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The Czar System Undermines Federalism

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

When the Founding Fathers created a government for our Republic, they took pains to ensure that it was such a one as would keep powers of various governmental branches in check via the powers of other branches. In other words, each of the three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—would not only have distinct roles to play in governance, but would also serve as a check on the powers of the other two branches at any given time.

The Obama administration’s obsession with appointing a wide range of “czars” flies in the face of this construct and is dangerous to our form of government.

Under the system America’s founders created, a piece of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, for example, can be overturned (or disallowed) by the Supreme Court if said court finds the law unconstitutional. On the other hand, if a president has a hankering for legislation that Congress believes to be unconstitutional, House members can balk at the idea and refuse to take up the legislation in the first place, thus avoiding a constitutional train-wreck by deciding not to board the train to begin with.


Therefore, while the powers of our government can truly be said to rest with the American people, who elect presidents, congressional members, and senators—the latter of which are charged with confirming or rejecting judicial nominees—the Founding Fathers envisioned this power being delegated by the people to the various agents of the three branches of government (those agents most popularly referred to as the president, congressional members, senators, and jurists).

It is important to note that none of these various agents has original power in and of themselves. Rather, the power resides wholly in the people, and the agents of the government only have such powers which they derive from the citizens, as outlined in the Constitution.

Nowhere in the Constitution will one find even the slightest hint of the office of “Czar,” much less the power of a czar to rule over the American people. Yet the Obama administration is rife with such officeholders, put in place as a way to enlarge the role of the president in the midst of system that was not meant to be enlarged upon in such a way.


For example, President Obama has a health czar: (Nancy-Ann DeParle), an information czar

(Vivek Kundra), an intellectual property czar (Victoria Espinel), and an intelligence czar (James Clapper). None of these agents are kept in check by the system our Founders established and which has kept our nation politically solvent for nearly 240 years.

And in addition to these czars, the Obama administration literally has approximately 34 others.

From an auto recovery czar to an urban affairs czar to a Great Lakes czar to a Mideast peace czar, each of these agents are rogue as far as the Constitution is concerned. And their existence alone is a threat to the balance in government we’ve witnessed throughout our nation’s history.

Placing power in the hands of unelected officials who have no explicit constitutional limits on their powers, and no congressional oversight on their offices, is certainly a recipe for disaster.

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