by Joseph Klein
Constitution shredding -- over and over again.
FrontPage Editor's note: Below is the third article in the Frontpage series, "Obama's Betrayals." Click the following to read Part I and Part II.
President Barack Obama is guilty of multiple counts of illegality and malfeasance in office. He has both willfully abused his executive powers and willfully neglected to perform his executive duties under the Constitution to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
More than any president in the history of the United States, Obama’s motive for his shredding of the Constitution is the pursuit of absolute power for the purpose of, in his words, “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
Richard Nixon is often mentioned when one talks about abuse of presidential power. From his enemies list to Watergate and its cover-up, Nixon set the bar in his time for illegality and malfeasance in office. But he was an amateur compared to Obama, who has taken illegality and malfeasance in office to a whole new level.
Nixon, for example, tried to use the Internal Revenue Service to go after his political enemies, but did not have enough loyalists in the IRS to do his full bidding. Obama created a climate that encouraged IRS targeting of nonprofit tea party organizations. The purpose was to keep them from raising enough tax-deductible funds to play any significant role in connection with issues relevant to the 2012 presidential election. When the IRS scandal first broke, Obama feigned surprise and dismay. But after months of stonewalling by members of his administration of congressional investigations, Obama said during a 2014 interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News that there was “not even a smidgeon of corruption.”
Nixon despised the press. So does Obama. But Obama’s Justice Department became an instrument to suppress freedom of the press at a level that Nixon could only dream about. It surreptitiously seized Associated Press phone records against the Justice Department’s own guidelines and in violation of the Associated Press’s First Amendment rights. It also persecuted a reporter from Fox News, against which Obama has a personal vendetta. The Justice Department went after Fox News' chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, obtaining a subpoena to search his private communications. It did so on the bogus pretext that Rosen himself may have allegedly committed a crime in his exchange of information with a government employee, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.”
It is not illegal for the press to publish classified information which a journalist obtains from a government employee. And the information that Rosen obtained did not appear to involve any secret information regarding such highly sensitive matters as current U.S. military plans, weapons systems, or operations. Nevertheless, the Obama administration chose to try and intimidate one of its severest critics in the press, Fox News, by attempting to criminalize the legitimate investigatory work of its chief Washington correspondent.
As former New York Times general counsel James Goodale, who represented the newspaper during its Pentagon Papers fight with the Nixon administration, said back in 2013:
“The search warrant filed to investigate the Fox News reporter James Rosen proved as many had suspected: President Obama wants to make it a crime for a reporter to talk to a leaker. It is a further example of how President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom.”
Richard Nixon had his Southern strategy to gain more political support for the Republican Party from historically Democratic voters in the South. However, this was small potatoes compared to Obama’s illegal alien amnesty strategy. Obama issued an executive order late last year that granted what amounts to amnesty for to up to 5 million immigrants who are in this country illegally, and to grant them work authorizations. In doing so, Obama blatantly usurped the authority of the legislative branch, which on multiple previous occasions he had acknowledged he did not have the constitutional power to do.
Fortunately, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, who actually believes in the Constitution, issued a preliminary injunction last February against the implementation of Obama’s orders to change the nation’s immigration laws by executive fiat. His injunction has been upheld on appeal. However, the Obama administration has as little respect for the judicial branch as it has for the legislative branch if they oppose Obama’s progressive agenda. The administration violated the court order. Judge Hanen said last month that he was “shocked and surprised at the cavalier attitude the government has taken” in failing to recover work permits that had been issued to at least 2,000 illegal immigrants after he issued his preliminary injunction to suspend the program. The judge even threatened potential contempt charges against U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson unless the administration in timely fashion can demonstrate with “very compelling evidence” its full compliance with the judge’s order.
Obama did not set about to flout the Constitution’s separation of powers provisions out of compassion for the illegal immigrants’ plight. Rather, he saw his executive actions as a shortcut to fundamentally transform the demographic profiles in key states and potentially tilt the outcome of future elections. His executive actions will cement the loyalties of the millions of beneficiaries of Obama’s amnesty program to the Democratic Party. By also working to block states from taking measures to ensure that people are actually citizens when they register to vote, the Obama administration hopes to use the grateful illegal immigrants to secure Democratic Party majorities in elections at the national and state levels for years to come.
