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Constitutional expert: U.S. is at 'constitutional tipping point'

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  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." -Padmé Amidala

    I guess she was wrong. It dies without a whimper...

  • Anti Government Alpine, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    This is just what obama wanted from the start. He thinks he and his enlightened liberal ilk should be able to decide on a whim what the rules are.

    What is just as pathetic is all the rest of the govt on both sides of the isle who just stand by and let it happen without accountability.

    I sure wish people would realize that partisan politicians have successfully divided and conquered us. We are too busy fighting with the other side to realize Rome is burning, so to speak.

    We would all be better off to get organize and literally vote out every single elected federal politician over the next two election cycles. Every one of them needs to go.

    Only then could we send some new people there who actually believed they would/could be held accountable.

    They have us right where they want us now. We all fight and scrap over a few points either way which means the vast majority of them get to stay term after term....and we all are the ones that have to suffer the consequences of the horrid economic and social conditions of our govt inflicts on us.

    End it.

  • Californian#1@94131 San Francisco, CA
    Feb. 28, 2014 3:37 p.m.

    Almost two and a half centuries ago, a shabby bunch of rabble-rousers gathered, "their flag to April's breeze unfurled" and "fired the shot heard 'round the world" to free themselves from the tyranny of a monarchy with all power over all humans exercised by a single individual.

    The legacy these rabble-rousers left us was the U.S. Constitution, an inspired document that codifies the rights AND the responsibilities of the people and their government; the relationship between federal and state governments; the assurance that no one branch or individual should abuse their power and prevail over the others; and the principle that government is not the master of the people but the servant.

    As far back as the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, the people are warned about the risks of having a king. A crowned monarch can be dangerous—how much more so a de facto king who simply takes it on himself to appropriate powers rightfully vested elsewhere?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 28, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    Just perhaps, if what is claimed is true, this is more a result not of over action by one of the three legs of government, but the near and total abdication of responsibility by the legislative side. What we have witnessed is a government not divided by ideology, but by extreme partisan politics, the politics of obstruction. When there is a vacuum of any kind, the laws of nature say that vacuum must be replaced by something.

    The same thing with poor parenting. If parents refuse to do their job, kids will look to other reference points for direction. What we need less of is people finding reasons not to do things, and find more people willing to work towards solutions, even if dong so means working with non like minded people, and compromising.

    What we see here is not a case of over action, but the results of the vacuum caused by inaction.

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    Feb. 28, 2014 3:45 p.m.

    I'm just wondering. If congress is totally polarized and unable to act on anything significant should the executive, whichever party he belongs to, or the courts just sit on their hands and do nothing? Is this unhealthy expansion of power in both the executive and judiciary the blame of the congress?

  • boneheaded, but not a smidgen SLC, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    Why does this come as a surprise? Barry is a community organizer, NOT a constitutional expert, though he claims to be one.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    I agree...

    I disagree with the way President Obama does things more than I do what he is doing. Same for President Bush.

    ===

    Obama_fans keep saying anybody who doesn't like everything President Obama does... wants a Civil War.

    I disagree two ways.

    #1. They don't WANT any war.

    #2. If there is a conflict, it would not be a Civil War (part of the country against the other). It would be a Revolutionary War (replacing corrupt government with a Constitutional Government). That's not a civil war... it's a revolution.

    And I think it would be an intellectual war (not a war of guns). A war of ideas (not of violence). It would be fought on the battle field of ideas (not with guns).

    So join me on the battle field of ideas. It doesn't always have to be, stay in line... no disagreement with the government is allowed... and whatever the government does is for our own good... we can disagree and not be offended (at least I can).

    I don't think I'm "right". I just have an opinion I'm gonna put out there. And want to hear other's opinions.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Feb. 28, 2014 4:54 p.m.

    Relax dudes, if this country can survive 8 years of George W Bush, it can survive anything. By the way, what president signed the Patriot Act? You remember that wonderful piece of unconstitutional legislation don't you? That was the act where Americans agreed to give up their Right to Privacy and freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizure in the name of protection from terrorists.

