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Posts Tagged ‘Imperial Presidency’

The Solutions to Our Broken Institutions Are In the Constitution

America is facing a crisis.  As a matter of fact we are in such a constant state of crisis that I should be using the plural crises but that sounds silly and looks improbable.  As do the policies which have pushed us to this point.

  • Open borders erase what being an American means.
  • Strangulation regulation that prohibit growth and punish productivity.
  • Free Trade giveaways that send our industry and jobs overseas.
  • Taxation that makes us long for the tax rates that started the Revolution.
  • Attacks on police, on every right guaranteed, not granted, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
  • An internal war on our own energy sector in the name of a mythical man-made global warming.
  • An administration that fans the flames of racial and social divides for political advantage.
  • A political class made up of the perpetually re-elected of both parties that sits like a twin headed bird of prey atop a corporatism system rigged to reward the connected and ignore the rest.

How could any of this fail…..to end America’s 240 year old experiment in human freedom?  The institutions of our government are broken.  However, there is a solution, and it is in the Constitution.

First of all the system was built to provide checks and balances.  Each branch, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial were meant to counterbalance each other so that no one branch could usurp the power of the other two.

The Evansville Bar Association in its annual recognition of Constitution Day in 2015 summed it up well;

Although the terms “Separation of Powers” and “Checks and Balances” are not found in the Constitution, these principles are key to its vitality. As George Washington wrote in February of 1788, the two great “pivots upon which the whole machine must move” are: (1) “the general Government is not invested with more Powers than are indispensably necessary to perform the functions of a good Government[,]” and (2) “these Powers are so distributed among the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, that [the Government] can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy or any other despotic or oppressive form, so long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the People.” As recently as 2011, the Supreme Court affirmed that these principles were “intended, in part, to protect each branch of government from incursion by the others. The structural principles secured by the separation of powers protect the individual as well.”

Congress has abdicated its powers to unelected bureaucrats and the courts have decided that is the order of the day.  Generation Opportunity covers this well when they say;

One of the reasons that elections are such so important is because legislative representatives are responsible to create federal laws that impact every one of their constituents.

This is not a task to be taken lightly, which is why voters must dedicate time to research candidates before heading to the voting booth. But few people realize that there are unelected individuals who create regulations that govern everything from what type of light bulb you are allowed to use, as well as how much water your toilet may flush. According to an article published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), no one is entirely sure how many government agencies actually exist, not even the government knows the exact number.

For instance, in the appendix of the Administrative Conference of the United States, there are 115 agencies listed with a disclaimer saying, “[T]here is no authoritative list of government agencies.”
The federal government has grown so large that no one can even keep track of it anymore. Worse still, each of these agencies are filled with unelected people who take on legislative authority to interpret laws passed by Congress.

Although Congress is prohibited from “delegating” its legislative function to another branch of government, Courts have consistently held that federal agencies may create their own rules as long as an “intelligible” principle can be discerned from the original statute in question.

In other words, if Congress passes a law that regulates a particular industry or action, unelected federal bureaucrats are given almost unchecked power to create whichever rules (or crimes associated with the conduct in question) that they please.

Here’s an example: When Congress passed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977, it mandated that certain environmental standards must be imposed on the states, but it hardly clarified what those standards were, or how they were to be enforced.

One of the components of the Act mandated states to establish a permit program that regulates, “new or modified major stationary sources” of air pollution. That seems simple enough, except that Congress never properly defined what qualified as a “stationary source.”

Therefore, the Environmental Protection Agency was left with the task of defining what a “stationary source” meant. Additionally, the original legislation never detailed what the penalty would be for breaking any of the statutes created by the new amendments, leaving it open to interpretation by the EPA.

This predicament led to the 1984 landmark case of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., where the Supreme Court held that federal agencies have authority to interpret statutes which they are in charge of administering.

This meant that the EPA now had legal authority to determine what would be considered a “stationary source” of air pollution.

Since the Chevron Doctrine applies to all government agencies, the opportunities for abuse are endless. Government is only legitimate when it derives its powers from the consent of the governed. When we give legislative powers to unelected government officials we completely disregard the core American belief of consensual representation.

In other words we elect legislators to make laws and they make general laws like, “We want clean water,” and then they let unelected bureaucrats fill in the blanks with the force of law.

