The President’s Power Grab

Critics have warned that the president's promise to act in the face of congressional gridlock might amount to executive overreach. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

The president’s executive overreach erodes constitutional checks and balances (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Bambi is not a dictator, but there is a danger in his aggregation of executive power

Another Op-Ed warning about Executive overreach in the Obama era is not unique. What is unique, is that it’s in the LA Times. Does Obama want to be a ruler, instead of a president?  Interestingly, the LA Times included this link in the body of the article: Photos: A peek inside 5 doomed dictators’ opulent lifestyles. Think Obama’s personal luxury is overstated? Kings and Queens are required to manage their affairs more modestly than modern U.S. presidents. As Mark Steyn likes to point out, the operational cost of the White House exceeds operating cost of all the remaining Monarchies on earth, combined.

Jonathan Turley writes:

Recently, a bizarre scene unfolded on the floor of the House of Representatives that would have shocked the framers of the Constitution. In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced that he had decided to go it alone in areas where Congress refused to act to his satisfaction. In a system of shared powers, one would expect an outcry or at least stony silence when a president promised to circumvent the legislative branch. Instead, many senators and representatives erupted in rapturous applause; they seemed delighted at the notion of a president assuming unprecedented and unchecked powers at their expense.

“The United States is at a constitutional tipping point: The rise of an uber presidency unchecked by the other two branches.”

Last week, Obama underlined what this means for our system: The administration unilaterally increased the transition time for individuals to obtain the level of insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act. There is no statutory authority for the change — simply the raw assertion of executive power.

Our system is changing in a fundamental way without even a whimper of regret. No one branch in the Madisonian system can go it alone — not Congress, not the courts, and not the president.

This massive shift of authority threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system of checks and balances. To be sure, it did not begin with the Obama administration. The trend has existed for decades, and President George W. Bush showed equal contempt for the separation of powers. However, it has accelerated at an alarming rate under Obama. Of perhaps greater concern is the fact that the other two branches appear passive, if not inert, in the face of expanding executive power.

James Madison fashioned a government of three bodies locked in a synchronous orbit by their countervailing powers. The system of separation of powers was not created to protect the authority of each branch for its own sake. Rather, it is the primary protection of individual rights because it prevents the concentration of power in any one branch. In this sense, Obama is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he has become the very danger that separation of powers was designed to avoid.

A glance at recent unilateral moves by Obama illustrates how executive power has expanded, largely at the cost of legislative power.

The suspension of a portion of the ACA is only the latest such action related to the healthcare law:

• The heart of the healthcare law was a set of minimum requirements for insurance plans. After Obama was embarrassed by the cancellations of millions of nonconforming plans (when he had said no one would lose a plan they had and liked), he created first one temporary exemption and then, last week, another, adding two years to the compliance deadline set by law.

• On his own authority, Obama also chose other dates for compliance with the employer mandate.

• Congress ended a subsidy for members of Congress and their staffs so that they would obtain insurance under the ACA on the same terms as other citizens. Obama ordered that the same subsidies would continue, in defiance of the law.

The president has shown similar unilateral inclinations in other areas:

• He asked Congress to change the law to exempt certain classes of immigrants — particularly children — who are in the U.S. illegally from deportation. Congress refused to pass the so-called Dream Act, but Obama proceeded to order agencies to effectively guarantee the very same changes.

• The administration ordered all U.S. attorneys to stop prosecuting nonviolent drug crime defendants who would be subject to what Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. called draconian mandatory minimum sentences. The new rule effectively negates sentencing provisions set by Congress….Read the rest >>>

latimes.com

Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University, recently testified in Congress on the growing violations of the separation of powers.


One Comment on “The President’s Power Grab”


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