  • slcdenizen t-ville, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 5:05 p.m.

    This article is high on rhetoric, short on specifics. I can understand the fear of an overstepping president, but in what regard has Obama overstepped his constitutional authority?

  • Mark from Montana Davis County, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 5:13 p.m.

    Is Obama exceeding his authority? Most certainly he is, just as Bush did and Clinton did to varying degrees. It is much worse with Obama, but there is a reason for it.

    Power loves a vacuum and when Congress refuses, or is unable, to do their job, to fulfill their responsibilities, the other branches step in to fill the vacuum. Congress must start doing their job, at the same time pushing back against the executive branch. If they don't Obama will do more and more, setting more precedents. The next president, regards of it being a liberal or conservative, will just go down the same path.

    The day of restraint being shown by a political leader is long gone.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 8:30 p.m.

    Nothing is identified just an unsupported opinion.

  • Hans Delbruck Spokane, WA
    Feb. 28, 2014 8:45 p.m.

    slcdenizen: "in what regard has Obama overstepped his constitutional authority?"

    On the one hand, he has refused to implement the AHCA as it was written and passed by his own party and signed into law by himself, choosing instead to delay implementation without legal authority to do so. On the other hand, he increasingly governs by executive order, bypassing the authority of Congress, even declaring that, as President, he "gets to do what he wants."

    He has a well-documented reputation for refusing to nurture relationships in Congress, not just with the opposition party, in order to craft compromise legislation and policy that will gain majority support. Our country has a long history of such compromise and collaboration between the President and Congress; his refusal to even engage on a regular basis is arrogant and inexcusable.

    This President is the most inept, least qualified and most disinterested President since at least Warren G. Harding. I have no problem with the Democratic Party vigorously promoting their policies; I do have a problem with them foisting on us an obviously unqualified candidate to be their standard bearer. Many of us on the conservative side had similar views towards G.W. Bush.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:02 p.m.

    In my opinion there are two executive orders that dwarf all others in audacity: Number one would be the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. Second would be Richard Nixon's order severing the link between the dollar and gold, abolishing the Bretton Woods agreement that had been the foundation of international finance since WWII, and simultaneously putting the entire country on wage and price controls.

    Nothing Obama has done comes remotely close to those two.

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:21 p.m.

    The void we see is a void of leadership on the part of President Obama. As Hans accurately points out, a key responsibility of the President is to provide leadership for the legislative process, to build relationships on both sides of the aisle, to build bridges between and lead both sides forward to compromise for the good of the country. Our current President, in spite of campaign promises, has almost completely ignored Congress for both of his terms. His idea of leadership is to tell Congress that if they don't do what he wants, he will act unilaterally by ignoring them and ruling by executive order. Seriously? That is leadership? Heaven forbid he should have to roll us his sleeves and do the real work of gaining consensus in order to have a plan all can stand behind and support, yet THAT is what it takes to do the job.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:53 p.m.

    For all those who are comparing Obama with Bush and saying that Bush did the same or that Obama is only doing what Bush did, remember this. Bush was a Texas Republican. So who is surprised? Obama says he is a progressive from a progressive party. He should know better. In fact, he does know better. He just isn't doing it.b Disappointing Democrats.

    With regards to the point that congress isn't doing their job so he is getting around the Constitution because he needs to do it to save the country. When dictators or military juntas overthrow constitutions they justify it by sayng that they had to do it to save the country from chaos.

    It goes back to my 4th grade teacher, "What would happen if everyone did that?"

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    March 1, 2014 6:00 a.m.

    50 years ago our federal government used to fear the people (voters). Today the people fear the government: IRS abuses, NSA spying, arbitrary law enforcement by the White House, lies, stonewalling and cover-ups, fiscal incompetence and the unconstitutional, unaccountable executive privileges. I for one do not even recognize my country any more! We look more like N. Korea and Cuba everyday! We have a opportunity to take back our country and force the federal government to fear voters again in November. I pray Americans will take back their power and put the new aristocracy in Washington DC in its place!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 1, 2014 6:44 a.m.

