When Barack Obama became President of the United States, he swore an oath to “preserve, protect and defend our Constitution.” Unfortunately, evidence has accumulated ever since that he feels no obligation to honor his commitment.
In fact, Mr. Obama has been violating that oath, left and, well, left. Here are a few of the most egregious examples:
Under the President’s health care legislation, now universally known as Obamacare, Americans are compelled to purchase health care. The constitutionality of this measure is being tested in court at this writing. But such a mandate smacks of big government overreach that must be struck down by the Supreme Court.
Then, late last year, there were Mr. Obama’s “recess” appointments of several controversial nominees to positions requiring Senate confirmation. For the first time in the country’s history, a president made such appointments when the Senate was not actually in recess.
On the basis of this precedent, Mr. Obama (or his successors) may choose to flout Senators’ constitutional prerogative even further – say by making recess appointments when the Senate breaks for lunch. And, given the lack of outcry or meaningful push-back from Senators to date, whynot?
The latest, and one of the most ominous examples of President Obama’s low regard for the Constitution, came to light in congressional testimony last week by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. He told incredulous Senators that the United States would only go to war in Syria if it gets international permission. Wherever you come down on the advisability of America engaging militarily in yet-another Middle Eastern nation, if we decide it is in our national interest to do so, it should be up to our elected representatives, not the United Nations, the Arab League or some other multilateral entity.
Mr. Panetta added true insult to constitutional injury. He declared that the administration might or might not inform Congress should it decide to use force. Presumably, any such decision would, like the U.S. intervention in Libya, be dressed up as a humanitarian operation. Its true purpose, however, would surely be to topple the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad – a government that, like Muammar Qaddafi’s, it was, until recently, assiduously romancing.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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