President shows blatant disregard for Constitution


art by Maddy Mueller

Luke Chval

In March 2008, during his campaign for the presidency, then-Sen. Barack Obama criticized President George Bush in a speech in which he said, “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now had to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”
These words sound like a different man than the one who decided without any legislation to grant amnesty to an estimated five million undocumented immigrants in November. Or the one who in his 2014 State of the Union Address said, “Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

art by Maddy Mueller
art by Maddy Mueller
Obama’s claims that he has the right to push his agenda when he is working with a “do-nothing” Congress are false. There is a strong difference between a Congress that does nothing and a Congress with different political ideologies than him. Nothing gives the president the right to handle things such as delaying integral provisions of the Affordable Care Act after strenuous debate in congressional committees, as in February 2014 Obama delayedthe deadline for small companies to offer health insurance from 2015 to 2016.
More substantially, there was the invocation of executive privilege by Obama, in order to provide investigational relief to his appointed Attorney General Eric Holder. The act impeded an investigation by the congressional House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Operation Fast and Furious, a scheme in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gave guns to Mexican cartels through illegal dealers in order to entrap the cartel members.
The privilege prohibited the committee from seeing vital reports within the Department of Justice after the committee received evidence contrary to Holder’s earlier statement that he had no knowledge of the scheme of giving guns to Mexican cartels through illegal dealers in order to entrap them.
The inconsistency in Holder’s statement caused the House of Representatives to vote 255-67 in favor of holding Holder in contempt of Congress in June 2012, the first time that has happened to a Cabinet member in the history of the United States.
Obama’s legally murky suppression of the investigation is a clear cut example of his disregard for congressional authority, and prioritizes himself and his colleagues of the executive branch. In doing this he broke a promise made by his January 2009 memorandum in which he stated, “My administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.”
Most recently, in a November 2014 speech, Obama announced a plan for immigration amnesty, in which undocumented immigrants who were parents of children born in the United States and had been in the country for at least five years. The undocumented immigrants would be eligible to receive work permits, drivers licenses, and in-state tuition for public universities.
The U.S. Constitution in Article II, Section three states that the U.S. President “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Obama has the prerogative to determine which method is the most effective in executing the laws; however, he does not have the ability to determine whether or not to execute the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which states that illegal entry of non-nationals into the U.S. is a misdemeanor.
To be fair to the current Commander in Chief, he isn’t the only president in recent years guilty of executive overreach. George W. Bush frequently used signing statements to push his harsh counter terrorism agenda, and Ronald Reagan ignored Congress by continuing to support the Nicaraguan Revolution. Overreach is not about a political party, ideology, or the predispositions of one individual; it is rampant across all of our executive leaders.
George Washington declined a third-term of presidency and Thomas Jefferson had reservations about the Louisiana Purchase because he did not think he had the power to make such a decision. Similarly to the men who founded this nation, our executive leaders should embrace the idea of limited power that created this great democracy.
By Luke Chval