WorldWide Drilling Resource

34 APRIL 2021 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® The Un-Comfort Zone II by Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. The Office of the U.S. President is Too Powerful Is there a President - past or present - whose narcissism irritated you? Has there ever been a Presidential candidate whose actions made you feel nervous, insecure, or terrified? Or one who was so dishonest you couldn’t understand why anyone would vote for them? What if I told you the candidate or the person occupying the office is NOT the problem? The problem is the office of President has become too powerful. The office of President was designed by the Constitution to be so weak it wouldn’t matter who was elected. The Constitution of the United States begins with the words “We the People” because the power was to be vested in the citizens via their representatives to Congress. That is why members of the House of Representatives are only elected to serve two years. If the people aren’t feeling their voice is represented, they only have to wait two years to vote in a replacement. The power of the people, however, has been usurped by Executive Orders (EO) issued by the President. Executive orders are not laws. There is no provision in the Constitution authorizing them. Article II, Section 3, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution allows the President to make suggestions to the Congress on legislation, but that’s it. Congress gets to decide whether or not it can become legislation. Then there is Article II, Section 3, Clause 5, which states the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This only empowers the President to enforce laws passed by Congress. However, it is this same phrase which has been used by Presidents to assume their power to write executive orders. George Washington issued an executive order to declare Thanksgiving as a holiday. The early EOs were mostly benign, but in May 1861, Abraham Lincoln wrote one to suspend the writ of habeas corpus (a court order demanding a prisoner be delivered to the court and provided with a valid reason for detention). The Supreme Court ruled Lincoln’s Executive Order was unconstitutional, but the Army ignored the ruling, and Congress did not contest the decision. This set the precedent for Presidents to abuse the EO. In the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt vigorously escalated the use of them by issuing 3721, including the EO that sent 100,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants to internment camps. Since that time, all Presidents have written executive orders which carry the weight of law as if they were passed by Congress. It has become such a commonplace way to create law, President Bill Clinton’s advisor Paul Begala said, "Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool." President Barack Obama declared, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone, and I can use that pen to sign executive orders.” President George W. Bush wrote an EO establishing the Department of Homeland Security, and another authorizing the National Security Agency to listen in on citizen’s phone calls without a warrant. Executive orders have gone unchallenged by the American people. Anything treated as a law should have to follow the rule of law. Before a rule can be used to deprive a person of their right to life, liberty, or property, it must first be debated and fought over in Congress. The President will have his chance after it has passed both houses of Congress to sign or veto it. America was designed to be a free society where the government is controlled by checks and balances. The President should not be allowed to bypass that system. The ascendancy of the Presidency began its rise over Congress under President Woodrow Wilson, who wrote 1803 EOs. In 1913, the power of the people, their collective voice via the House of Representatives, was limited to just 435 representatives. According to the Constitution, a census is to be taken every ten years, and a new Congressional district is to be formed for every 40,000 additional citizens. Today there should be 8270 members in the House of Representatives. Imagine how LOUD that voice would be, and how little power the President would have. With 8270 seats, there would be enough representation for a wide variety of political parties reflecting a great deal of diverse opinion. Congress members would actually be able to meet and know their constituents. As Henry David Thoreau said in his book Civil Disobedience , “There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the indi- vidual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.” Wilson cont’d on page 36.

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