Congressional speeches are generally hot air, politicians blathering to a largely empty chamber. But on January 9th a discussion in the House of Representatives soared above that mediocrity. For those Americans who worry that Congress no longer cares about preserving the Constitution, the words below will provide reassurance that there are a few people with backbone in Washington D.C.
Congressman Tom Rice (R - South Carolina) and several of his 29 co-sponsors defended their resolution calling on the House of Representatives to sue President Obama in order to compel him to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” as the U.S. Constitution commands. They cited his changes to Obamacare by fiat, his defiance of U.S. immigration law, and his waiving the federal work requirement for welfare benefits.
In the past, the Supreme Court has ruled that Members of Congress cannot sue the president, and that power struggles between the branches must be resolved politically, rather than by judges. Therefore, Resolution 442 has an uphill battle. But the resolution’s backers expressed the bedrock principles of this nation, and addressed our gravest danger. Their words are worth remembering. President Obama is the danger the U.S. Constitution was written to prevent, because he repeatedly seizes more power than the Constitution allows a president to have.
“Our Founders, Mr. Speaker, designed a system of government based upon a separation of powers. The legislative branch enacts the laws and the executive branch, the President, enforces those laws. They did that to protect our very, very fragile freedom. We cannot allow those separations to be eroded. One man who can both make the laws and enforce the laws is more a monarch than a President.
“Article II, section 3 of the Constitution requires, in part, that the President take care to faithfully execute the Nation's laws. In 1792, when George Washington was faced with enforcing an unpopular whiskey tax, he wrote in a letter that:
‘It is my duty to see that these laws are executed. To permit them to be trampled upon with impunity would be repugnant to that duty.’
“President Obama, on the other hand, has, throughout his administration, picked and chosen which laws or parts thereof he wishes to enforce. … This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democrat issue. It is not a Tea Party action. This is not for messaging. H.R. 442 merely recognizes that no American, including the President, is above the law.”
Rep. Rob Woodall (R - Georgia):