These clips have been making the rounds, and for good reason. The gentleman from South Carolina, a former federal prosecutor, was en fuego on the House floor yesterday as he rose to defend the constitution's separation of powers. Gowdy was advocating on behalf Republicans' ENFORCE Act, which is meant to grant members of Congress standing to sue the executive branch if an administration arbitrarily disregards duly-enacted laws. President Obama issued a veto threat over the bill, which passed mostly along party lines:
President Obama is threatening to veto a law that would allow Congress to sue him in federal courts for arbitrarily changing or refusing to enforce federal laws because it "violates the separation of powers" by encroaching on his presidential authority. "[T]he power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations," the White House Office of Management and Budget said Wednesday in a statement of administration policy. "Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes." The lead sponsor of the measure, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said it was designed to curb Obama's abuse of presidential authority, most notably in his frequent changes to Obamacare. Obama also threatened to veto another bill by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., which would require the administration to explain decisions not to enforce laws when those decisions are rooted in policy concerns rather than just constitutional concerns.
In essence, the White House is arguing that the constitution's sacred separation of powers prevents Congress from seeking a legal remedy to reign in the president's...abuse of the constitutional separation of powers. This president has repeatedly and unilaterally altered, delayed and abandoned elements of the so-called "Affordable" Care Act, which was enacted by Congress and signed into law by Obama in 2010. As liberal law professor Jonathan Turley has warned, the Obama administration's sundry executive power grabs have been pervasive, impacting issues as far afield as immigration and presidential war powers. Here's Gowdy upbraiding his Democratic colleagues for standing and cheering Obama's State of the Union promise to bypass the people's branch in pursuit of his ideological agenda (via Twitchy):
In a separate speech, Gowdy rehearsed a series of verbatim, golden oldie quotes from Senator Barack Obama denouncing what he saw as President Bush's executive overreach -- including one assertion from Obama that one of the judiciary's most essential imperatives is to "guard against the executive branch's encroachment on the powers of the other branches." Yet here we are, with President Obama threatening to veto a bill that would address the exact constitutional safeguards he once demanded. Gowdy:
You've come a long way, champ: