JIM HARRIS: Our President and the Constitution
If you compare and contrast Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barack Obama, it is clear America was a lot better of with Ike.
The year was 1957. The U.S. Supreme Court had decided three years earlier in the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education that segregated schools were unconstitutional.
This was a big deal then. Schools were segregated.
Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus refused to honor a federal court order to integrate the Arkansas public school system. Faubus did just the opposite. He ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent black students from going to Little Rock’s Central High School.
Eisenhower determined that the law of the land as decided by the Supreme Court was that those nine black students should be educated at Central High School.
Ike didn’t question if the Supreme Court had correctly interrupted the Constitution. He didn’t question if what he was doing was the popular thing – it wasn’t at that time in the Southern states.
Eisenhower knew that as President he was in charge of seeing that the law was followed.
As President, he removed control of the Arkansas National Guard from Faubus by federalizing the troops. Ike reversed the orders of the Guard. Instead of keeping those black students out of school, the guard was ordered to make sure they were in school.
Today, all schools are integrated thanks to Ike’s taking a courageous stand.
Obama reacts differently when faced with a challenge.
First, here is a primer on how government works. We have three branches of government. Each has its own function.
The legislative branch is Congress. Congress passes laws.
The judicial branch is the courts. The courts interpret the laws Congress passes.
The administrative branch enforces and defends the laws passed by Congress and interpreted by the Supreme Court.
The Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, is being challenged in court by some current and former active duty members of the United States military.
In the lawsuit, the litigants are asking for federal benefits for their same-sex spouses. They want medical and dental insurance, basic housing allowances, visitation rights in military hospitals and survivor benefits.
This is contrary to DOMA, which became law in 1996. That law says a marriage is between one man and one woman for all federal purposes including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits and filing for federal tax returns.
Obama, through U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, has notified Congress that the Department of Justice will not defend DOMA in federal court.
Holder said Obama has concluded that the administration cannot defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He added that the congressional debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act “contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships – precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking …the (Constitution’s) Equal Protection clause is designed to guard against.”
Since the Obama administration has determined DOMA is unconstitutional, the administration has notified Congress that it can decide whether or not to defend DOMA.
Let’s set this straight – the administrative branch of government is usurping the job of the judicial branch and deciding a law is unconstitutional and then telling the legislative branch it can do the administrative branch’s job of defending a law before the judicial branch.
The Obama White House said federal law trumps states rights when it comes to illegal immigration.
Arizona passed a law allowing the state to deal with people coming illegally over the border from Mexico. Obama, again through Holder, went to court to stop Arizona from enforcing the federal immigration law the Obama administration refused to enforce.
That was a pure political decision because Obama’s ultimate goal it to make all those living illegally in this country citizens and Democrat voters.
His failure to defend DOMA is again a political decision. An important part of his political base wants gay rights expanded. DOMA stands in the way of meeting those demands.
So in this case, Obama is saying states rights — some do allow same-sex marriages – are more important than federal law.
If Obama wants to change the law he should get Congress to repeal DOMA. In fact, he is doing that but he sees it won’t happen. So he is going around Congress.
His solution is to selectively do his job as head of the administrative branch of government based on his liberal political agenda.
Unlike Eisenhower, Obama doesn’t do his job as outlined by the Constitution. Instead, he sees the Constitution as an inconvenience that must be overcome.
It is not that he doesn’t know what is in the Constitution. Obama has been a law professor on the Constitution.
The problem is Obama does not respect the constitution.
During a September 2001 Chicago public radio program, Obama said the Constitution has “deep flaws” and that the country’s Founding Fathers had “an enormous blind spot” when they wrote it.
He called the Constitution a document of negative liberties because it says what the states and federal government can’t do to the individual.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not negative things. The Bill of Rights is not a negative thing.
The Bill of Rights grants freedoms to people. These include the freedoms of religion, speech, a free press, to keep and bare arms, due process and double jeopardy.
The Founding Fathers wrote that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. The Constitution was written to define those rights so that the government could not take them away.
It should concern us all that the President of the United States sees the Constriction as being flawed with “negative liberties”.
The Constitution protects the individual form a tyrannical government and should be enforced in entirely – not just on the political decisions of man who finds part of it inconvenient to his liberal agenda.