By Bob Bennett
If government of the people, by the people and for the people should perish from the Earth, its demise will be the result of this president’s Chavez-like power grabbing—and the failure of craven Republicans to resist it. Be not deceived: this is a deliberate assault on the Constitution and on our freedoms.
f this president is not restrained, there’ll be more such assaults, by him and his successors. Then, one day America will no longer be the Golden Door for huddled masses who yearn to breathe free; it’ll be like the old Soviet Union: a place where the people live by and for the government, and yearn to leave.
The Founders, subjects of a king at the time, designed our republic with checks and balances to defend against this very menace. But the Founders did not anticipate a Legislative Branch too spineless to defend its turf.
Since the GOP’s historic conquest of the Democrats in November, there could’ve been no doubt in any Republican’s mind that the Nation wanted Congress to halt Obama’s hostile takeover of America. The final insult was the president’s brazen exemption of 4.3 million illegals from deportation. Yet, since the Republican Senate was seated, it has deported itself with a curious timidity on this issue.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a preliminary injunction in response to a suit by 26 states to halt the president’s patently illegal action, whose scope was breathtaking.
Besides an exemption from deportation, illegals would also get the right to work, receive welfare benefits, enter the Social Security system, and file retroactive tax returns for refunds, under the earned income tax credit provision. No rational person could believe such an act is within the president’s powers—including Obama himself—who said as much 22 times, in the past.
Judge Hanen ruled, “The DHS was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence.’…In fact the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed.”
The Justice Dept. filed an “emergency motion” for a stay of Hanen’s injunction—an almost certain loser, because the judge ruled that the states would suffer irreparable harm were the program to go forward. Why it’s an emergency is a mystery, because the illegals involved have been here for long time, and they’re certainly not going to be deported, before the final decision.
The plaintiffs have until March 3rd to reply to the DOJ’s stay motion. If the DOJ does not get its way, it intends to appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a conservative court that will likely hand the case back to Judge Hanen, for a final decision, which will take months. If Judge Hanen rules against the president, the decision will have to be appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which will take more time.
So, the president’s imperial action will take a very long time to implement, going through the courts.
Obama has shown unprecedented arrogance by repeatedly hijacking the constitutional authority of Congress to legislate. The immensity of this latest action shows that he believes there is no limit to what he can do. In fact, he has gone ahead with granting some 7.4 million work permits, though he has not yet acted on the executive amnesty. Therefore, there’s no guarantee he won’t simply ignore the courts, if they don’t grant what he wants soon.
If he does, Judge Hanen should not attempt to act against the president. He should instead find any federal employee who implements the amnesty is in contempt and faces jail and a fine. That would be intimidating to most of us.
But, above all, it’s time for Republican Senators to pull up their trousers and fight—even if those trousers are wet. The House has passed a bill funding DHS, but not Obama’s illegal immigration action. CNSnews.com reports:
“The bill includes an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) that prohibits any agency of the federal government from using any funds to carry out the immigration actions that Obama has ordered under memoranda issued by himself and his subordinates.”
They have done their duty under the Constitution.
But Friday, our pusillanimous Senators, led by Majority leader Mitch McConnell, have broken their election promises and passed a bill 68-31 that will fully fund DHS until September. That includes funding for Obama’s illegal executive amnesty—precisely what Obama wanted. But it is doubtful the House will vote for it.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bill that would have barred funding of the illegal executive action. Democrats blocked it by a vote of 57-42. Sixty votes were needed to proceed.
This is uber-meekness, a contradictory term for a contradictory Republican Senate: It wins an election, then cowers before the losing party. This sends a signal to our would-be dictator that he can pretty much do anything he wants, going forward.
As if there was ever any doubt.
But so far, the Judiciary has indicated Obama’s action is illegal, so to fund it is also illegal. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said:
“This Congress has a duty to fund only things that it believes appropriate and lawful.”
Unfortunately, the GOP is gripped by a fevered compulsion to prove it can work with Democrats and a morbid dread of shutting down the government, or any part of it—even though essential DHS services would continue in any case.
These schoolgirl emotions apparently trump their oath to “support and defend the Constitution.”
This does not augur well for the future, which will require that Republicans wage a resolute battle to arrest executive imperialism and restore the balance of powers—a must, if we are to keep the republic Ben Franklin and the other founders gave us.
Republican lawmakers should consult the dictionary, which gives this simple definition for the word “Republic”: “a country that is governed by elected representatives and by an elected leader (such as a president) rather than by a king or queen.”
The opening line of this article is from the closing line of Abraham Lincoln’s sublime address. His mighty words peal down through the ages: that their nation was being tested, but we “resolve that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” That was on November 19, 1863—when America was “engaged in a great civil war.”
We are engaged in a far more fateful civil war today, if Republicans but knew it.
Now the president has shown, by tipping the balance of powers toward himself, that he means to transform the very structure of the Nation. The Republican Congress must stop him.
All the Senate needs to do is pass the House bill, using reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority and cannot be filibustered: debate is limited to twenty hours. It would be poetic justice, since the Democrats used the same rule to pass Obamacare.
Bob Bennett is a New York-based writer who has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post, and has appeared on Fox and Friends and America’s Newsroom. He has traveled widely and written travel pieces for the NY Post, a cover article for the Jewish Press, and an op-ed for the medical journal Cancer Biotherapy & Radioimmunotherapy. Bob was also award-winning producer of a travel radio show heard on New York stations: WMCA, WNWK and 50,000 watt WOR and the national Sky Angel Network. He now blogs on Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Community and Red State Diaries.