    The thing is… he isn't going around the constitution. The president has the power to manage the affairs of government… he is the executive. Why is that so hard to understand. The legislature gives him his rules and parameters to do that job. If they are not providing direction, he is at will to do administer the government as he sees fit. Pure and simple.

    The Supreme Court is responsible…. not people with opinions…. but the Supreme Court decides if he is doing that job within the confines of the rules set out for him/her by the legislature. If the Supreme Court finds no issue, then the President is playing by the rules and guidelines provided him or her.

    If you don't like what the president is doing, or how the president is executing the laws as established by the legislature, then it is the legislature's job to provide better directives and boundaries. If congress fails to provide structure, then they get what they have created. This divided congress spends too much time on extremes, granting Obama much latitude to do what he wants.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2014 6:46 a.m.

    To Hans Delbruk: Even though you are a scientist and a saint, you are still wrong on this. It is now well known that in Jan. 2009, on the day that the president was inaugurated, the Republican leadership held a meeting wherein they decided that the way they were going to deal with Obama was to try to make him fail at everything he attempted. No matter what he proposed, they would be opposed, even if it was something they had previously supported.

    How is he supposed to work with an opposition party like that? On several budget deals, he has given them the majority of what they ask for, but the answer is always "NO".

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    March 1, 2014 7:19 a.m.

    Roland Kaiser: thank you for history lesson; makes me want to read about those two 'executive orders'. However, I think it is obvious to any observer that something is indeed amiss with the executive office and it's powers and it didn't begin with Obama. Obama, however, has blatantly misused the power of his office and the legislative branch has turned into a whimpering hollow shell of its duties and responsibilities, including checking any president from unbridled power and tyrannical expression of it?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    The worst and most recent example of presidential imperialism was the Iraq War. Using public hysteria as a backdrop one guy or two guys (Bush and Cheney) decided to invade a country under false pretenses - with an eventual bill of $3 billion). That's the act we have to beat. There's no sign it has been beaten.

  • ShaunMcC La Verkin, UT
    March 1, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    The check and balance in this problem is the Congress. ANY Senator or House member can rise in opposition to illegal or overstepping Executive Orders. They should have stopped a number of past presidents from doing this and they should stop this one. I once asked Senator Hatch why they didn't do so. His reply was that the Republicans don't want to do that because the Democrats would then do it to a Republican president. I then asked if that would not be a good thing but got no response. The congress is derelict in their duty in this matter.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 1, 2014 8:15 a.m.

    I know this is trite but when McConnell says during the first week of President Obama's first term the republicans sole purpose for the next four years is make him a one term President it sets a very definitive tone.

    When the House speaker says Congress should not be judged on the number of laws it passes rather on the number of laws it repels, I would say there is in fact a leadership vacuum but and it resides in the republican party.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 1, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    Turley tends to look at things in an idealistic way. I'm not sure I agree with him. In fact, I would say that Obama has actually been more restrained than the prior two Presidents. A couple of observations. First, in 1996, I was involved first hand in asking Congress to step up and block an improper use of the executive authority. I could name names, but suffice it to say, the Republican controlled Congress refused to act. Based on this and other events, it became clear that Republicans believe in a strong executive, and that outweighed political affiliation. Any suggestion from Republicans that Obama is overstepping his bounds is nothing but cynical partisanship towards him, and those making the argument will be stone silent about it the next time a Republican sits in the White House. Finally, the fact that a minor story like this gets prominent treatment here (even the content is weak) shows the continuing partisanship of this newspaper. I have no expectation of objectivity with newspaper any more than I do of Fox. Let's be open and honest about it.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 1, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    I wonder how many posters read the 16 pages of testimony? From the comments, it doesn't look like many read past the synopsis.

    We have three co-equal branches of government. None is above the law. None is superior to the other branches. All have separate but equal responsibilities. No matter what one thinks of Obama, his actions show that he disrespects the Constitution and its limits on this authority as President. As the testimony clearly states, the main fault is with the Judicial branch, which has failed to fulfill its duty to check both Congress and the President. The analogy of the fire department was particularly insightful. Chief Justice Roberts clearly abdicated his responsibility when he refused to rule on the Constitutionality of ObamaCare; when he told us that it was a tax; when he told us that he could not rule on any tax until the tax had been implemented.

    When a branch of government takes a vacation from its duty, the Country suffers. Obama is taking advantage of the fact that the Court is unwilling to act.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Recent examples of tyrants circumventing elected representatives in Russia and Venezuela should be a warning to the US. Gridlock is a sign that there must be a coming to the center by BOTH sides. It should not be used as an excuse by a president to ignore our constitution. When rigid ideology and radical polarization from the right or the left replaces pragmatism, bad results usually follow.

  • Demosthenes Rexburg, ID
    March 1, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    In addition to the President's constitutional assault, the power wielded by unelected bureaucrats is alarming. The EPA, Homeland Security, public lands administrators, and others make laws, which power lies only with Congress.

    We all need to stand up and be heard, and put an end to these abuses of power!

  • The Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 1, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    This article is singularly uninformative. There is no description at all of the executive acts that Obama has undertaken that are unconstitutional. I have respect for Jonathan Turley, and I agree that both Bush and Obama (and many presidents before them) have acted in ways that are illegal and unconstitutional. But come on, Deseret News, give us more than a soundbite! What is the point of reading a "newspaper" if it is nothing more than a 20 second soundbite.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    March 1, 2014 10:44 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil appears to be the only ne who actually read, or comprehends, Professor Turley's arguments. Turley makes a good case that it is the Judiciary that is to blame for this Executive overreach trend. And it is not President Obama's fault, certainly not in the sense of it being the power grab of a malevolent tyrant, as many comments here try to assert.

    Turley states, and I agree:

    "I do not subscribe to the common view that our current dysfunctional government is solely the result of political division and deadlock, which is nothing new in our system...I believe considerable blame rests not with the 'political branches' but with the Judicial Branch. By refusing to review many separation-based conflicts, the Court has...left the branches to use raw power moves to block each other."

    Turley also cites "a fourth branch [that] has emerged in our tripartite system that is highly insulated and independent from Congress. Today, the vast majority of 'laws'; governing the United States are not passed by Congress but are issued as regulations [by federal agencies]".

    This is a systemic problem, and only the naive or deliberately partisan and ignorant would simply blame Obama.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    March 1, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    @ Marxist. Congress voted and approved the Iraq war! Even Hillary voted for it. Wise up!

  • ShaunMcC La Verkin, UT
    March 1, 2014 10:54 a.m.

    @Mike Richards. I agree that the court was wrong on Obamacare, but as to Executive Orders it has little effect unless someone brings an action before the courts challenging the issued order. The correct response is for Congress to stop those actions before they become policy and then sue the executive branch if it implements the order in the face of their action. The Constitution actually works to stop tyranny and over-reaching if we know it and follow it. That is the responsibility of every citizen, but especially of Congress. Too bad they don't have the guts to do the job they swore an oath to do.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 1, 2014 11:32 a.m.

    @ Mike Richards, the courts only act when a case is brought to them. They do not act on their own. Congress can bring act, either by giving specific instructions to the Executive, or by bring a suit before the Court. They have done neither. The fact remains, and they won't admit it openly, Republicans do not want a weakened Executive branch or even balance (whatever that is). Mark my words on this.

