Comments about ‘Letters: George Washington's astute observation about the Constitution’

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Published: Sunday, Aug. 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Then I suppose George Washington must have rolled in his grave watching Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, GH Bush, Clinton [to some extent] and gone freakin' ballistic with George W Bush!

What was that Jesus said about hypocrites complaining about the mote in one's eye, with a beam in their own?...

SEY
Sandy, UT

Welcome to the party, Ralph. You're only about 150 years too late!

bengel
Sandy, UT

LDS Liberal, what is happening now is perhaps the most egregious abuse of executive authority that we have seen. If a Republican succeeds Obama, he or she could be even worse, all in the name of "doing the right thing." The point is we have lost something, and we need to get it back.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Ho hum, another conservative mad at Obama. Really, people, find another topic.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@bengel --

"the most egregious abuse of executive authority that we have seen. "

1. Bush jr. signed 291 executive orders (173 in his first term, 118 in his second). Reagan signed 381 (213 first term), and Nixon signed 346 (247 first term).

Obama only signed 147 in his first term. According to NY Magazine, he has signed fewer orders than any president in the past 100 years.

2. Many presidents have declined to defend one or another piece of legislation in court -- amongst others, Bush Sr. declined to defend affirmative action legislation, and Reagan declined to defend an independent council law.

3. The definitely egregious NSA/FISA legislation was originally passed before Obama was even elected -- and renewed by mainly Republicans with a veto-proof majority in one house and nearly so in the other.

What exactly is this "egregious abuse" you refer to?

bengel
Sandy, UT

Contrarius,

My reference to the level of egregiousness is a reflection of my views which I now regret including because you have cited it in what may be an effort to cause me to digress into an argument about who is worse. I could ask how many previous presidents have been sued by federal employees because they have been ordered not to enforce laws the employees have sworn to uphold. I could ask which previous presidents have openly stated they will not enforce portions of their signature legislative achievements. But doing so would cause me to ignore a more important point.

The more important point is that neither previous nor present administrations have demonstrated a proper regard for Constitutional constraints, and neither past nor present Congresses have had the courage to call them on it. Regardless of who is in the White House or Congress following the next presidential election, I fear it will only grow worse.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@bengel --

"I could ask how many previous presidents have been sued by federal employees"

Bush was sued at least once by federal employees -- by the National Treasury Employees' Union. There are probably other cases that I'm not aware of -- I only spent about 5 minutes looking.

"I could ask which previous presidents have openly stated they will not enforce portions of their signature legislative achievements."

Bush used signing statements many times in order to avoid enforcing portions of laws that he didn't like. In fact, he is infamous for doing so. He used signing statements an estimated **750** times during his tenure.

As of June 2011, Obama had only made **18** signing statements. Yes, that's roughly 40 times LESS than Bush. (I can probably find more recent numbers somewhere, but I don't have time right now.)

"The more important point is that neither previous nor present administrations have demonstrated a proper regard for Constitutional constraints"

I don't agree with everything Obama does. However, I do acknowledge that he is a Constitutional lawyer and professor of Constitutional law. I have a LOT of faith that he knows more about the Constitution than either you or I do.

bengel
Sandy, UT

Contrarius,

NTEU sued over an executive order regarding urine testing of agents. They lost in US Supreme Court. Obama ordered federal agents to cease enforcing the law they are oath-bound to enforce. In the US District Court, Obama lost. As a lawyer who trained peace officers for twenty years, these two issues are not in the same universe.

Obama said he would delay enforcing provisions of the ACA because enforcing the law as written would be bad for the economy. I cannot find anything in the ACA or Constitution authorizing this.

You say Bush issued more signing statements than Obama. To me, that means that Bush violated the Constitution more frequently than Obama. It's still wrong.

Both took an oath to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and to the best of their ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. This should preclude deliberate refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress.

Whatever he may have been, Obama is currently a politician with an agenda. I see no more reason to repose confidence in his opinion regarding Constitutionality than I would in the opinions of Sen. Hatch or Rep. Gowdy.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@bengel --

"NTEU sued over an executive order...."

As I said -- I only spent a coupla minutes searching -- and that's not a very easy topic to search on. I'm sure there's more out there. The point, however, is that Obama is far from the first president to be sued by federal employees. And, as I've already pointed out, he is also far from the first president to refuse to enforce laws he didn't like.

"Obama said he would delay enforcing provisions of the ACA...."

Remember -- Bush made **750** signing statements. MANY of those were written so that Bush wouldn't have to enforce laws that he didn't happen to like.

"that means that Bush violated the Constitution more frequently than Obama."

In your earlier post you declared that Obama was committing "the most egregious abuse of executive authority that we have seen".

Now you simply say "they're both bums".

That's an entirely different claim.

I'll repeat my earlier question: why do you think that Obama is more abusive of his authority than any other president?

Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

Contarius.

"I don't agree with everything Obama does. However, I do acknowledge that he is a Constitutional lawyer and professor of Constitutional law. I have a LOT of faith that he knows more about the Constitution than either you or I do."

Really? This is such a cop out statement. Thats like saying Bernie Madoff knows more about finance capitalism than you or I do so we should just leave him alone and be quiet which is exactly what kind of code word your statement above means.

bengel
Sandy, UT

Contrarius,

Unilaterally waived ACA's cap on patient's annual out-of-pocket expenses — an exemption nowhere permitted in the law.

Presidentially directed 70-plus percent subsidy for insurance premiums paid by congressmen and their personal staffs — the law denies subsidies for anyone that well-off.

Suspended the ACA’s employer mandate.

Hundreds of waivers granted by HHS to selected businesses, unions and other well-lobbied, very special interests.

Immigration service ordered to cease proceedings against young illegal immigrants brought here as children.

Disclosed secret grand jury material by exposing existence of sealed indictment of a Benghazi attacker, violating FRCP Rule 6(e) that states: “… no person may disclose the indictment’s existence except as necessary to issue or execute a warrant or summons.’’

Authorized and permitted the DOJ to wiretap and secretly obtain two months of telephone and e-mail records of over one hundred journalists. Can the Constitutional law professor say 1st and 4th Amendments?

Bypassed Senate to appoint three members to NLRB, and Richard Cordray to head CFPB.

Bush argued he would not enforce laws he thought unconstitutional. Obama openly and proudly proclaims he does it because he disagrees with the result.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@bengel --

Sorry for my delayed response. I was gone most of the day yesterday.

You said: "Unilaterally waived ACA's cap on patient's annual out-of-pocket expenses"

So -- you really think that playing around with healthcare costs is worse than getting us into wars based on lies?

You said: "Immigration service ordered to cease proceedings against young illegal immigrants brought here as children."

"The American Bar Association claims President Bush has violated that oath by issuing hundreds of "signing statements" to disregard selected provisions of the laws that Congress passed and he signed. A bipartisan, 11-member panel of the ABA found that President Bush is not only disregarding laws but using such signing statements far more than any president in history. In fact, Bush has used signing statements to raise constitutional objections to more than 800 provisions in more than 100 laws. All of the presidents combined before 2001 had issued only 600."

"Bush's signing statements have covered a range of issues, from military rules and affirmative action requirements to immigration and federal research. "

Arrrg. This is why I usually try not to get involved in presidential arguments. It takes too much time to do the research.

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