Defending the Constitution

Aug 1, 2014

The Constitution of the United States has served our nation well since its adoption in 1789.  This document defines the roles and limits of three separate but equal branches of government, and includes checks and balances to prevent any branch from gaining too much power.  The legislative branch, made up of Congress, has the responsibility to make laws; the executive branch is responsible to implement and enforce the law; and the judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the law.

Unfortunately, the growing power of the executive branch is eroding the division of powers and threatening our system of representative democracy.  The House of Representatives is now taking action to defend the Constitution and restore the balance of power envisioned by our founders.

Our founders envisioned a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  After all, they fought and won independence from a repressive monarchy.  They knew all too well the consequences of giving total power to one individual.  They designed a representative government to protect the rights of all Americans by making it difficult to pass new laws.  A deliberate legislative process would ensure new rules had broad support and were well thought through.

While the pattern of executive overreach is nothing new, the Obama Administration has taken this practice to a new level.  Rather than pursuing his agenda through the legislative process, the President has repeatedly chosen to go around Congress.  The President has proposed new regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency to advance a cap and trade scheme which failed in Congress, has refused to enforce certain immigration laws for political purposes, and has made numerous changes to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Most notably, the President has unilaterally delayed Obamacare’s economically painful employer mandate until after the midterm elections, when the law clearly states it must be enforced beginning in 2014.  The President does not have the authority under the Constitution to decide which laws he will enforce, nor to make changes to existing laws without going through the legislative branch.

I and many others oppose the employer mandate, as well as the individual mandate, included in Obamacare.  However, these changes must be made through Congress.  Allowing the President to remove the legislative branch from the legislative process would undermine the rule of law and the constitutional balance of power.

In order to defend the Constitution, this week the House of Representatives passed a resolution authorizing litigation against the President for acting outside of his authority to delay the Obamacare employer mandate.  Our case will be narrowly tailored to this instance, rather than a list of grievances, in order to give the best chance of success in court. 

The Obama Administration has clearly overreached its authority.  I am hopeful a successful case will begin the process to restoring constitutional principles to our government now and in the future.