Is our Constitution still valid?
Published 10:00 am Friday, September 11, 2015
Fifty-two years ago, when I was in Mr. Nieboer’s civics class in Niles High School, I remember that he taught us the federal government had three equal and independent branches of government: executive, legislative, and judiciary.
The legislature would make the laws, the executive would administer the laws and the judiciary would review the laws to determine if they were constitutional.
With President Obama, we now have a president where the executive takes actions without regard to the legislature.
I’ll point out that the president has unilaterally changed Obamacare, our immigration laws, and now made the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Mr. Obama has said, “I have a phone and a pen.” He was alluding to what he would do unilaterally if the Congress didn’t act.
Mr. President, that’s unconstitutional.
It’s no mystery why we have transitioned from a Democrat House and Senate to a Republican House and Senate in the seven years since Mr. Obama has been in office-— the American voter is not happy with Democrat governance.
So on what principle does Mr. Obama base these unilateral actions?
As far as I can determine, he maintains that, in his opinion, these actions are the right thing to do.
Very soon, we must return to our system of checks and balances or our form of democracy will be forever corrupted. Let’s begin to return to the Constitution with the Iran nuclear deal. Congress should insist that sanctions against Iran will not be lifted until Congress affirmatively acts on the agreement.
Mr. Obama has turned the Constitution on its head.
Instead of a treaty, which the Iran agreement certainly is and would require a two thirds vote in the Senate, we have a resolution where the Congress must act to stop the president. That means 41 senators can filibuster and prevent a vote. Forty-one senators is a far cry from the 67 that a treaty would require.
What kind of precedent has Mr. Obama set?
Why would any future president undergo the laborious and sometimes frustrating trouble to develop a political consensus when he could act unilaterally and dare the Congress to oppose him.
If you read history, that’s the story of the Stuart kings and the parliament in 17th century England.
I thought our American Revolution and the constitution that followed had settled that.
Michael Waldron is a retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army, who was born and raised in Niles. He previously served on the Niles Community School Board of Education. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.