President Barack Obama’s curriculum vitae includes a twelve-year stint as a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. Given this experience, one would think that he would be an ardent defender of the Constitution and its tenets. Instead, his recent actions demonstrate a complete disregard for not only the Constitution but also for the three branches of government stipulated in it: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. President Obama appears to have difficulty confining his actions and public communications to the Executive Branch. He seems to think that since he is President, he can also assume the role of legislator or judge if a particular issue strikes his fancy. And of course, a November Saturday Night Live episode immortalized Obama’s constitutional over-reach with his executive order which promised amnesty to over 4.5 million illegal aliens, by resurrecting School House Rock from the Saturday morning cartoon vault of the 1970’s. In this now famous episode, Obama sends a bill careening down the Capital Hill steps while an “executive order” sits back and enjoys a cigarette. Well apparently, Obama’s executive order is no laughing matter for U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab of Pennsylvania who last week declared Obama’s immigration actions as “invalid actions which effectively count as legislation from the Executive Branch.” Additionally, over the last few weeks, twenty-four states have joined together to sue the President for implementing the immigration executive order.
Obama’s executive over-reach is not limited to the immigration executive order. After surviving a Constitutionality test close to two years ago, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is being challenged once again in the Supreme Court with a lawsuit focusing on the federal subsidies which help millions of Americans buy health insurance. In “King vs. Burwell”, the challengers claim that the Affordable Care Act only allows for subsidies on state-run exchanges and that the regulation as implemented by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “providing subsidies on state-run exchanges in additional to federal exchanges exceeded the authority Congress granted to it.” If the challenge succeeds, close to five million people who are on the federal exchanges will lose their state subsidies and in many cases their ability to afford Obamacare.
President Obama also has difficulty staying out of the Judicial Branch. He demonstrated this repeatedly throughout the recent Michael Brown and Eric Garner “wrongful death” cases. Instead of letting local law enforcement do their jobs, he kept inserting himself personally into the situation. He repeatedly conveyed through his public statements and actions, his inability to demonstrate objectivity in a case involving individuals of color. His public statements preceding and following each case’s ruling demonstrated an utter disregard for the judicial process. While his public comments gave lip service to accepting the rulings of no-indictment for Officer Wilson in the Brown case and Officer Pantaleo in the Garner case, his additional comments where he called for greater training for police officers and the formation of community groups to address race relations show his unspoken disagreement with the rulings. And it was this antipolice rhetoric that added fuel to an already sizzling fire which coupled with similar public statements from Attorney General Eric Holder and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio led to the December 20th tragic shooting of two New York City police officers.
Obama’s constitutional over-reach is continuing with his two most recent key post nominees. Vivek Murthy, who was just confirmed as U.S. Surgeon General is clearly a partisan choice. Individuals in government and the medical profession have come forward and stated that the thirty-six year old Murthy lacks sufficient experience and gravitas to be Surgeon General. In addition, Dr. Murthy, an Obamacare proponent, had also co-founded the pro-Obama political group Doctors for America and had publicly advocated for gun control as a “public health measure”. Obama’s nominee for Director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Sarah Saldaña has come out publically in her written statements in support of Obama’s immigration executive action. So, where are the checks and balances when Obama just keeps recruiting more “yes” people?
Perhaps, Saturday Night Live really did get it right. Instead of working with legislators and judges, President Obama is pushing our Constitution down the stairs. After all he has already issued 195 executive orders. And if that wasn’t enough, he also issued 198 presidential memoranda (the new euphemism for executive order). Even Cuban President, Dictator Raul Castro suggested that President Obama use “executive order” to open relations with Cuba. Apparently, “it takes a constitutional scholar” with a “pen and a phone” to undermine the Democracy which our founding fathers fought so hard to establish.
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