02.17.2014 0

Obama on separation of powers: ‘Catch me if you can’

Cartoon - Obama the Crook - 600By Robert Romano

“I have never seen a president so brazenly and openly say I’m going to break the rules, I’m going to defy my oath, I’m going to violate the separation of powers, undermine Article 1 — and catch me if you can.”

That was nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin, talking to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a February 13 interview. Cruz responded, calling it “unprecedented,” adding, “one of if not the most dangerous aspects of this is the contempt for the rule of law, and the consistent pattern of lawlessness.”

The interview came on the heels of repeated statements by Obama, including at a Cabinet meeting on January 14: “[W]e are not just going to be waiting for a legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need.”

But most of all Levin and Cruz were responding to Obama’s decision to delay the employer mandate for medium-sized firms as well as large firms under the health care law.

This is what Obama means when he jokes he can do whatever he wants. That he has a pen and a phone.

On Obamacare and elsewhere, purely for political reasons, the President is legislating and arbitrarily making changes to the law.  The details matter less than the essential breakdown of the rule of law and the separation of powers.

This is the reality we face, where lawmaking primacy no longer resides with Congress per its constitutional design, it lays with the White house and the executive branch agencies that are administrating from on high.

It lays with the Environmental Protection Agency, which arbitrarily declared carbon dioxide, a gas essential to life itself, to be a “harmful pollutant” covered under the Clean Air Act, even though Congress never amended that law to include carbon emissions.

It lays with the Treasury and the IRS, which have issued a regulation rewriting 50 year old rules surrounding 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations without any vote in Congress. Once finalized, these rules will be used to silence political opponents of the administration.

Obama has refused to enforce laws, as noted above Obamacare’s many mandates that are now deemed politically hazardous, but also the Defense of Marriage Act, federal immigration law, and as Cruz noted in the Levin interview, when millions of Americans were losing their insurance plans, Obama “instructed private insurance companies [to] go violate the law; issue policies that are illegal — that are illegal right under the plain text of the law.”

He has made recess appointments when Congress was not even in a recess.

His Federal Reserve printed $1.25 trillion out of thin air to buy back dodgy securities from banks that bet poorly on U.S. housing, including $442.7 billion that was given to foreign banks. Even today, the Fed continues purchasing government and mortgage bonds in a $900 billion a year subsidy to banks.

Last year, it was revealed that the administration was continuing to implement a National Security Agency program gathering records on every American, using the Patriot Act as a secret legal justification even though the author of the law, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), says the blanket surveillance is expressly forbidden by that law, not to mention the U.S. Constitution.

One could go on and on about the lawlessness on display, and the flagrant manner the executive branch has usurped powers that are Congress’ by right.

The question is what Congress or the courts might do about it.

Perhaps the reason Obama has been so “brazen and open” about violating the separation of powers is because he knows the answer that question is nothing. Until the other branches jealously guard their rightful powers under the Constitution, we might as well not have one.

Happy Presidents Day.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

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