Would Senator Obama Have Voted for Gowdy’s Enforce the Law Act?

Would Senator Obama Have Voted for Gowdy’s Enforce the Law Act?


There’s a dangerous change on the horizon, says law professor Jonathan Turley, if we continue on this path towards more executive power. Members of Congress are reacting to it in different ways. Senator Rand Paul and  Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)  introduced the Constitutional Check and Balance Act last month. Now the House is acting by passing a similar-sounding Enforce the Law Act on Wednesday.

The House bill passed makes it easier for Congress to bring expedited lawsuits against the President (and future Presidents) when he fails to uphold the law. However, it’ll most likely be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

There’s no way Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will bring the Enforce the Law Act up for vote, according to the Washington Examiner. Plus, there’s already been a clear veto threat from the White House which will discourage Democrats from backing the GOP bill, says The Daily Caller.

While it’s not likely the bill will ever become a law, Francine Kiefer of the Christian Science Monitor writes that it does “involve a serious claim against a president: that the person constitutionally charged to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed’ is, by implication, a lawbreaker.”

So let me ask you, is President Obama ‘a lawbreaker’? Let’s take this perspective from the viewpoint of Senator Obama — how would that Obama describe this rising imbalance of executive power? There was a time when Obama would have supported the Enforce the Law Act, states Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the sponsor for this bill.

“How does going from being a senator to a president rewrite the Constitution?” Gowdy asked during his floor speech. “What’s different from when he was a senator? Mr. Speaker, I don’t think there’s an amendment to the Constitution that I’ve missed. I try to keep up with those with regularity.”

“We all swore an allegiance to the same document that the president swears allegiance to, to faithfully execute the law,” he added. “If a president does not faithfully execute the law… what are our remedies?”

He also said Congress should do what then-Senator Obama once suggested: “To go to the Supreme Court and have the Supreme Court say once and for all: ‘We don’t pass suggestions in this body. … We don’t pass ideas — we pass laws. And we expect them to be faithfully executed.’”

Gowdy is hitting Obama everywhere from immigration (deferring deportations) to environmental laws (allowing the EPA to stretch the meaning of existing law) and, of course, Obamacare with at least 20 unilateral alterations noted by the Washington Free Beacon. He even has mandatory minimum sentencing laws as an example of laws not being enforced. (Paul will most likely disagree with him on that point.)

While Paul’s Constitutional Check and Balance Act is implicitly aimed at Obamacare, Gowdy may be reaching too broadly with the Enforce the Law Act. That isn’t to say though that his motives are ill-intended. There’s been a gravitational shift towards executive power that has many concerned (even law professors) and this continuing tug-of-war between Congress and the President is an example of trying to bring balance back to the system.

However, what will it take to clean house and restore balance? You TELL us in the comments below or on Facebook.



(Photo courtesy of twinkletoez, via Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0)



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