President Obama’s Executive Power End Run Around The Constitution

By David Davenport – Forbes –

Reports that President Obama is considering the issuance of 19 executive orders on gun control raise a new round of questions about presidential power. Frustrated by his inability to work with Congress, Obama seems willing to do more and more unilaterally, to the ultimate detriment of the republic. It’s hard to overlook the irony that part of his brief against his Republican predecessor was George W. Bush’s willingness to stretch presidential power—the use of signing statements explaining why Bush didn’t accept parts of bills Congress passed, for example. But Obama himself is taking presidential power to new heights.

Consider his use of executive orders. There’s no real Constitutional authority for these, but presidents have long allowed themselves this privilege. The theory is that they are essentially “executing” laws Congress has already passed. But, as the Supreme Court told President Truman when he attempted to use an executive order to place all steel factories under control of the federal government, executive orders may not be used to make laws, only to execute them.

What’s new is Obama’s use of executive orders to initiate action where, in his view, Congress is moving too slowly, rather than to execute laws Congress has already passed. Everyone understands the need for comprehensive immigration reform, but rather than working this through patiently, Obama last year issued executive orders to get the ball rolling. One allowed immigrants who entered the country illegally to remain during a waiver process. Another directed officials to stop detaining undocumented immigrants arrested for lesser crimes. Yet another, which triggered a huge response, eased the rules for young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. Whatever the president calls it, all this constitutes major change to immigration policy right at the very time the country is trying to work through comprehensive reform.

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