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Bridget Johnson


March 5, 2014 - 6:10 am

The House Judiciary Committee chairman is following up a pair of hearings on President Obama’s executive overreach with legislation attempting to restore separation of powers.

Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) committee is marking up the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law (ENFORCE the Law) Act this morning.

The bill establishes a procedure by which the House or Senate can sue against the Executive Branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. Such a lawsuit would be expedited by a three-judge panel at the federal district court level and then have direct appeal access to the Supreme Court. This in intended to keep the president from stalling until the end of his term.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently sued Obama in a civilian capacity over NSA spying, and acknowledged it would take a long time for the lawsuit to work its way through court.

“Now that Obamacare isn’t working, President Obama is rewriting his own law on a whim, even though the law doesn’t give him the authority to do so. President Obama boldly asserts that he has a ‘pen and a phone’ to change our laws through executive decrees, but we have a Constitution and we must abide by it,” Goodlatte said in a statement yesterday.

“Preventing the president from overstepping the boundaries of his constitutional authority is not about partisan politics. It is about preserving the fundamental premise of our constitutional design: that a limited government, divided into three separate branches exercising enumerated powers, is necessary to protect individual liberty and the rule of law.”

Co-sponsoring the bill are House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

Issa said the bill “adds balance to an Executive Branch that has grown so bloated and convoluted that it now comfortably abuses its power knowing that the complexity of its actions and judicial backlogs will allow it to effectively get away with it. This isn’t how the framers of our Constitution envisioned our system working.”

“This administration’s disregard for the law has reached an unprecedented level from a constitutional perspective. From unilaterally changing the Affordable Care Act, to suspending parts of our immigration laws, to ignoring statutory mandatory minimum laws in narcotics cases, the president’s actions threaten to usurp our system of co-equal branches of government,” Gowdy said.

“We have pursued certain remedies afforded to Congress to address executive overreach but these efforts have been thwarted. This bill is necessary; it will give Congress the authority to defend this branch of government as the Framers and our fellow citizens would expect,” he added.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Great, a lawsuit with no tangible, visible results even if he wins. The ordinary American won't even notice. Sure, it's all about government spying on us, but it won't get many votes.

Why didn't he file a lawsuit against the IRS, for either their blatant partisan role on behalf of Obama, or the new rules designed to suppress Tea Party activity?

Everyone on both sides fears the IRS, and it would have a much greater impact on their vote to have a highly public case like that.

Or maybe one challenging these imperial decisions by Obama to delay all the really painful aspects of ObamaCare until after the next election, which he desperately needs to win or possibly lose a couple Supreme Court appointments, not to mention the possibility of an impeachment trial.

And the media will lull the voters to sleep with minutiae if the only reason the Republicans cite for trying to stop all this executive overreach is separation of powers. Sure, that's the most important constitutional reason, but the average voter has never read that document, and does not understand or care about the implications of what this issue means because it does not impact them directly right now.

But the impeachable use of the IRS and the ObamaCare delays are totally designed to lull those voters into keeping the Ds in office long enough to make the damage permanent. They should hammer away at those day in and day out, as loudly as possible.

Once we regain the Senate we can begin the serious work against the NSA and the constitutional repair.
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