Reason #22: Refusing to Honor The Oath Of Office
Categories: Grotesque abuse of power, unbridled arrogance, no knowledge of history, no concern for the law or precedence, violating the Constitution, violating the rule of law.
We learn about it in school: the three branches of government—legislative, executive and judicial—and the checks and balances between them. We learn that the legislative branch, and only the legislative branch, may make laws, and that it is then the solemn duty of the President to see that the laws are faithfully enforced. The Constitution makes all of this quite clear, for the founders were careful men. They wrote wrote what they meant and meant what they wrote.
So careful were they that the Constitution prescribes the presidential oath of office:
Article II, Section I: Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.’
It is often said that if the Founders were aware of this or that, they would never have written the Constitution as they did. Those who make this argument invariably wish to take away individual liberties, never strengthen or add to them. But the founders were among the most cosmopolitan and brilliant men of their time—of any time—and they knew well that some men would not possess the moral fiber, the character, to serve as president, yet would nonetheless be elected. It was, in part, because of their keen understanding of human nature that we have the separation of powers.
Yet even with the separation of powers, they harbored no misconceptions about the inherent dangers of tyranny. James Madison said:
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
Madison was not alone; many others foresaw the horrors that could occur if an out of control executive usurped the power of the co-equal branches. In short, they foresaw Barack Obama.
It wasn’t the first indication that Mr. Obama had no respect for the other branches—there have been many others, such as Mr. Obama’s arrogant, boorish and false haranguing of the justices of the Supreme Court at the 2010 State of the Union speech—but the boldest and most brazen expression of his arrogance and disrespect for the Constitution came with his formulation of the “we can’t afford to wait” slogan. The slogan expressed Mr. Obama’s intention to ignore the Congress and to enact whatever he wanted to do by means of executive orders and bureaucratic rule making. In February of 2012, Mr. Obama said:
Whenever Congress refuses to act, Joe and I are going to act.
Mr. Obama was referring specifically to the economy on that occasion, but on June 15, 2012, Mr. Obama extended that slogan yet again while simultaneously pandering and ignoring the law on a national scale. Fox News reported:
President Obama said Friday the United States will stop deporting hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants and give them work permits, a move praised fellow Democrats but criticized by Republicans on Capitol Hill who said the administration has side-stepped the country’s legislative process.
The executive order will apply to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16 and are younger than 30. They also must have no criminal record, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have graduated from a U.S. high school or have earned a GED, or served in the military.
‘These are young people who study in our schools and play on our playgrounds,’ the president said. ‘They are Americans in every single way but one – on paper.’
Those now eligible also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.
The change is expected to impact roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants.
It should be remembered that for the first two years of his term, Mr. Obama enjoyed complete control of Congress, a Congress that was also controlled by Democrats for the final two years of Mr. Bush’s final term. Instead of dealing with immigration issues, Mr. Obama wasted all of his time and political capital pushing the stimulus that stimulated nothing except the deep pockets of his political cronies, and ObamaCare, which the majority of Americans have never wanted and which has become more and more unpopular the more Americans have learned about it.
Fox News continued:
In urging Congress to pass the legislation, the president said his change was “stop gap” and not ‘a permanent fix.’ The president also made clear he change was not amnesty, immunity or a path to citizenship.
The policy is similar to one by Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio in that it is an alternative to the DREAM Act. However, the first-term senator did not support the president’s order.
‘Today’s announcement will be welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer, but it is a short-term answer to a long term problem,’ Rubio said. ‘And by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short-term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.’
As a teacher in a border state, I deal with immigration issues daily. I know that some portion of virtually every class I teach is comprised of illegal immigrants. Some speak little or no English. I treat them, of course, no differently than those born in America, for my job has little to do with national origin. However, above all, I take seriously the oath I’ve taken three times in my life to uphold and defend the Constitution.
On an emotional level, I want my illegal—not undocumented; illegal—kids to become Americans, and when they do, I’ll be at their naturalization ceremony shedding tears of pride. I want them to be Americans and to enjoy and defend the blessings of liberty. When one of them honorably serves our nation in the military, I tend to believe they should be granted citizenship. Many non-citizens have served honorably, even heroically, in our military. I love all of my kids, and appreciate those families who come here illegally because their native lands are corrupt, oppressive, economic basket cases. Any man or woman who comes to America, works hard for their families, and who is an honest, honorable person earns my admiration.
We are indeed a nation of immigrants, but unless America remains America, we will degenerate to the kinds of corruption and dissolution so many have legally come to America to flee. We must keep faith with the generations of those who immigrated here and respected the law.
We do need to write new immigration laws that benefit America, not any interest group. But such laws must be laws that we can and will enforce. Any less, and America will cease to become a nation under the rule of law. This is the sole responsibility of the people through the Congress, their elected, accountable representatives. It is not the job of petty, ignorant bureaucrats like Janet Napolitano or even the President of the United States to bypass the Constitution and to proclaim as law their policy preferences. This is dangerous arrogance and madness.
Mr. Obama ignored immigration issues when he could have easily had his way. The timing of this is no coincidence and represents the worst kind of political pandering. I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing even more egregious examples of Mr. Obama handing out taxpayer cash to buy votes. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air notes a related issue:
So …. he’s going to hand out hundreds of thousands of work permits when unemployment is at 8.2% nominal, 14.8% U-6, and the civilian participation rate is near the 30-year low Obama set last month (now 63.8%)? The only thing this accomplishes is driving the labor rate further downward and the unemployment rate further upward. Work permits make sense when you’re creating jobs, but not when jobs are scarce. I’m not sure that’s going to endear Obama to unions and blue-collar voters struggling to find work already.
This is a situation fraught with serious consequences, not only for individual immigrants, but for the nation and the rule of law. By usurping the Constitutional authority of the Legislative branch, Mr. Obama takes yet another step toward tyranny. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said:
This is yet another example of executive branch overreach. We have a legislative process that ensures representative governance by the consent of the American people. This action should be crafted into legislation, debated in committee and brought before the House and Senate for vote, with accordance of our Constitutional Republic way. Secretary Napolitano is an unelected administrative bureaucrat who does not have the right to make governing decisions for this country. It is apparent that the goal of the Obama administration is not to govern, but rule by edict. This again is a reflection of the desperation of President Obama and his liberal progressive disciples as November draws nearer. …
At the press conference announcing his latest power grab, Mr. Obama’s barely-restrained temper and unbounded arrogance were on display, as noted by Bryan Preston at PJ Media:
As Bridget noted in real time, President Obama did not like getting some pushback on his amnesty policy today. In fact, he came within an inch of losing his cool.
The sound bite coming out of that exchange is that the president said he isn’t asking for any arguments. That simply is not true, or given our representative republic, should not be true.
The president announced a major policy change that impacts not just the 800,000 illegal aliens who benefit, it impacts the entire country. By circumventing Congress, it impacts our rule of law. By announcing it in a way that suggests its political origins, it impacts the presidential race.
If the president expected no arguments, then he is deluded. If he will brook no arguments, then he is unfit for the office. He is not a king, and we are not his subjects. We have a duty to push back if we believe that his actions are wrong or illegal, both of which may apply to today’s seismic policy shift.
But the fact is, President Obama damn well knew that he was provoking an argument, and he expects that argument to get heated in ways that will help him keep his job. He also expects to win it.
He will not.
One can only hope—and pray. And we elected him President.