Here is how it works.  Everyone wants clean water so the legislators pass their “We want clean water,” law and they come back to their constituents and campaign on “I brought you clean water.”  Then the EPA issues a regulation that says you can’t build on wet lands.  The EPA gets to decide what wet lands means which consequently gives them De Facto control over any piece of property they say is a wet land.  Then when voters complain to their congressional representative, who voted for the law and bragged about it, that they can’t build their house on a lot that is obviously dry the legislator becomes indignant.  They tell their constituents, “We’ll just see about this!” Then they have an aide send a strongly worded letter to the EPA that makes no difference whatsoever.

Problem solved.  Pat the denizens from fly-over country on the head and leave the matter in the hands of the commiczars who have inherited the rule of what was once a representative republic.  This way the hack can get back to his real job of raising money and getting re-elected.

This abdication of responsibility on the part of the legislature is the root cause of our problems because it has led to or facilitated the rise of the imperial presidency wherein many presidents have expanded the power of the executive until today we have an elected monarch who rules by decree unchallenged by Congress and unfettered by the will of the people.

Although the imperial presidency by no means began with the present occupant of the White House, to many Barack Obama has pushed the envelope beyond any discernable constitutional limits and has become the prime example of this phenomenon.

According to the Christian Science Monitor;

President Obama’s use of executive action to get around congressional gridlock is unparalleled in modern times, some scholars say. But to liberal activists, he’s not going far enough.

Obama, a former constitutional law lecturer, was once skeptical of the aggressive use of presidential power. During the 2008 campaign, he accused President George W. Bush of regularly circumventing Congress. Yet as president, Obama has grown increasingly bold in his own use of executive action, at times to controversial effect.

The president (or his administration) has unilaterally changed elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); declared an anti-gay-rights law unconstitutional; lifted the threat of deportation for an entire class of undocumented immigrants; bypassed Senate confirmation of controversial nominees; waived compliance requirements in education law; and altered the work requirements under welfare reform. This month, the Obama administration took the highly unusual step of announcing that it will recognize gay marriages performed in Utah – even though Utah itself says it will not recognize them while the issue is pending in court.

Early in his presidency, Obama also expanded presidential warmaking powers, surveillance of the American public, and extrajudicial drone strikes on alleged terrorists outside the United States, including Americans – going beyond Mr. Bush’s own global war on terror following 9/11. But more recently, he has flexed his executive muscle more on domestic policy.

In the process, Obama’s claims of executive authority have infuriated opponents, while emboldening supporters to demand more on a range of issues, from immigration and gay rights to the minimum wage and Guantánamo Bay prison camp.

To critics, Obama is the ultimate “imperial president,” willfully violating the Constitution to further his goals, having failed to convince Congress of the merits of his arguments. To others, he is exercising legitimate executive authority in the face of an intransigent Congress and in keeping with the practices of past presidents.

It also leads to the tyranny of the courts.  Unelected lawyers with life tenure decide what is and what is not constitutional often with the vaguest references to the Constitution itself.  Disregarding what are clearly enunciated rights such as the one to keep and bear arms while finding such nonexistent rights such as the right to dispose of unborn children.  The Justices of the Supreme Court have abrogated unto themselves unlimited power to turn our Constitution which was supposed to be written in stone into a living letter written in sand.  Or as one Chief justice said, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes once said, “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.” Or as the website Western Journalism describes it;

Our federal judiciary has become, arguably and disturbingly, an oligarchy. When they rule on the “constitutionality” of an issue, it is assumed to be the final say in whether a vote of Congress or the vote of the people via referendum or initiative is legitimized or annulled. This is not how the Supreme Court and its substrata of appellate courts were intended to operate, nor is it de facto the way it should be.

The federal judiciary, as it has evolved, has unchecked and unlimited power over the nation by either of the other branches–the executive or the legislative–or even the people. Its members are not accountable to the citizenry, since most of their appointments are for life, and they cannot be removed from the bench by a vote of the people they purportedly serve. Their ruminations and the results of their decisions are insular, and they often trump the will of the people with regard to key social issues. Their decisions are presumed to be final, even though they may be at odds with the democratic majority of our citizens.

Herein lies the fundamental problem about the present construct of our federal judiciary as it has evolved since the founding. If, as stated in the 10th Amendment, all “rights and powers” not specifically itemized in the Constitution are held by the people collectively or by the states, what right does a court have to negate the will of the people? As it relates especially to key cultural issues like abortion, public religious displays, and definitions of marriage, should not the final court be the court of public opinion, rather than an oligarchy of judges insulated from, and not accountable to, the citizenry? In most of these cases, state courts have ruled, and appeals are then made to the federal judiciary.

Thomas Jefferson portended this judicial despotism: “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.”

