the
people were totally at the mercy of the king and the parliament, without
a real voice of their own.
Toward that end, the Framers created a
tri-partite government with a legislative branch, an executive branch
and a judicial branch, each with its specific and limited powers, and
each with abilities to limit the power of the other two branches through
a system of checks and balances.
In this system, the Congress,
and only the Congress, makes law. The executive branch is charged with
implementing and enforcing the laws that Congress makes and with
operating the government efficiently. The judiciary, through the Supreme
Court and other federal courts, has the sole power to interpret the
law, determine the constitutionality of laws, and apply the law to
This system of government is by design
inefficient, with separated powers and checks and balances to prevent a
tyrannical majority from running roughshod over the minority.
even this well-thought-out system isn’t perfect, and the Democrat Party
demonstrated that in 2009 and early 2010 when the 111th Congress with
Democrat majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate
passed the Affordable Care Act with no Republican input in the bill’s
creation, and no Republicans voting for it, and a Democrat president
signed it into law.
It seemed not to bother the Democrats that by
their action they had thwarted the integrity of the constitutional
system the Framers had so diligently and prudently created, despite
their having sworn an oath to uphold it. To the contrary, they
celebrated their dubious victory.
Add to that a president who
uses his position to take actions the Constitution does not authorize
him to take, and in fact specifically precludes him from taking by
granting exclusive law-making authority to the Congress. Congress, in
fact, or at least some members of Congress, seems content to allow the
president to do this, even though by him taking these actions and by
Congress allowing it, the executive branch renders the legislative
branch a purposeless relic.
Article II, Section 1 of the U.S.
Constitution begins: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President
of the United States of America.”
And from the horses mouth, so
to speak, whitehouse.gov proclaims: “The power of the Executive Branch
is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head
of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is
responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress
The president’s job is to implement and enforce laws. He is
not authorized to unilaterally decide which laws to enforce, or to
change the provisions of laws. Congress makes laws and amends laws.
the president has latitude and flexibility in operating the government,
any action he takes contrary to written law or constitutional intent
may be challenged as unconstitutional.
Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, writing in Commentary
magazine online, comments: “Examples include (but are not limited to)
unilaterally delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s
employer mandate, issuing health-care edicts that undermine the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act, making unconstitutional ‘recess
appointments’ to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau, refusing to enforce current immigration
laws related to illegal immigrants who were brought to America as
children, and waving welfare work requirements.”
“I suppose the
temptation to act as a potentate is understandable; but it also happens
to be illegal. The president, after all, has the constitutional duty to
“’take care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’” Mr. Wehner added,
referencing Article 2, Section 3.
Since Congressional Democrats
seem to subscribe to the “ends justifies the means” school of thought,
they are perfectly content with the president’s lawlessness, and the
media has done a good job of demonizing Republicans for opposing that
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), notes that the
House has passed 356 bills that have piled up on Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) desk awaiting Senate action. She told TheBlaze
that 98 percent of those bills were passed with bipartisan support. Two
hundred of them were passed with unanimous support from the entire House
chamber and more than 100 were passed with 75 percent support of House
Democrats. Yet the Democrat controlled Senate ignores them.
before the government shutdown, House Republicans passed bills to avoid
the shutdown that the Senate never acted on by, and there was no effort
at compromise. And still the media, the president, and Democrats in
Congress keep telling us that Republicans aren’t doing anything.
Democrats in Congress won’t stand up to the president’s over-reaching,
honor their oath of office and protect Congress’ constitutional
authority, and continue to oppose legal action and impeachment, by their
inaction they will have abetted the evolution of an imperial
presidency, returning to United States the tyranny that existed before
Cross-posted from Observations