For the same reason, Obama does not want to enforce the nation’s immigration laws against “sanctuary cities.” He evidently believes that the “rights” of illegal immigrants – and their eventual votes – are more important than the lives of victims such as Kate Steinle, who was allegedly murdered in the sanctuary city of San Francisco by a five time deportee who had multiple felony convictions to his name. Obama did not even have the decency to pick up the phone and express his personal condolences to Kate Steinle’s family. And his press secretary Josh Earnest mocked proposals to deny certain federal grants to sanctuary cities that will not enforce immigration laws.
“When aliens released onto the streets go on to commit additional crimes, yet could have been placed in ICE custody, this administration is responsible,” said Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, as quoted by National Review.
In short, Barack Obama has not only exceeded the constitutional authority of his office with his power-grabbing amnesty executive actions. By not enforcing the nation’s current immigration laws, he is helping illegal aliens with criminal convictions, who should have been deported, remain in the country, free to commit more crimes.
While illegal aliens from Mexico are finding refuge in the United States thanks to President Obama, his administration presided over the shipping of guns into Mexico in a failed sting operation known as Fast and Furious. This operation reportedly allowed U.S. weapons to cross the border into Mexico in order to track where they ended up. It was badly botched, resulting in a U.S. border patrol agent, Brian Terry, being killed by one of these guns, which had ended up in the hands of a Mexican drug cartel. Obama and his former Attorney General Eric Holder then set about to obstruct the search for the truth as to what had actually happened and who was responsible.
Obama asserted a spurious claim of executive privilege to withhold information from Congress on efforts within the Justice Department to hide the truth about the Fast and Furious gun-running operation. President Obama was protecting his crony Eric Holder and trying to keep embarrassing facts from the public. He thereby facilitated an obstruction of justice.
The parents of Brian Terry, the border patrol agent who was killed by members of a Mexican drug cartel armed with weapons from the failed Justice Department gun trafficking operation, said “it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious."
For Barack Obama, the Constitution is an archaic document that, in his words uttered more than a decade ago and which he still believes, “reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.” He said that the Constitution dealt only with what he characterized as “negative liberties,” not “redistribution of wealth.”
Obama explained what he viewed as the Constitution’s limitations this way, in terms of what it did and did not say: “Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”
On repeated occasions since taking office, President Obama has cavalierly dismissed the Constitution, which he swore upon taking office to “preserve, protect, and defend.” The Constitution’s focus on limiting the power of government to protect individual liberties means nothing to Obama. If religious liberties and freedom of speech get in the way of his agenda to fundamentally transform America, then they are expendable. He subordinates individual rights to collective, group identity rights. Thus, for example, in combating the so-called “war on women,” millions of helpless aborted babies are collateral damage and any investigation of Planned Parenthood's illegal sale of baby body parts is out of the question.
The Founding Fathers’ carefully crafted system of checks and balances, intended to prevent the exertion of run-away executive power, also means nothing to Obama. If Congress tries to stand in his way, then Obama will pretend that Congress does not exist and legislate on his own.
The truth, like the Constitution, is expendable in Obama’s presidency. He lied repeatedly to sell Obamacare to the American people. And he is lying repeatedly now to defend his disastrous nuclear deal with the fanatical jihadist rulers in Iran.
Obama’s time in office is thankfully winding down towards its conclusion. However, his transformational progressive agenda and ‘ends justify the means’ attitude live on. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination, pledged at a Cinco de Mayo event with illegal immigrants last May to go even further than Obama in the use of executive orders to push forward an amnesty agenda. In a direct attack on faith and the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, Hillary said last April that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” in order to accommodate abortion. Evidently, continuing tax-payer subsidies for Planned Parenthood to harvest and sell baby parts would be justified in part by her mandated change to religious beliefs.
In 2007, Hillary Clinton said that “secret White House email accounts” were among the reasons she believed at the time that “Our Constitution is being shredded.” By her own standard, Hillary has shredded the Constitution with her private email account and private server she used as Secretary of State, compounded by her obstruction of justice in unilaterally destroying half of the emails and cleansing her server. If she or another like-minded progressive is elected president, expect a third Obama term of more Constitution shredding, illegality and malfeasance in office.
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