These situations exist because Congress abdicates its authority to unelected bureaucrats of the federal nomenclature, it refuses to stand up to the runaway executives and refuses to reign in the Supreme Court.

The first could be accomplished by passing a law rescinding the ability of bureaucracies to issue regulations that have the force of law without congressional approval.

The second could be accomplished as they were with President Nixon, hearings which could lead to impeachment.

And the third is constitutionally provided for in Article 3, Section 2, Clause 2 which states, “In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”  Congress should exercise its power to limit the jurisdiction of the courts. The Constitution provides that Congress is authorized to establish those federal courts subordinate to the Supreme Court and set forth their jurisdiction. Congress also has the power to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and regulate its activities. Accordingly, Congress should exercise this authority to restrain an activist judiciary.

If Congress would step up and be what we elect them to be We the People could once again become more than just an empty phrase from History in a discarded document that once sought to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.  If our representatives will represent us instead of themselves and their cronies we would find that the solutions to our broken institutions are in the Constitution.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2016 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Why Empires Fall

Although the generalization is usually applied to republics, according to Sir John Glubb, a British author and lecturer, most empires don’t last longer than 250 years.

Or as Sir John said in summation:

As numerous points of interest have arisen in the course of this essay, I close with a brief summary, to refresh the reader’s mind.

  • We do not learn from history because
    our studies are brief and prejudiced.
    (b) In a surprising manner, 250 years
    emerges as the average length of national

    (c) This average has not varied for 3,000 years.
    Does it represent ten generations?
    (d) The stages of the rise and fall of great
    nations seem to be:
    The Age of Pioneers (outburst)
    The Age of Conquests
    The Age of Commerce
    The Age of Affluence
    The Age of Intellect
    The Age of Decadence.
    (e) Decadence is marked by:
    Defensiveness
    Pessimism
    Materialism
    Frivolity
    An influx of foreigners
    The Welfare State
    A weakening of religion.
    (f) Decadence is due to:
    Too long a period of wealth and power
    Selfishness
    Love of money
    The loss of a sense of duty. (Sir John Glubb)

Does any of this sound familiar? In other words all empires rise and all empires fall. It is the luck of the draw or the happenstance of birth that situates us as spectators of the fall.

I know from experience as the Author of The Constitution Failed that if you question the viability of the American experiment even the most humble participant in that experiment becomes indignant. As I have been asked repeatedly, “How can you say, the Constitution failed don’t you mean, we failed the Constitution?” This always elicits my response, “Is that a distinction without a difference?”

Since the declared and understood purpose to the writing and ratification of the Constitution was to create and sustain a limited government and since We the People now face an unlimited government I maintain we must face the painful reality that the Constitution has failed. With that failure the experiment in individual liberty, personal freedom, and economic opportunity is hurtling towards a destination with destiny as we become like all the other nations of the earth: a command economy with a permanent political class.

When did we start our slide from a limited government to a centrally-planned Leviathan masquerading as a utopian paradise?

The experiment jumped the tracks under the second president. John Adams signed the Alien and sedition Act and then used that act to arrest anyone who disagreed with him. This was not the beginning of our present slide into totalitarianism.

Abraham Lincoln waged total war against eleven States that sought to secede when the right to secede was not withheld from the states and the right to wage war against the States was not afforded to the Federal Government by the Constitution. He did however allow West Virginia to secede from Virginia without the approval of the Virginia government which is explicitly contrary to the Constitution. This was not the beginning of our present slide into totalitarianism.

In the midst of the banking crisis of 1932-33 FDR told America, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He should have told us that we had him and his Progressive agenda to fear, at least as far as the fundamental nature of the American Experiment was concerned.

Despite the fact that by 1932 the recovery from the crash of 1929 was well under way as evidenced by freight loadings that rose 20 percent, industrial production 21 percent, construction contract awards gained 30 percent, unemployment dropped by nearly one million, wholesale prices rebounded by 20 percent, and the battered stock market was up by 40 percent. David Stockman goes so far as to say, “the Hoover recovery would be celebrated in the history books even today if it had not been interrupted in the winter of 1932-1933 by a faux banking crisis which was entirely the doing of President-elect Roosevelt and the loose-talking economic statist at the core of his transition team.”

At that time the banking crisis, as it was loudly and universally called, had Americans fearing that the economy was about to collapse. This has been called the failure of capitalism. However as David Stockman points out,

The truth of the so-called banking crisis is that the artificial economic boom of 1914-1929 had generated a drastic proliferation of banks in the farm country and in the booming new industrial centers like Chicago, Detroit, Youngtown and Toledo, along with vast amounts of poorly underwritten debt on real estate and businesses.

