- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Barack Obama was once a constitutional law professor, but now views the founding document as irrelevant. The president is ruling by decree, instead of working with a divided Congress.

The Founding Fathers would be appalled by the way the current occupant of the White House has usurped power to get his agenda passed.

There is nothing to restrain Mr. Obama, now a lame duck, from forcing his liberalism on America.

For example, the White House declared Wednesday that it will not go through Congress to create regional “climate hubs” to deal with the supposed crisis of “climate change.”

This comes on the heels of a week of grandstanding at events in which he tells Americans “I will act on my own” and throws out new executive orders for everything from schools to job training to hiring decisions.

The president thinks the American people will view him as a benevolent leader and not a tyrant for dictating policy.

Mr. Obama announced in his State of the Union speech last week that he would use executive orders to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors.

He proclaimed the Treasury Department would make a new type of retirement savings account (myRA).

The president declared he would push for more federal gun control “with or without Congress.” (This would be in addition to the more than 20 executive actions he’s taken in the past year to infringe on Second Amendment rights.)

Speaking to all the elected officials in the legislative branch, Mr. Obama said he would use his executive powers “wherever and whenever” he could.

One GOP congressman, Rep. Steve Stockman from Texas, walked out of the House chamber in the middle of the speech, saying that he “could not bear to watch” as Mr. Obama “continued to cross the clearly defined boundaries of the constitutional separation of powers.”

The day after Mr. Obama’s address to Congress, Sen. Mike Lee asked Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing whether the president was consulting him on the legality before issuing executive orders, as is required.

The Utah Republican is a former Supreme Court clerk and specialized in Supreme Court litigation in his private practice before being elected to the Senate.

Mr. Holder responded that the Justice Department was consulted on raising the minimum wage and the unilateral decision last July not to enforce the employer mandate in Obamacare until after the midterm elections.

The attorney general offered that Mr. Obama had “made far less use of his executive power at this point in his administration than some of his predecessors have” and would only do so in the future when “he is unable to work with Congress to do things together.”

Mr. Lee forcefully told Mr. Holder that the number of executive orders was irrelevant. It was the nature of the decrees.

“He has usurped an extraordinary amount of authority within the executive branch. This is not precedented,” the senator said. “I point to the delay — the unilateral delay — lawless delay, in my opinion, of the employer mandate as an example of this.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, followed up this week with a letter to Mr. Holder asking him to make public in real time the opinions and analyses that Justice uses to determine the constitutionality of executive orders.

The Iowa Republican pointed out that “this specific measure of transparency” will allow Americans to understand the legal basis for the orders and allow them to be challenged if necessary.

While Mr. Obama’s use of executive orders specifically is on par with past presidents, he uses other tools of the office to force his will on the country, such as presidential memorandums and massive numbers of rules and regulations that would never get through Congress.

Since Obamacare was passed on Capitol Hill, all the implementation decisions have been made by the White House by regulations and rules.

The health care law might be a thousand or so pages long, but it has become virtually a shell for this administration to use however it likes to force its agenda, such as making religious institutions violate their beliefs and pay for birth control for their employees.

Mr. Obama used his power to appoint people who can’t get confirmed by the Senate. Most notably, the Supreme Court is deciding whether the president acted lawfully when he made “recess” appointments for three members to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 when the Senate was in pro forma session.

The left is trying to defend their golden child. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said that questioning the lawfulness of the president’s unilateral actions was like a conspiracy theory.

“I think it’s a second-term birtherism,” he said on Friday’s “Hardball,” with the graphic “Right-Wing Freakout” on the screen. “He was illegitimately elected. Now he is behaving illegitimately.”

Conservatives are not irrationally afraid of Mr. Obama’s dictates.

Congress is elected by the people to enact their will. The president is openly abusing the powers of the executive branch to go around the “people’s house” so that he can force his leftist agenda on Americans.

He has to be stopped.

Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, 2013).

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