Leadership: President Obama’s approval numbers are now hitting record lows, yet his critics are often written off as simple-minded “Obama haters.” It doesn’t wash. The problem is a pattern of presidential lawlessness.
Last time we checked, the Constitution requires the president to “faithfully execute the law.” That’s no editorial opinion, but Article 2, Section 3, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that “(The President) shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
Our founders conceived and established in that document three co-equal branches of government to preserve our individual liberty and restrain the unlimited power of government. But this president and his administration have routinely ignored the divisions of power between the presidency, the Congress and its legislation, and the Supreme Court and its rulings.
Constitutionally, the president has the authority to check the legislative branch by recommending legislation to be passed by Congress or through the presidential veto. But he cannot legislate through executive fiat and he can’t pick and choose which parts of the law he will comply with or decline. Nor can he defy judicial rulings from the highest court in the land.
But that’s what he’s done. In just the latest example, President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder has directed federal prosecutors to conceal the amount of drugs seized during an arrest to circumvent mandatory minimum sentences set by Congress in 1986.
Whether one agrees with that law or not, its legal authority lies within the constitutional powers of Congress, not the executive branch. And that’s the issue. It’s part of a growing litany of presidential lawlessness:
• Aug. 14, 2013: The Obama administration delayed the provision in ObamaCare to cap out-of-pocket health care costs, picking and choosing parts of the law to enforce, which is to exceed its authority.
• July 17, 2013: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals joined the federal appeals courts in D.C. and Philadelphia in ruling President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board recess appointments — who by law must be approved by Congress — were unconstitutional. Thus far, the president has ignored the ruling.
• July 1, 2013: The Obama administration unilaterally decided to delay the employer mandate provision of ObamaCare for a year, which is to provide information to the feds about the extent of an applicant’s insurance. Never mind that the law states the mandate must go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 — they are now relying on the “honor system” from applicants to determine if they are qualified for subsidies.