When the bubble burst in 1929, the financial system experienced the time-honored capitalist cure — a sweeping liquidation of bad debts and under-capitalized banks. Not only was this an unavoidable and healthy purge of economic rot, but also reflected the fact that the legions of banks which failed were flat-out insolvent and should have been closed.

How great was this meltdown? How many people lost everything in the bank failures? Was this a massive slide into a financial morass? As David Stockman summed it up, “Indeed, a single startling statistic puts paid to the whole New Deal mythology that FDR rescued the banking system after a veritable heart attack: to wit, losses at failed US banks during the entire 12-year period ending in 1932 amounted to only 2-3 percent of deposits. There never was a sweeping contagion of failure in the banking system.”

Foreshadowing President Obama’s first Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before,” FDR used this crisis to forever change the very structure of American government.

FDR didn’t introduce his sweeping changes in the dead of night. He campaigned on them. He said he would bring in a New Deal for all Americans and he did. As his first inaugural speech ended he laid his cards on the table, “It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed (sic) action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.”

In these two sentences the new president announced that if he deemed it necessary to upend the balance of powers he would do so. He then threatened to do whatever he thought necessary in the 1933 version of President Obama’s “We can’t wait” proclamation. Instead of saying “I have a pen and I have a phone,” FDR said, “But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”

Congress did not fight. They did not stand on their prerogatives as a co-equal branch. Instead they knuckled under and in 100 days created an alphabet soup of federal agencies to control everything from soup to nuts. America began its dramatic descent from freedom and liberty to servitude and regulation. With FDR’s imagery of a war against an emergency America found itself at war with a recession which had already ended successfully turning it into the Great Depression which wouldn’t end for eight more years.

Since that time we have declared war on poverty. Fifty years and several trillion dollars later and we have just as much poverty as before. We have declared war on drugs and hundreds of thousands of incarcerations and trillions of dollars later and the drug problem is worse than before. We have of course also been in either a hot or a cold war since 1941 and hundreds of thousands of lives and many trillions of dollars later we have less security than we had before.

All of this has led to an erosion of our individual liberty, personal freedom, and economic opportunity. The balance of power has all but dissolved as Congress ceded its power to the executive and the bureaucracy while nine Supreme Justices make all the final decisions.

The Constitution was written to set the foundations for how our nation should be ruled. The First Article of the Constitution established the Legislature and most of the document deals with the Legislature, obviously the most important part of our national government. The part that is closest to the people. Today that body has transferred its power and we are faced with an imperial presidency and a Supreme Court that has decreed itself to be the source and the summit of legitimacy.

John Locke, the inspiration of much that became our Constitution said in his Second Treatise of Civil Government, “The Legislative cannot transfer the Power of Making Laws to any other hands. For it being but a delegated Power from the People, they, who have it, cannot pass it over to others.”

Yet this is what has happened and this is why we are no longer forging ahead at the vanguard of humanity. We are instead rapidly becoming the source of raw materials and a market place for the goods of others: a colony in all but name. Or as the saying goes, the borrower is slave to the lender.

Everywhere I go and everyone I speak with knows America is losing its edge, sliding down a Progressive rat hole into an over-regulated shabby future in the dustbin of History. At the same time everywhere I go and everyone I speak to says, “At least it won’t happen in my day but I feel sorry for the generations coming after me.”

Why do empires fall? Because they think they won’t.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Cantor Releases Updated Report on ‘Imperial Presidency’

BY: Elizabeth Harrington

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) updated his report on the “imperial presidency” on Thursday, adding to the dozens of examples of executive overreach by the Obama administration.

“Our Founders created a series of checks and balances for our democracy to prevent any one of the three branches of government from becoming too powerful,” Cantor said. “Today, this system is under threat as the executive branch continues to bypass Congress and use executive action to promote its own agenda.”

Cantor says Obamacare is the greatest example of the administration’s “blatant disregard for the rule of law.”

The updated report cites 24 instances where the administration delayed or changed the implementation of Obamacare, which were documented by the Washington Post.

Cantor calls the law a “2,000-plus page behemoth that contained hundreds of prescriptive mandates and hard deadlines,” which he says the administration is ignoring. The list includes delays of the employer mandate, subsidy verification requirements, insurance deadlines, and two extensions that let states continue to use high-risk pools.

Most recently, the report notes a second extension, announced on March 5, to allow individuals to keep their so-called “substandard” health insurance plans that do not comply with Obamacare until October 2017.

