Letter: Ignoring the law

Published: Sunday, Aug. 25 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

The penchant of the president and his administration for simply ignoring the law has become alarming. Examples of executive lawlessness are too numerous to list in this forum, but I'll mention a few. Obama has unilaterally suspended several provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the law that he championed in his first term. Among other things, Obama has directed OPM to pay special subsidies for the health insurance of congressional staff even though the law expressly forbids this.

Recently Attorney General Eric Holder directed federal prosecutors to stop filing drug cases that carry a mandatory minimum sentence and, if necessary, withhold evidence of drug possession if it will trigger harsher penalties. The Department of Homeland Security has stopped deportation proceedings of so-called "dreamers" even though existing law makes no exception for them. The Obama administration has relaxed mandated work requirements for welfare despite a federal law to the contrary.

One expects such contempt for the law in dictatorships and banana republics but not in our constitutional republic, which heretofore has been a government of laws, not men. Moreover, our president has the constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. Sadly, this president has taken upon himself the power to determine which laws he will deign to enforce.

Imagine the chaos that would ensue if individual citizens or corporations began to pick and choose which laws they thought were just. Yet this is precisely what our president has done, and the precedent he is setting could become fatal to our nation.

Steve Fillerup

Salem

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