The one thing those who set up this country, people who actually put their lives and wealth at risk, for after all a revolt against the king was treason punishable by a neck noose on a scaffold, was to insure that no king would govern our land.
The idea that they came up with was a tripartite type government with each part having its own separate duties and responsibilities in which two could always act as a check upon another one usurping areas outside its assigned realm.
Article I, states: “All legislative Powers granted shall be vested in a Congress . . . . “ Congress consisted of two houses, a senate and house of representative. Among the powers of Congress explicitly noted were “To regulate commerce with foreign Nations” and “To establish an Uniform Rule of Naturalization”
Article II, states: “The executive power shall be vested in the President of the United States . . . .” Prior to taking office the president must take the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully executed the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”
The powers granted to the president are those of “Commander in Chief”, and with Senate oversight to “make Treaties”, “appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, judges of the Supreme Court” and other officers. He can fill vacancies in those offices, give a report to Congress on the State of the Union, “recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient,” recall Congress in cases of disagreement, receive Ambassadors, and “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . . . “
Article III states: “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and such inferior Courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” It continues: “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution”
As you can see it is quite a simple document with only four more articles in addition to the above three. The idea is Congress makes the laws and the president makes sure they are carried out. There is no provision for the president to make laws; nor is there anything in the Constitution that suggests the president does not have to carry out the laws that have been enacted.
We have seen that President Obama rather than letting Congress decide the law, because there may be disagreement over what it should be, he has decided he has the power to enact laws himself, or in the alternative, he can ignore the laws that have been enacted. There is nothing in the Constitution that lets him do that rather every word in the Constitution shouts out that should not be done.
The actions of President Obama are being justified by pointing to actions by other presidents who may also have ignored the mandate of the Constitution and acted on what they thought was best for the nation. That may be so but it does not make them right. That Congress has sat on its hands while a president acts in defiance of the Constitution by failing to challenge the president does not mean the door has been opened for all subsequent presidents to disregard the clear mandates of the Constitution.
It was under the kings of England that the power of both giving the law and enforcing it was in the hands of one person. Many died, not only in the revolt against English rule but in subsequent wars, to keep our country operating with its checks and balances.
If Obama can enact laws or ignore laws enacted, then we are slipping back into the days when the king ruled. That you may favor what he has done is no reason to shut your eyes that what he is doing is plainly wrong and violates both his oath and the Constitution itself.
Article II also states: “The President . . . shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, . . . other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Even were the violation of his oath and his seizing of legislative powers from Congress to be defined as high Crimes and Misdemeanors the circus that would come about to remove the president would tear our country apart at a time when we must be more united than error.
There is another way. Congress, or its houses, should immediately file for a hearing in the Supreme Court to stay the execution of any legislative action and for an order requiring the president to faithfully execute the laws as established. Although no provision seems to have been made in the Constitution for that type of action I assume that is because the writers of our Constitution could not conceive of the executive acting as we have seen Obama (and other presidents) who seek to ignore the clear words of the Constitution.