“At a time when the law is creating more uncertainty for working families and for our economy, the president continues to circumvent Congress and issue delays to parts of the law,” Cantor said. “Not only are these delays unilateral, but they are oftentimes put forth in a way that is not apparent to the American people, buried on holiday weekends, late evenings, and even entirely behind closed doors as we saw last week.”

“The American people deserve better,” he said.

The report also updates executive actions in the area of immigration.

Aside from the “Deferred Action” program, which allows young illegal immigrants to gain legal status, the administration continued to alter immigration enforcement laws in 2013.

Cantor noted a directive in August that ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials “not to enforce immigration laws in cases in which the illegal immigrant is the primary provider for a minor child, regardless of the child’s immigration status.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced in November that illegal alien family members of servicemen and women could receive “parole-in-place” status.

“Notably, the parole statute, the regulations, and the legislative history do not seem to contemplate parole for: (1) aliens who are already in the United States illegally, (2) an entire category of people, or (3) an indefinite period of time,” the report notes. “Extending parole in place in this manner is a re-write of the law.”

Cantor’s first report, released in October 2012, cited more than 40 examples, including lesser-known administrative actions such as a refusal to enforce the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and rewriting bankruptcy law.

To combat the unilateral moves, House Republicans passed two bills this week, including the “Enforce the Law Act,” legislation that would expedite the process for Congress to sue the administration for not enforcing laws.

The House also passed the “Faithful Execution of the Law” Act, which would require the administration to notify Congress whenever it “implements a formal or informal policy to not enforce a provision of law.”

“The president’s blatant disregard for Congress is causing confusion, harming families, and continuing us on a path farther and farther from the rule of law and balance of powers contained in our Constitution,” Cantor said. “The House will continue to conduct oversight to protect the American people from executive over-reach and return our country to a government that functions as it should within the framework of our Constitution.”

The Growing List Of Obama’s End-Runs Around Congress And The Constitution

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) refreshed his list of all the ways President Barack Obama has flouted the Constitution by shouldering the legislative burden of Congress on his own shoulders.
On his official .gov page, Cantor outlined a new batch of “Recent Examples of the Executive Branch Refusing to Faithfully Execute the Law” under the heading “The Imperial Presidency.” He’s been keeping tabs on this since October of 2012, when he first issued a list of more than 40 separate examples “of the breakdown of the rule of law” under Obama.
Here are some of the latest highlights:
Immigration Enforcement

Non-enforcement of Immigration Laws for Parents and Guardians. On August 23, 2013, the Obama administration issued a policy directive instructing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials not to enforce immigration laws in cases in which the illegal immigrant is the primary provider for a minor child, regardless of the child’s immigration status, or in which the illegal immigrant is the parent or legal guardian of a child who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This is another example of President Obama abusing his authority and unilaterally refusing to enforce the immigration laws by directing officials to stop removing broad categories of unlawful immigrants.
Unlawful Extension of Parole in Place. On November 15, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a policy memorandum providing that spouses, children, and parents of those who are serving-or who have previously served—in the Armed Forces of the United States could receive “parole-in-place” on a categorical basis. Notably, the parole statute, the regulations, and the legislative history do not seem to contemplate parole for: (1) aliens who are already in the United States illegally, (2) an entire category of people, or (3) an indefinite period of time. Extending parole in place in this manner is a re-write of the law.
Suspending Criminal Laws

Amending Statutory Mandatory Minimums by Executive Decree.
On August 12, 2013, Attorney General Holder announced in a speech to the American Bar Association changes in federal mandatory minimum sentencing policy regarding low-level, non-violent drug offenders. Although Members of Congress may agree with many of the policy issues Attorney General Holder outlined in his announcement, reform regarding mandatory minimums is constitutionally required to come from Congress. But rather than work with Congress to address issues with mandatory minimums, the Obama administration re-wrote federal law by executive fiat.
Recent Judicial Decisions

Nuclear Waste Disposal:
The original Imperial Presidency report noted how the Administration was refusing to implement the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. On August 13, 2013, a Federal Court of Appeals found that the Obama Administration was indeed not in compliance with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and issued a writ of mandamus compelling compliance.
Net Neutrality Rules:
The original Imperial Presidency report noted how the Administration’s appointees to the FCC were attempting to illegally impose net neutrality rules on the internet. In January 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit decided a case brought by Verizon against the FCC, appealing the FCC’s second attempt at imposing net neutrality. Again, the court found that the FCC lacked the authority to apply common carrier rules — those designed for monopoly era telephone networks — on the Internet.
War on Coal:
The original Imperial Presidency report detailed a variety of extra-legal steps the Administration was taking as part of its “war on coal.” Since then, the EPA took the unprecedented step of unilaterally and retroactively revoking a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 dredge or fill permit that had already been issued by the Corps for a coal mine (the Spruce Mine) in West Virginia, even though EPA was involved throughout the permit application process and the permittee had complied with their permit ever since it was issued three years earlier. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, recently overruled EPA’s permit revocation action, ruling that EPA did not have the authority under the CWA to revoke a permit that the Corps had already issued. Not content with the Federal Court’s ruling that placed limitations on EPA’s authority, the Obama Administration has appealed the court’s ruling in hopes of validating their quest for expanded regulatory authority under the CWA. If EPA is allowed to prevail in this action, projects all around the country will be in danger of having their permits revoked any time EPA so chooses.
Cantor’s Obamacare list, borrowed from The Washington Post (of all places), is too long to list. You can see that, as well as his ongoing report on many of Obama’s other Constitutional infringements, here.
Introduction

In October of 2012, my office released a 33-page report documenting the rise of the “Imperial Presidency.” The report cited over 40 separate examples of the break-down in the rule of law under the Obama Administration. As the report noted at the time, the break-down in the rule of law not only was of significant constitutional concern, but also negatively impacted economic growth and individual prosperity.

Unfortunately, since the release of that first report, the pattern of overreach by the Executive Branch has only continued. The President has even gone so far as to embrace a “pen and phone” approach to his office which suggests he need not follow the established constitutional and legal framework under which our government is supposed to operate. Nowhere is this more apparent than when the Administration decides that as a matter of policy they will not enforce the laws of our nation.

Share The Imperial Presidency on Twitter:
The following addendum to the original “Imperial Presidency” report details other recent pronouncements from the Administration regarding their refusal to enforce the law and in addition provides examples of where the courts have been stepping in to uphold the rule of law.

Since becoming the majority party in the House of Representatives in 2011, House Republicans have considered numerous pieces of legislation dealing with specific situations where the Administration is ignoring the law, attempting to rewrite the law, or refusing to enforce the law. In some cases the Congressional spotlight and the threat of legislative action has caused the Administration to back down. For example, the National Labor Relations Board ultimately dropped its push to tell a private company where it could locate its facilities. And just this week, as the House was prepared to vote on a bill to overturn a proposed Administration rule that would dramatically alter the way the prescription drug program under Medicare operates in a way that would hurt seniors, the Administration announced that they would no longer pursue its proposed rule.But the sustained pattern of willfully refusing to enforce the law as written, has demonstrated that a more comprehensive approach is necessary. This week the House will consider two bills reported by the Judiciary Committee to restore the proper balance of power and protect our constitutional system. The first bill ensures that Congress and the American people are notified whenever any Administration official implements a formal or informal policy to not enforce a provision of law. The second establishes an expedited process for either the House or Senate to go to court to compel the Administration to enforce the law as written. More specifically:

Faithful Execution of the Law Act:
The Faithful Execution of the Law Act (H.R. 3973) strengthens current law and promotes transparency and honesty in the federal government by requiring all federal officials who establish or implement a formal or informal policy to refrain from enforcing a federal law to report to Congress on the reason for the non-enforcement.

Become a Citizen Cosponsor of the Faithful Execution of the Law Act:

Cosponsor
The ENFORCE the Law Act:
The Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law (ENFORCE the Law) Act (H.R. 4138) will help rein in the growing problem of executive overreach and restore balance to the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution. Specifically, the ENFORCE the Law Act puts a procedure in place to permit the House, or the Senate, to authorize a lawsuit against the Executive Branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. The legislation also provides for expedited consideration of any such lawsuit, first through a three-judge panel at the federal district court level and then by providing for direct appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

Become a Citizen Cosponsor of the ENFORCE the Law Act:

Cosponsor
This expedited review is crucial in order to ensure that when a lawsuit is brought against the Administration to enforce our laws, the courts not only grant Congress standing, but also hear the case on an expedited timeline to prevent the President from stalling the litigation until his term is up. In addition, the bill statutorily mandates that the courts set aside their own court-created standing rules and thereby prevents courts from using procedural excuses to avoid making decisions in these important separation of powers cases.

Eric Cantor
Majority Leader

Praetorian Progressives and Their Imperial Dreams

 Under President Obama we doubled-down in Afghanistan?  We sent more of our fellow citizens to a long hard slog in a country whose synonym is Quagmire while announcing the eventual date of their withdrawal at the same time.  In an unprecedented action Mr. Obama announced our attack as he heralded our retreat in a calculated political decision that has cost lives, squandered treasure and told the Taliban to wait in the wings for the second act.

As our economy was being outsourced, our debt monetized, and our infrastructure crumbled we meekly followed the leader deeper into a thankless nation-building campaign in the Little Bighorn of nations.  A nation that is more of a Western construct than an actual nation-state, and the tribes which inhabit this mountainous waste have resisted and foiled every empire from Alexander toMoscow. 

There is a fundamental difference between a republic and an empire.  Republics are based upon the consent of the governed.  Empires are imposed from above.  Republics foster a community of equals each with the opportunity to achieve.  Empires exalt the ruling class at the expensive of everyone else.  Though settled by European kingdoms seeking empires theUnited Stateswasn’t founded to become an empire.  Individuals fought against the empire building tyrants until their determination and resolve won independence against all odds.

It is time to re-thinkAmerica’s international military commitments.  It is our world wide web of foreign commitments and entanglements that has been used by the self-righteous Progressives and their cronies in the military industrial complex in their efforts to transform theUnited Statesfrom republic to empire.  They have used the never ending wars for peace to regiment our society and create a centrally-planned bureaucratic mega government.

 George Washington warned us to avoid foreign entanglements telling us, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world…”  He warned us about allowing the military to grow to big, “Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.”

Thomas Jefferson outlined the essential principles of our government which included this advice concerning foreign affairs, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.” 

For the first 100 years of our existence we followed Washington’s great rule, “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.”

The temptation to empire captured the American imagination in the 1890s: the beginning of the Progressive Era.  This was a time whenEuropewas rushing to gobble up the last places open for colonization or carving up those areas unsuited for colonies into spheres of influence. 

Under President McKinley the United States entered the scramble for colonies in the Spanish-American War winning Puerto Pico and thePhilippines as well as a long war against those in thePhilippines who wanted the independence they had expected when liberated from the Spanish Empire by theAmericanRepublic. 

Teddy Roosevelt the great grandfather of the Progressives followed McKinley walking softly while carrying a big stick in the form of the Great White Fleet.  He used America’s new found industrial might and military power for multiple intrusions into the sovereignty of Latin American countries.  While better known for his war against business, or trust busting as it was then called, the first President Roosevelt extolled war as a means to national greatness, “No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war”

After being re-elected on the promise to keep Americaneutral President Wilson proclaimed America must fight to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”  An adventure which cost over 300,000 casualties and which actually expanded the empires ofEngland,France, andJapan while sowing the seeds of an even greater war. 

After Wilson’s war the Congress of the United Statesre-asserted control by rejecting the international entanglements of the League of Nations Treaty returning to the traditional American foreign policy of freedom of trade and freedom of action. 

Under FDR America fought an undeclared naval war against Germany in 1940 and 41 and imposed draconian embargoes against Japan prior toPearl Harbor.  Once we were attacked we had to defend ourselves.  However, when World War II ended with the defeat of German, Italian, and Japanese totalitarianism and the vast expansion of Soviet totalitarianism, the guiding light ofAmerica foreign policy seems to have been permanently extinguished. 

As the British Empire sailed into the sunset we filled the void taking up the role of leader of the West in the Cold War. For forty-six years we faced the Soviets until they collapsed.  Then instead of coming home we spread our wings even further embracing Eastern Europe.  We made a vain promise to send young Americans to fight for Estonia and Slovakia.  We coaxed color-coded revolutions all around Russia while our allies moved the EU to the East.  All of this rebuffed the hand of the Russians and made them instead of friends bitter foes who realized America had exploited their weakness and attempted to surround them with enemies.  This is the exact scenario which has haunted Russian paranoid dreams for centuries.

It is against the traditional principles of American foreign policy to establish and maintain an empire of far-flung outposts.  Doing so has broken the bank and we cannot afford to be the Policeman of the world.  We cannot afford to build nations for people who don’t want them while allowing our own infrastructure to decay.  How did a peaceful nation of free citizens become the advocate of pre-emptive attack and endless occupation?  How much blood and treasure did we invest in Iraq and what will be the result: a precipitous pull-out resulting in a Shi’a ally for Iran

The war inAfghanistanwas obviously defensive and retaliatory in nature given the Taliban’s support and collusion with Al Qaeda.  But ten years later what’s it all about?  Are we really dedicated to building a modern nation for tribal people who have no sense of nationhood?  Have we blundered into the same trap that brought the Soviets to their knees?

And it isn’t only our current hot deployment that is problematic. 

