A member of Congress is now warning that Obama’s imperial presidency – his arbitrary enforcement or non-enforcement of the nation’s laws – has gone too far. And so he’s endorsing a resolution in the U.S. House that would allow a lawsuit over Obama’s decisions to abrogate laws passed by Congress.
“Assume that a statute said you had to provide two forms of ID to vote. Can the president require three forms? Can the president require one form? Can you suspend all requirements? If not, why not?” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in an interview on Fox News.
“If you can turn off certain categories of law, do you not also have the power to turn off all categories of law?”
He said Obama’s actions have reached “an unprecedented level, and we’ve got to do something about it.”
Gowdy cited Obama’s decisions to ignore certain immigration laws, even though Congress did not approve the changes. And Obama’s decisions to change the Obamacare law as he goes along. And his decision to make “recess appointments” even though the U.S. Senate was not in recess.
Gowdy said the time now is ripe for Congress to take the White House to court over the president’s actions.
A resolution is being proposed by U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, a Republican, that would authorize the House to sue the Obama administration. It has 30 co-sponsors.
The contention is that Obama frequently has overstepped the limits placed on the executive branch by the Constitution.
In a website statement, Rice said, “Because of this disregard of our country’s checks and balances, many of you have asked me to bring legal action against the president. After carefully researching the standing the House of Representatives has and what action we can take, I have introduced a resolution to stop the president’s clear overreach.”
Gowdy explained that federal courts generally have concluded that individual members of Congress don’t have standing to sue the president. But he said it is likely a lawsuit brought by the institution of the U.S. House against Obama for vote nullification would work.
He accused Obama of acting by “executive fiat.”
“It just think the pervasiveness of his ignoring Congress has reached the point that we don’t have a choice.”
The Fox interviewer then asked if Obama could refuse to enforce election laws.
“Why not?” asked Gowdy, “If you can turn off immigration laws, if you can turn off the mandatory minimum in our drug statutes, if you can turn off the so-called Affordable Care Act – why not election laws?”
Gowdy noted that a liberal law professor, Jonathan Turley, agrees.
Turley has represented members of Congress in a lawsuit over the Libyan war, represented workers at the secret Area 51 military base and served as counsel on national security cases. He now says Obama is a danger to the U.S. Constitution.
He was addressing a House Judiciary Committee hearing, and Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., asked him: “Professor Turley, the Constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It’s about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president’s unilateral modification of act[s] of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?”
Turley replied: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power.”
Turley explained that the “Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration.”
“There is two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress,” he said. “One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.”
Turley was appointed in 1998 to the prestigious Shapiro Chair for Public Interest at Georgetown. He has handled a wide range of precedent-setting and headline-making cases, including the successful defense of Petty Officer Daniel King, who faced the death penalty for alleged spying for Russia.
Turley also has served as the legal expert in the review of polygamy laws in the British Columbia Supreme Court. He’s been a consultant on homeland security, and his articles appear regularly in national publications such as the New York Times and USA Today.
WND reported that it was at the same hearing that Michael Cannon, director of Health Policy Studies for the Cato Institute, said there is “one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restraints that the Constitution places of the government.”
“Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it,” he said.
“That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate. If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws, then they will conclude that neither are they.”
Cannon said it is “very dangerous” for the president to “wantonly ignore the laws, to try to impose obligations upon people that the legislature did not approve.”
Several members of Congress also contributed their opinions in an interview with talk-show host Sean Hannity.
See their reaction: