Oh, what a difference a few years—and a seat on the throne of power—make.

The context in which Trey Gowdy was speaking in this video was the debate on the Enforce the Law Act, by which Congress would attempt to give itself standing to sue a president for not “faithfully” executing the law. It has passed the House, with the Republicans joined by five Democrats.

One would think that members of Congress would be eager to support this bill in a bipartisan way, but Democrats in Congress seem all too eager to cede their power to President Obama, who would like to be able to modify Congressional acts at will (which he has done so far, with impunity).

Here’s Gowdy:

I’m going to read a quote, and then you tell me who said it. “These last few years, we’ve seen an unacceptable abuse of power, having a president whose priority is expanding his own power.” Any guess on who said that, Mr. Speaker? It was Senator Barack Obama. Here’s another one: “No law can give Congress a backbone if it refuses to stand up as a co-equal branch as the Constitution made it.” Senator Barack Obama. “What do we do with a president who can basically change what Congress passed by attaching a letter saying, ‘I don’t agree’ with this part or that part?” Senator Barack Obama. “I taught the Constitution for ten years, I believe in the Constitution.” Senator Barack Obama. And my favorite, Mr. Speaker: “One of the most important jobs of the Supreme Court is to guard against the encroachment of the executive branch on the power of the other branches, and I think the Chief Justice has been a little too willing and eager to give the president more power than I think Congress or the Constitution originally intended.”

So, my question, Mr. Speaker is, how in the world can you get before the Supreme Court if you don’t have standing? What did the president mean by that?…If you don’t have standing, how can you possibly get before the Supreme Court?

Even in the unlikely event that the Senate were to pass the bill, Obama is on record as saying he would veto it. That’s President Obama, of course; Senator Obama would have said otherwise, when a Republican president was in power.

It is worth remembering that none of this would be happening if the press was fulfilling its watchdog function, and if more Americans were aware of how important it is to preserve the safeguards against tyranny that are built into the Constitution, and to make it clear that there will be electoral consequences for those who ignore or violate them. In the final analysis, we can’t rely on either the Supreme Court or Congress to protect their own power from presidential encroachment; it is up to the people.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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