The United Stateshas armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were these allies on 9-11?  Where are they inAfghanistan?  Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Sell the bases and save the money.  Station our troops on the borders to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who are overloading our systems. Let the maintenance of the bases and the spending of the troops contribute to our domestic economy instead of the economies of other countries.  If we need to project American power, use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  ProtectAmericaand rebuild our infrastructure. 

When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get ’em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That’s the best thing in the world to do with them.” 

We must jettison the Empire to save the Republic!  If we don’t the imperial power will swamp the republican nature.  We will retain the forms our Founders gave us as we find ourselves under the jackbooted heel of the Praetorian Progressives and their imperial dreams.  

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Obama, Warren and The Imperial Presidency

The Wall Street journal
OPINION
SEPTEMBER 22, 2010
The Senate should vote on all senior appointments within 60 days. But the president should give it a chance to vote.


By BRUCE ACKERMAN
President Obama’s appointment of Elizabeth Warren late last week is another milestone down the path toward an imperial presidency. During America’s first 150 years, Ms. Warren’s appointment as a special adviser to the White House would have been unthinkable. Today, it’s par for the course.
Only in 1939 did Franklin Roosevelt win the right to appoint six “special assistants.” To gain congressional approval, he pledged that his assistants would act strictly as advisers. Thus they did not require Senate confirmation.
Since Roosevelt’s initiative, presidents of both parties have consistently expanded the size and power of the White House establishment. There are now more than 500 super-loyalists intervening in the affairs of Cabinet departments. But until now, presidents have maintained the legal fiction that they were merely advisers without decision-making powers.
No longer. As White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained, Ms. Warren has been appointed “to lead” a team of “about 30 or 40 people at the Department of Treasury working” in “standing up” the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This burst of candor punctures the legal fiction that has exempted White House appointees from the Constitution’s requirement of “advice and consent” from the Senate. Since Ms. Warren will be a key executive in Treasury, earning the salary of an undersecretary, shouldn’t she be treated as an undersecretary and be required to run the gauntlet of Senate approval?
To deflect this question, the president’s lawyers have cobbled together yet another legal fiction. The trick is to give her a second appointment. In addition to serving as President Obama’s special assistant, she will also serve as a special adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. This allows her to pretend she is Mr. Geithner’s humble consultant when she and her staff come up with an action plan for the new agency.
This legalistic gambit serves as a fig leaf for a very different reality: Mr. Geithner will never reject any of Ms. Warren’s “advice.” The simple truth is that the Treasury secretary is being transformed into a rubber stamp for a White House staffer.
In his great book on 19th-century British government, “The English Constitution,” Walter Bagehot emphasized the importance of distinguishing the “efficient” from the “dignified” aspects of the constitution. Britain’s “dignified” constitution then focused on the Queen, diverting attention from the “efficient” power wielded by the Cabinet.
A similar but opposite transformation is happening in today’s America. The dignified Constitution emphasizes Senate confirmation of cabinet officers, but effective power is increasingly exercised by presidential assistants. Despite Mr. Obama’s campaign against the excesses of the Bush White House, he is now making his own contribution to the ongoing construction of an imperial presidency.
Maybe so, say the president’s defenders, but the Senate has only itself to blame. John Kennedy had to wait two months for the Senate to confirm his initial round of nominees. It took six months for Ronald Reagan, and nine for George W. Bush, and even longer for Mr. Obama. Given the Senate’s increasing intransigence, the president has no choice but to engage in legal fictions that will allow him to govern effectively. Although Republicans are condemning Mr. Obama for creating another White House czar, they will change their tune if their party regains control of the presidency and confronts a Democratic roadblock in the Senate.
Americans can break through this impasse if both sides negotiate a “grand bargain.” Here is the deal: The Senate should change its rules to require an up-or-down vote on all executive branch appointments within 60 days. In exchange, the president should sign legislation to require Senate approval of all senior White House appointments. By reaching this agreement, the president regains the powers to govern effectively and the Senate regains its authority to approve all major appointments—regardless of their location in the executive branch.
This grand bargain requires both sides to give up the petty privileges of the existing system. Senators will lose their power to hold up nominations to blackmail the administration into approving their pet projects. Presidents will lose their ability to appoint super-loyalists who can’t convince 51 senators that they merit powerful White House positions. But the rest of us will profit greatly from the reinvigoration of the founding principle of checks-and-balances for a new century.
Mr. Ackerman is a professor at Yale and the author of “The Decline and Fall of the American Republic,” forthcoming from Harvard University Press.