Rep Steven King asked the panel of legal experts at today’s Judiciary hearing on “the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws” what our recourse is when a president abuses his power. Noting that Congress could pass a resolution of disapproval, or shut off funding through the power of the purse – (but the president has already assumed the power of the purse), or go to the courts, (but what if the courts do not grant standing for members of Congress), he said the next recourse is “the word we don’t like to utter in this committee…”
“What finally resolves this?” King asked. He asked the panel, “where does this go? What does America look like in the next 25 years if we have executive upon executive that builds upon this continual stretching or disregard of constitutional restraints and disrespect for Article I?”
Michael Cannon of the CATO Institute suggested a Constitutional Convention as a method for the people to restrain the president, but King pointed out that an executive with disrespect for the Constitution would ignore an amended Constitution from a Constitutional Convention.
Professor Jonathan Turley, of George Washington University Law School thoughtfully replied, “I really have great trepidation about where we are headed because we are creating a new system, here – something which is not what was designed – we have this rising fourth branch…the center of gravity is shifting, and that makes it unstable, and within that system we have the rise of an uber-Presidency. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. I really think the framers would be horrified by this shift because everything they dedicated themselves to was in creating this orbital balance and we’ve lost it.”
Professor Nicholas Rosenkranz of Georgetown University Law Center said, “I think the ultimate check is elections but I don’t think you should be hesitant to use the word in this room, the check on executive lawlessness is impeachment and if you find that the president is willfully and repeatedly violating the constitution – if on your hypothetical – he were to declare war, I would think that would be a clear case for impeachment.”
Simon Lazarus, of the left-wing Constitutional Accountability Center thought that the remedy for executive lawlessness should be for Congress to act on Obama’s agenda. Trey Gowdy cut him short, saying, “if you could dispense with giving us advice on how our legislative agenda should look like, and answer the question, I’d be grateful to you.”
Charles Krauthammer: An outbreak of lawlessness:
As of today, the Senate effectively has no rules. Congratulations, Harry Reid. Finally, something you will be remembered for.
Barack Obama may be remembered for something similar. His violation of the proper limits of executive power has become breathtaking. It’s not just making recess appointments when the Senate is in session. It’s not just unilaterally imposing a law Congress had refused to pass — the Dream Act — by brazenly suspending large sectionsof the immigration laws.
We’ve now reached a point where a flailing president, desperate to deflect the opprobrium heaped upon him for the false promise that you could keep your health plan if you wanted to, calls a hasty news conference urging both insurers and the states to reinstate millions of such plans.
Except that he is asking them to break the law. His own law. Under Obamacare, no insurer may issue a policy after 2013 that does not meet the law’s minimum coverage requirements. These plans were canceled because they do not.
The law remains unchanged. The regulations governing that law remain unchanged. Nothing is changed except for a president proposing to unilaterally change his own law from the White House press room.That’s banana republic stuff, except that there the dictator proclaims from the presidential balcony.