During the last presidential campaign, the left, including then-candidate Barack Obama, were very harsh on the so-called “lawlessness” of the Bush administration. Code Pink, for example, cited the war in Iraq, Guantanamo, the Military commissions Act, “torture”, and failure to comply with international law.
Roughly three years later, most of the things they cited have not only been found to have been legal all along, but those policies have been continued by now-President Obama–to his benefit, as indicated by the killing of Osama Bin Ladin.
But, in the interests of fairness and balance, I think we can bring our own charges of lawlessness against President Obama. Take the following four examples:
- The President has decided not to defend the constitutionality of a federal law, in spite of the administration’s own statements that they were obligated to do so even if they disagreed. In this case, ABC news reported here http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-administration-drops-legal-defense-marriage-act/story?id=12981242 that “President Obama has instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.” They continued, “The highly unusual, though not unprecedented, decision not to defend a federal law amounts to a major change of course for the administration which has previously said it was obligated to do so even if it disagreed with it.” Let’s turn this around: What if President Bush had decided to do the same thing about the abortion issue. How would the left have reacted?
- The War Powers Act: In acting in Libya, Obama and the administration engaged in a military conflict without legislative consent. The War Powers Act, passed in 1973, requires that presidents get the approval of Congress within 60 days of U.S. military forces’ “imminent involvement” or “introduction into hostilities.” On Friday, 20 May 2011, the Obama Administration clearly and deliberately violated the 60 day deadline.
- Immigration: Several states, including Arizona and Oklahoma, have passed laws which make certain immigration violations, such as transporting “undocumented immigrants”, or creating state barriers to illegal workers, or requiring proof of citizenship to receive state government benefits. All of these laws are well within the purview of the states and have been upheld by both state Supreme Courts and federal circuit courts. (To my knowledge, none of these cases have yet reached the U.S. Supreme Court.) Yet the Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of bringing suits against those states, even though the laws are constitutional and have been upheld time and again. Indeed the administration’s failure to enforce current immigration law is unconscionable.
- The oil drilling ban: Shortly after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Obama regime declared a drilling ban for “at least seven years”, according to ethically-challenged Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Since then, two Federal judges have ruled against the administration, with one even going so far as to rule the administration “in contempt” for continuing the moratorium after the judge had ruled against them.
I’ll stipulate that there are other examples, but in each of these cases, the Obama Administration has acted in defiance of the laws that they are sworn to uphold. And in each case, they have done so openly and knowingly. Thus, they have earned their portrayal of being “lawless”–the same portrayal that they falsely used against former President Bush.
Update (20 September 2011 10:10 EST):
Over at Townhall, Robert Knight has written an excellent piece that makes many of these same points.