Obama — the ‘very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid’

George Washington University law  professor Jonathan Turley, familiar to Nevadans for his representation of Area 51 workers who claimed they were injured by burning toxic material, testified before a House committee recently and accused Obama of acting outside the constricts of the Constitution.

“When a president claims the inherent power of both legislation and enforcement, he becomes a virtual government unto himself,” Turley wrote in written testimony. “He is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he becomes the very danger that the Constitution was designed to avoid.”

Turley, who is a political liberal, was specifically addressing Obama’s unilateral waiver of various deadlines and regulations imposed by the Affordable Care Act, he also has labeled Obama an “Imperial President” over his nonrecess recess appointments that circumvent the Senate’s advise and consent role — a stance agreed with by two courts. He also mentioned Obama’s administrative “passage” of the DREAM Act and refusal to defend the Defense of  Marriage Act.

Turley stated:

“Notably, the unilateral change occurred when legislation addressing this issue was being debated in Congress. Moreover, this change was made after an outcry over what many viewed as the central selling point of the President’s during the debate over the ACA: suggesting that, if people liked their current policies, they would be allowed to keep them. After securing passage of the ACA, however, on a thin vote margin, many accused the President of a bait-and-switch when millions lost their policies. I will leave others to work through the merits of that controversy. For my purposes, I am only interested in the fact that a key issue discussed during the debate over the legislation was unilaterally altered after passage. This is an obviously important part of the debate. The law does not expressly give the President the authority to waive the application of the provisions for selected groups. To the extent that the President was claiming that he had the authority to amend the law in this way, I fail again to see the legal basis for such authority.”

Turley quotes James Madison’s Federalist Paper No. 51 on separation of powers:

“But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”

Ambition or imperial conceit?

Newspaper column: Those closest to the people should hold the purse

The Federalist Papers explained the strengths and purposes of the proposed new Constitution with its checks and balances in which power was distributed between the branches of government and even within the legislative branch with its bicameral chambers.

The members of the House of Representatives were to be closest to the people and stand for election before those people every two years, as noted in this week’s newspaper column, available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press.

James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 52 in 1788, “Frequent elections are unquestionably the only policy by which this dependence and sympathy can be effectually secured.”

Mark Amodei

When it comes to the four men who represent rural Nevada in Washington on the Potomac, the two who serve in the House appear to be closer to the people in at least one respect — financially.

Unlike the two men who serve Nevada in the Senate, they are not millionaires.

Mark Amodei, whose 2nd Congressional District covers the northern half of the state, reports on his recent financial disclosure form assets valued at somewhere between $100,000 and $230,000, as of May 15, 2013. On the disclosure forms, investments are listed by name but values are merely designated within a range, such as $1,001 to $15,000 or $50,001 to $100,000.

Steven Horsford

His rural counterpart, Steven Horsford, whose 4th Congressional District covers the southern half of the state except for two districts in Clark County, is likewise a man of relatively modest means. His assets fall between $27,000 and $230,000.

Financially, Nevada’s two senators are better off.

Dean Heller of Carson City lists assets of between $3 million and $8.7 million.

Harry Reid of Searchlight lists assets of between $1 million and $6.2 million.

Since members of the House would be closest to the people, Madison noted they were to be given the power of the purse, as noted in Federalist No. 58, “The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse …” All bills raising revenue must originate in the House, the Constitution says.

Now we have 1,000- and 2,000-page bills originating in the Senate — such as ObamaCare and the immigration “reform” bill — that contain taxes, fines and fees.

Those closest to the people should hold the purse.

Read the entire column at the Ely or Elko websites.