Congress Shows Us How to Shoot Ourselves in the Foot

Published at Canada Free Press on 03/22/15

Hey, Congress, if you’re looking around for who to blame for causing all the uproar about unconstitutional edicts, executive orders and administrative mandates please stop pointing your collective finger at Obama.  You should be looking in a mirror for creating unconstitutional legislation in the first place.

Granted, Obama is the man with his finger on the trigger, so to speak, but (again and forever more) collectively you, Congress, gave him the gun and the ammo.  How many times have you written laws that allowed the sitting Secretary-of-Whatever-Department-of-the-Administration to implement their ideology rather than limiting themselves to administer laws that have been created at your direction?   You gave the sitting President the power to work around Congress by defining in legislation (that Congress itself wrote) that his (or in the future possibly her) administration will not merely administer and enforce law, but will have the authority to create and interpret law.

And even now, knowing that you might have used a little more thought to address the problem, it’s too late.  Why?  Because in order to correct the ability of the President to overreach your intentions when you dreamed up a bill, you would now require that the existing bills be either repealed or amended to take back the authority as defined in the Constitution.  So what then is the fly in that ointment?  In order to take back the power you have already granted to the President you would have to get him to agree, and not veto such a repeal or amendment.  Good planning, folks.  You just legislatively cut your own throats.

Of course I certainly don’t mean every single member of Congress. There are inevitably the rare mavericks who actually have read the Constitution, and understand what the plain English of that document actually says, and believe that it’s a good idea – as written.

The rest of Congress seems to fall into the “we’ll ‘interpret’ the Constitution before it gets to the Supreme Court” category.  As I recall my own education, the word “interpret” has never been used to direct the Congress in an effort to draft a law.  Nowhere does the Constitution ever use the words “delegate”, “delegated” or “delegation” anywhere except the Tenth Amendment, and then in the following context:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

So delegating the work of Congress to the various administrative agencies of the Executive branch of the government is unconstitutional.  Powers of any kind were not delegated to the Executive branch by the Tenth Amendment.

The ability of the United States of America to make treaties, is also a problem area.  The Constitution clearly allows the President (in Section 2 of Article II) to negotiate with foreign powers.  The specific language states:

“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;…”

There is no other word except for the word “treaty” to describe such agreements, and then only after two-thirds of the Senators who have been elected agree that the terms of the treaty in question is something that they agree with.  Nowhere in the Constitution is there a mitigating phrase such as “Unless the President doesn’t feel that he could ever get it approved by the Senate, and then the Senate could be ignored.”

Secretary of State John Kerry offered what he and Obama must have viewed as an olive branch to Congress by stating that the proposed (but as yet not finalized) nuclear proliferation “agreement” would “not be a binding agreement.”  Unless the document that is finalized is approved by two-thirds of the Senate, it would not be a treaty.  If it is not a treaty, then it is about as binding (and important) as Obama’s March Madness bracket picks.

Apparently Barack Obama has “interpreted” the Constitution differently.  He seems to often be in accord with the words of Mr. H.L. Mencken who wrote in the July 26, 1920 issue of the Baltimore Sun:

“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.  On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.”

Sadly, it appears that Mr. Mencken didn’t take a view that was appropriately expansive.  He apparently thought the entire problem was lodged in our selection of a Chief Executive.  He should have broadened his description to include the entirety of Congress.


About Jim Yardley

Retired after 30 years as a financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and independent voter.
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