Santorum: Still Incredibly Dishonest

Rick Santorum’s latest Worldnutdaily column purports to establish President Obama’s “despotism.” The president, he says, has shown “continual disregard for the United States Constitution and the separation of powers it set forth to protect the American people from government by fiat.” And he’s right, of course, but not for the reasons he mentions. The first one is a lie:

Two days after he took office, President Obama rescinded by executive order the “Mexico City policy,” which prevents foreign aid going to organizations that perform or promote abortions. No legislation passed, no debate, just an executive order.

Yeah, just like Ronald Reagan did it when he implemented the policy by executive order in 1984. And when it was overturned by executive order by Bill Clinton in 1993 and then reinstated by George W. Bush by executive order in 2001. There’s nothing the least bit “despotic” about this. It was instituted by executive order, it can be rescinded by executive order.

In early 2011, the Obama administration stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a law duly passed by Congress and signed into law. Here President Obama has directed his Department of Justice to ignore the Constitution and separation of powers and not enforce a law.

Two claims, two lies. The DOJ continues to enforce DOMA, they just decided not to defend it in court. Those are not at all the same thing.

In early 2012, Obama’s Health and Human Services department set forth the so-called “contraceptive mandate,” which requires all employers – including religious charities and institutions – to provide free contraception to all employees, a clear violation of the Constitution’s guarantees for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

Wrong again. The policy requires insurance companies to provide contraception coverage for all people covered by a group insurance policy even if that policy does not include it. The employers don’t have to do a thing.

Last June, the president announced that the Department of Homeland Security will no longer deport young illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria. These criteria were proposed by the controversial DREAM Act, which has been working its way through Congress but has not been passed into law. Forget about whether this is a good law or a bad one; it’s about respecting the legislative process and letting these issues be debated and discussed. No, instead the president just picked aspects of the bill he liked and ordered his administration to follow them, even if they are illegal.

But they’re not illegal. Federal attorneys have prosecutorial discretion, meaning they can choose the cases in which they will bring charges. The Supreme Court upheld such executive agency discretion in a 1995 case called Heckler v Chaney, ruling that “an agency’s decision not to prosecute or enforce, whether through civil or criminal process, is a decision generally committed to an agency’s absolute discretion.” The ruling said that even federal courts could not intervene in their use of such discretion. It was a 9-0 ruling authored by Justice Rehnquist, one of the most conservative justice in the history of the court.

Earlier this month, as the nation endured the “fiscal cliff” crises and negotiation, the administration floated the idea of minting the trillion-dollar coin. Why? Because the president needs Congress to raise the debt ceiling for the U.S. Treasury to borrow more to fund the government. Rather than have to negotiate with Congress, he could have had the U.S. Mint create a coin for $1 trillion and deposit it in the treasury. Though ultimately rejected as an idea, once again here was a plan to avoid confronting the “check” in the system – the Republican-controlled House.

Someone came up with an idea and rejected it? Wow, how terribly oppressive.

This brings us to Wednesday’s announcement of 23 executive orders to be signed by the president to attempt to address gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Once again, rather than respect the rule of law and the checks and balances in our system, President Obama is unilaterally implementing public policy without the normal process that involves legislation, debate and passage by a vote of Congress.

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