Reining in America's Greatest Lawbreaker, President Obama
The Hill reports that Republican members of Congress are contemplating actions to combat President Obama's lawbreaking methods of ruling from the Oval Office.
"GOP officials have long claimed that the president has violated the law and the Constitution through administrative actions on issues ranging from immigration to nominations to the U.S. military involvement in Libya," writes The Hill. Conservative Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah is quoted, "There are a lot of examples of this."
A lot, indeed, and not just recently. As reported at American Thinker last year in March, nine GOP state attorneys general issued a report on Obama's unprecedented officious lawbreaking.
Obama has now reached the tipping point, however, with his illegal "fix" of Obamacare designed to overcome his lie that Americans can keep their health insurance. The president's open lawbreaking following his notorious lying puts Democrats' electoral prospects at risk. It frustrates the unquestioning goodwill and endless love of some members of the political establishment.
Obama has lied to the American people many times, which is unbecoming of his office. But his unilateral actions in violation of the Constitution and even statutory law are so brazen that they seem calculated to undermine our very system of government, even to the point that they can be called "un-American" from the perspective of our heritage.
British Member of Parliament Daniel Hannan has a marvelous essay at The Wall Street Journal adapted from his new book, "Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World." The topic of his essay helps us understand why Barack Obama is actually the greatest lawbreaker in American history.
If you consider that claim hyperbole, factor this: No person, corporation, union boss or corporate CEO -- no criminal -- who has violated the law could count every American as their victims. President Obama can.
Hannan's essay describes how Americans and the British share an exceptionalism that has its origins in the law -- the common law, to be precise.
We share a view of law that protects individual liberty and property rights through ideals and notions guaranteeing due process of law, jury trials, freedoms of speech and of publication, and so on. The law punishes and remedies the wrong, of course, but this view of the law is that its purpose is also to protect our liberty and property rights.
That view of the law is contrary to the one held by progressives, which is that the law is to be used to coerce behavior of the people even at the expense of individual liberty and property rights.
As Hannan writes:
Above all, liberty was tied up with something that foreign observers could only marvel at: the miracle of the common law. Laws weren't written down in the abstract and then applied to particular disputes; they built up, like a coral reef, case by case. They came not from the state but from the people. The common law wasn't a tool of government but an ally of liberty: It placed itself across the path of the Stuarts and George III; it ruled that the bonds of slavery disappeared the moment a man set foot on English soil.
There was a fashion for florid prose in the 18th century, but the second American president, John Adams, wasn't exaggerating when he identified the Anglosphere's beautiful, anomalous legal system . . . as the ultimate guarantor of freedom: "The liberty, the unalienable, indefeasible rights of men, the honor and dignity of human nature . . . and the universal happiness of individuals, were never so skillfully and successfully consulted as in that most excellent monument of human art, the common law of England."
These ideals are of law emanating from the people to govern government itself -- a republican form of government with controls on those who govern. When the law governs government -- when our government is bound down by the law -- our liberty is best protected.
No list of the greatest documents of liberty is complete without the Magna Carta, wherein the King was told by the people that he would be ruled by law while he simultaneously ruled his people. The Magna Carta established these principles, and the common law further evolved.
The United States Constitution incorporates these common law principles and ideals, and affirms and institutionalizes even more such as checks and balances, and the separation of powers. It is through these structures, institutions and ideals of law governing government that liberty is best protected.
And that is the purpose of the Constitution. It is a law that doesn't merely constitute or form our government; it governs government. Violators of the Constitution are violators of law.
It is by the law that governs and controls government that we have the greatest liberty and equality under the law. That is why America is exceptional. Freedom breeds the most opportunity for the most people. Opportunity allows for the greatest level of achievement.
We are exceptional not by national origin, but because our national origin guarantees that we have law that rules the government that rules us.
That is our English heritage. President Obama is hostile to this view of the law, believing he can fundamentally transform America by undermining this law.
Under Obama, we have 'trickle-down lawbreaking,' as with former IRS official Lois Lerner who read signals from the White House to violate the very laws she was supposed to enforce. The signals for government bureaucrats to violate the law are everywhere in the Obama administration.
How, then, will congressional Republicans rein in Obama's lawbreaking?
For all the criticisms directed at Senator Ted Cruz and other constitutional conservatives purportedly over tactics, establishment GOP leaders have demonstrated that they are not up to the mission. Real leaders will stand up and call out President Obama as America's greatest lawbreaker.