    By the way, it appears that your critique of Justice Roberts (who only has 1 of 9 votes), is based more on particular issues and partisan policy considerations, and your own personal interpretation of the Constitution. He did exactly his job, and disagreeing with it and wanting to go back to 1787 does not change that fact. (I disagree with him often, but I have great admiration for him). The evolution of the Constitution, its interpretation by the courts in the context of the times, and stare decisis have gone as the Founding Fathers intended. I know that may be hard to accept, but it's true. You are entitled to your interpretation, of course, but the nation has, in practice over 200+ years, not agreed with that interpretation.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    Excuse me - the eventual bill of the Iraq War will be $3 TRILLION.

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    March 1, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    @ Anti Government

    There is no "we" at the present time. The best defense any citizen has is education. It doesn't take a lot of time to understand what the seven propaganda techniques are. The left, the right, big business all use them. People use resources to gain a benefit or avoid a consequence. Ultimately, time is the resource given to either of these expected outcomes. You can let groups decide them for you can take ownership of your decisions.

    If you've been to the Holocaust museum in DC, there is a small newsreel display near the end of the tour where the allies forced the German citizens living near the concentration camps to view the ugliness, the toll, of propaganda appealing to the selfish attribute of vanity.

    To much information flows today, but a historical refresher might be good to jog your memory and keep you from making your own choices.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 1, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    Roland Kayser

    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    Agreed.

    Abraham Lincoln's Executive Order Freeing the Slaves has to be the kingpin of all..

    Conservatives L-O-V-E Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln,
    but in reality, If they really knew any history at all [rather than the re-visionist history they hear from college drop outs on the radio] -- would hate virtually everything they ever did and how they did it.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    March 1, 2014 1:00 p.m.

    I seem to recall Joseph Smith saying that the Constitution would hang by a thread.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 1, 2014 3:50 p.m.

    Every executive order directly or indirectly affects the States. The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in those cases. It does not have to wait until the case is appealed.

    Congress has the power to impeach, but unless I misunderstand the Constitution, that is the only power that Congress has to stop the President. Therefore, it is the Court that must do its duty. If the Court fails to act, then the only step left is for Congress to remove the President from office. That is a drastic step that would be avoided if John Roberts took his role seriously and had the Court do its duty. Requiring the President to honor the Constitution is a minor thing when compared with removing him from office.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2014 5:31 p.m.

    Ed Grady

    RE: "Relax dudes, if this country can survive 8 years of George W Bush, it can survive anything"...

    But George W Bush never said "we are just days away from FUNDAMENTALLY transforming this nation"... Obama did. That makes me nervous.

    ===

    marxist

    RE: "The worst and most recent example of presidential imperialism was the Iraq War. Using public hysteria as a backdrop one guy or two guys"... blah blah...

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but when it contradicts actual fact it's no longer a matter of opinion. The Iraq War was approved by Congress (not Bush). Many Democrats voted to authorize military action. Congress had access to the same intelligence reports the President used to make his decision.

    I respect people who express their opinion that the decision was wrong (regardless of whether I agree). That's their opinion... but not those who intentionally misrepresent what actually happened.

    ===

    IMO President Clinton and President Bush and Congress exercised great diplomacy and restraint on Irag. But after 16 resolutions (all unanimously approved by the UN Security Council)... diplomacy had become futile and we had to respond another way.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2014 5:39 p.m.

    LDS Liberal and Roland Kayser,
    The slaves were not freed by one man, or a Presidential Order... they were freed by the 13th amendment in the Constitution. (called the emancipation proclamation).

    I wish you guys understood History.

    It was not one man. There was a constitutional convention and a vote of the States (not a Presidential Fiat).

    The President drove the decision... but he did NOT make it over the head of Congress or the States. He got the votes needed. That's what we're talking about.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 1, 2014 8:17 p.m.

    And it all started with Nixon, Reagan, Johnson, Bush I, Bush II, Clinton and now maybe Obama.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    March 1, 2014 9:37 p.m.

    Sorry, 2 bits, but no, the 13th amendment and the Emancipation proclamation are not the same thing. Nor was there a constitutional convention in the 1860's. The emancipation proclamation was an executive order.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    March 1, 2014 10:16 p.m.

