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Obama – Promises to Disregard Law
During his campaign for the Presidency in 2008, then Senator Obama was asked by a member of the audience: “When Congress offers you a bill, do you promise not to use Presidential Signage to get your way?” His one word answer was “Yes.” His follow-up explanation however, drove the point home, that this was an unconstitutional and reprehensible act for any President. In his own words:
“We’ve got a government designed by the Founders so that there would be checks and balances. You don’t want a President that’s too powerful, or a Congress that’s too powerful, or Courts that are too powerful. Everybody’s got their own role. Congress’ job is to pass legislation. The President can veto it, or he can sign it. But, what George Bush has been trying to do as part of his effort to accumulate more power in the Presidency, he’s been saying ‘Well, I can basically change what Congress passed, by attaching a letter saying I don’t agree with this part, or I don’t agree with that part. I’m going to choose to interpret it this way, or that way.’ That’s not part of his power. But, this is part of the whole theory of George Bush – that he can make laws as he’s going along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for ten years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress. All right?”[i]
Very strong language indeed for a President who boasts an ability and intention to go around Congress, and who noted in signing into law the National Defense Authorization Act, that he disagreed with 14 sections of the bill, saying:
“…should any application of these provisions conflict with my constitutional authorities, I will treat the provisions as non-binding.”[ii]
In still another of the 19 signing statements issued by President Obama thru the end of 2011, Obama blocked the defunding of four of his “Czar” positions, stating that:
“Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President’s ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Therefore, the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”[iii]
Which of the campaign promises Obama makes in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election will be as solid as his assurances against “Signing Statements”? Which other Constitutional principles will he defend with equal respect and passion?
[i] Senator Barack Obama, (2008), Doug Powers (Oct. 28, 2011), Michelle Malkin web-site, Charles Rangel: Obama Working Around Congress is Okay Because of the Gridlock, video in article posted by “brianamburgey”, Obama on Presidential Signing Statements, retrieved January 6, 2012, from http://michellemalkin.com/2011/10/28/charles-rangel-gridlock/
[ii] President Barack Obama, (Dec. 31, 2011) White House web-site, Statements & Releases, Statement by the President on H.R. 1540, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/31/statement-president-hr-1540
[iii] President Barack Obama, (April 15, 2011), White House web-site, Statements & Releases, Statement by the President on H.R. 1473, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/15/statement-president-hr-1473