October 12th, 2012

Can a President Ignore the Rule of Law?


Once again, we find the principles set forth in The Second Bill of Rights and The New Federalist Papers in close agreement with a recent post by Prof. Thomas Sowell.


In a piece entitled Issues or America, Prof. Sowell raises the same constitutional question that is the subject of the first amendment in The Second Bill of Rights.  Sowell uses two recent Executive Orders by the President as his examples:  the first relating to children of people who are here illegally, and the second relating to purported Presidential waivers of statutory requirements set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act.

Here are excerpts from Prof. Sowell:
“There are some very serious issues at stake in this year’s election — so many that some people may not be able to see the forest for the trees.  Individual issues are the trees, but the forest is the future of America as we have known it. . . .

The America that has flourished for more than two centuries is being quietly but steadily dismantled by the Obama administration, during the process of dealing with particular issues.
. . . .
The separation of powers into legislative, executive and judicial branches of government is at the heart of the Constitution of the United States — and the Constitution is at the heart of freedom for Americans.

No President of the United States is authorized to repeal parts of legislation passed by Congress. He may veto the whole legislation, but then Congress can override his veto if they have enough votes. Nevertheless, every President takes an oath to faithfully execute the laws that have been passed and sustained — not just the ones he happens to agree with.

If laws passed by the elected representatives of the people can be simply over-ruled unilaterally by whoever is in the White House, then we are no longer a free people, choosing what laws we want to live under.

When a President can ignore the plain language of duly passed laws, and substitute his own executive orders, then we no longer have ‘a government of laws, and not of men’ but a President ruling by decree, like the dictator in some banana republic.”

Prof. Sowell’s concern is one shared by us in drafting Amendment 1, Section 1 of The Second Bill of Rights.  Section 1 of that first amendment defines The Rule of Law in the United States:

“1.  The Rule of Law in the United States shall forever be comprised of:  allocated powers among the people, the states, and the national government under this Constitution; broad liberty rights retained by the people; the police power retained by each State to preserve the common exercise of liberty rights; limited, enumerated legislative powers vested in and exercisable only by an elected Congress; separation of national powers among Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary; and development of the common law consistent therewith by an independent state and federal judiciary.”

In essay Number 9 of The New Federalist Papers, Valerius points out the essential difference between the American form of constitutional government and other governments.

“The United States constitution was established by the people and cannot be altered by the government. . . . . [T]he Constitution [is] the paramount law of the land, established by the people, and unalterable by the government serving them.

[Quoting Madison] The important distinction so well understood in America between a Constitution established by the people and unalterable by the government [on the one hand], and a law established by [another] government and alterable by [that] government, seems to have been little understood and less observed in any other country.  Wherever the supreme power of legislation has resided, has been supposed to reside also a full power to change the form of the government.  Even in Great Britain, where the principles of political and civil liberty have been most discussed, and where we hear most of the rights of the Constitution, it is maintained that the authority of the Parliament is transcendent and uncontrollable as well with regard to the Constitution as the ordinary object of legislative provision.”

We are different from Great Britain, and the other countries of Europe.  The constitution cannot be altered by either house of Congress – the Senate or the House of Representatives.  It cannot be altered by the President – or any of his appointed subordinates.  It cannot be altered – in theory – by the Supreme Court.  The constitution can be amended, and the people have power to do so.

Sowell has it exactly right when he states that the Constitution is at the heart of freedom for Americans. 

In support of freedom for all Americans, Amendment 1, Section 1 of The Second Bill of Rights expressly restores this founding principle.

To read more about how to restore the principles of individual freedom and liberty, click (i) on the Book link (top right), (ii) on the Quick Link (bottom ), or (iii) go directly to Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0984876405/

With malice toward none, and charity for all!


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