- - Monday, March 10, 2014

The Founders described the “long train of abuses” at the hands of a king that triggered the need for a change, in the form of a Declaration of Independence. Runaway governance is back, and President Obama is the conductor.

The Constitution set up peaceful mechanisms available today to deal with overreach that weren’t available to the revolutionaries of 1776. Today’s lawmakers must use these to brake Barack Obama’s disregard for the Constitution before that “long train” grows longer.

The House could consider as early as this week the Enforce the Law Act, granting either the House or the Senate the explicit authority to file a lawsuit against the president for failing to carry out his constitutionally mandated duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

It directs such lawsuits to a three-judge panel of a federal district court with appeals going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the measure’s Republican sponsor, blames Mr. Obama for the need to act. “This administration’s disregard for the law,” he says, “has reached an unprecedented level from a constitutional perspective. … This bill … will give Congress the authority to defend this branch of government as the Framers and our fellow citizens would expect.”

Mr. Obama has governed with the reckless abandon of a community organizer determined that laws are made to be broken. With the stroke of his pen, he has redlined portions of immigration laws to prevent law enforcers from detaining young illegal aliens.

This de facto amnesty over time threatens to alter the common culture of the nation and saddle taxpayers with the unaffordable costs of an ever-expanding welfare state.

In the name of national security, the president decides who lives and who dies, killing American citizens without due process in drone strikes in foreign nations. Most of them may have deserved it, but that’s not the way America does it.

Innocents, including children, have been “collateral” casualties. Nowhere does his constitutional job description give him authority to act as judge, jury and executioner.

Mr. Obama has blocked enforcement of portions of the nation’s drug laws as his Justice Department makes “getting high” a new American way of life. Demoralized federal agents risk their lives to halt the flow of hard drugs to American neighborhoods.

The National Security Agency’s wholesale spying on Americans prompted Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky to sue the president on behalf of hundreds of millions of Americans whose private phone and Internet records have been seized in the name of security.

The suit is largely symbolic, since the president can consume years slow-walking his defense through the courts with little chance of resolution before his presidency ends.

Mr. Gowdy’s legislation would place such lawsuits before the courts before the White House could bury them.

Other presidents have looked the other way to avoid enforcing a law, but none before Mr. Obama have announced a goal of “fundamentally transforming” the nation. After more than five years in office, the president is well down the track toward his destination.

Passage of the Enforce the Law Act would be largely symbolic, considering it wouldn’t get past Harry Reid or Mr. Obama, but it sends the message to voters in November. If they want to stop the runaway train, here’s a way for them to do it.