    To all who ask:

    If congress doesn't act, shouldn't the president act on his own?

    NO! That would be acting like Adolph Hitler.

    He is not the guy I want my president acting like.

    Congress is meant to be slow to make it difficult to pass laws. There are too many special interest laws now, so perhaps passing laws needs to be even harder. Certainly we don't want special interest to only have to buy out one guy to get laws tailored to them.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 1, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    E Sam,
    You are right. I tend to combine them but they are different.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 3, 2014 12:41 p.m.

    Mike Richards... you shocked me when you claimed "It does not have to wait until the case is appealed." The Supreme Court can not originate cases- please refer to rules and processes under title 28 of the United States Code.

    E Sam... you are correct. 2 Bits has these confused. The emancipation proclamation was made as an executive order by virtue of the office of commander and chief on January 1, 1863, and freed the slaves. The 13th amendment - which abolished slavery - was passed on December 18, 1865, a long time after.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    March 3, 2014 8:57 p.m.

    @lcdenizen:
    "but in what regard has Obama overstepped his constitutional authority?"

    The Constitution sez the pres will 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.' (Article 2.3)

    Here's two examples: He gave amnesty to the so-called dreamers (Illegal Immigrants) contrary to Immigration Laws. He has postponed the implementation the Employer Mandate contrary to the provisions of the ACA. There are more.

    @UtahBlueDevil:
    "The Supreme Court is responsible…."

    The Supreme Court can do nothing unless a case is brought before them... and a case is coming headed by Judge Napolitano.

    @marxist:
    "The worst and most recent example of presidential imperialism was the Iraq War. Using public hysteria as a backdrop one guy or two guys (Bush and Cheney) decided to invade a country under false pretenses..."

    The US Congress voted Bush power to invade under the 'Authorization to use Military Force in Iraq.' And dozens of Democrats voted for it including Senators Levin, Lieberman, Lautenberg, Dodd, Kerrey, Feinstein, Mikulski, Daschle, Breaux, Johnson, Inouye, Landrieu, Ford and Kerry.

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    March 4, 2014 1:23 a.m.

    @Roland Kayser and others moaning about how obstructive Congress as been with this President, I'm afraid that's a rather lame excuse for failing to lead. He has it no worse than other president who didn't have a majority in both houses. Abraham Lincoln certainly didn't opt to no lead when facing a decidedly greater set of obstacles.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    March 14, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    We started giving the Constitution away quite some time ago. Patriot Act, Homeland Security, confiscation/conversion based on "suspicion" instead of process, eminent domain for private developers, FISC (secret court), Guantanamo, and more, denial of all protections based on a secret administrative act --

  • tesuji Bountiful, UT
    March 21, 2014 4:47 p.m.

    If President Obama is using too much Executive power, then Republicans are also partly to blame. What choice does Obama have if he wants to get anything done? Democracy is about negotiation and compromise. But the Republican House would rather grandstand and obstruct than sit down and work anything out. Nothing gets accomplished that way.

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    March 25, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    The President is not Czar, King, Potentate, or Grand Pubah. He is a government employee. We need to go back to seeing our presidents as merely such.

  • Hmmm... North Ogden, UT
    March 26, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    The logic comparing Lincoln’s EOs to Obama’s doesn’t make it constitutional.

    Lincoln the lawyer President knew his executive powers only allowed him to issue the emancipation to those states in rebellion (article 4, section 4); it did not apply to those slave states that stayed loyal to the union (i.e. Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland). And it would be suspended after the war.

    The emancipation never freed one slave; that requires a constitutional amendment. Lincoln’s resolve was to preserve the union. He understood he never had the power to abolish slavery or to suspend the Writ of Habeas corpus outside his war powers.

    So why issue the emancipation? To encourage the southern slaves to rise up in rebellion? Perhaps but they never did. However, it kept England out of the war. England considered joining the war with the confederates but they had outlawed slavery 20 years earlier; joining the Southern cause after the proclamation made it unpopular for them.