In 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) attended a fundraiser where he blasted President Bush, telling the crowd, “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.” President Obama, however, has been far less respectful of the Constitution that Senator Obama purportedly was. In fact, Obama has steadily violated a bevy of Constitutional provisions ranging from separation of powers to specific elements of the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments.
This week, Obama unilaterally decided to tell insurance companies that they could now allow sale of plans in the individual insurance market that Obamacare had prevented, forcing five million Americans off the health plans they liked. As Ken Klukowski of Breitbart News has written, this is a violation of the Constitutional separation of powers:
Obama’s announcement is a flagrant and undeniable violation of his constitutional duty under the Take Care Clause. The provisions of Obamacare causing enormous trouble for insurance plans are mandatory, and only Congress can change those parts of the Affordable Care Act.
But President Obama has a history of violating the Constitutional balance of powers. As Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal has noted, he has unilaterally suspended enforcement of immigration law; he has refused to prosecute drug law violators; he simply stopped defending federal laws he didn’t like, like the Defense of Marriage Act, in court; he issues waivers on Obamacare and the No Child Left Behind Act; Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has attempted to regulate carbon emissions when Congress didn’t push through a global warming bill; he appointed members of the National Labor Relations Board in violation of law; his administration rammed through an auto bailout that screwed bondholders, as well as a slush fund from British Petroleum. Strassel writes, “Mr. Obama came to office promising to deliver a new kind of politics. He did–his own, unilateral governance.”
President Obama’s respect for the Constitution does not extend to freedom of religion – his administration has forced religious businessowners to pay for insurance plans that cover activities in violation of religious precepts. It does not extend to freedom of speech – Obama has condemned exercises of speech he doesn’t like as violative of American principles (see, for example, the infamous YouTube video Obama said caused violence in the Middle East). It does not extend to equal protection under the laws – Obama has personally intervened in criminal cases like that of George Zimmerman.
Obama’s respect for the Constitution does not apply to protections against unreasonable search and seizure, as Obama’s deeply intrusive National Security Agency programs prove. It does not apply to Fifth Amendment protections against taking of private property. It does not apply to the Second Amendment, as Obama’s executive orders on guns show. And it most certainly does not extend to the Tenth Amendment, which protects states’ rights.
Obama has never respected the Constitution. In fact, he sees it as a barrier to his ambitions. That’s why, as a senior law lecturer at the University of Chicago, he lamented the fact that the Warren Court “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society.” That’s why Obama repeatedly emphasizes that the Constitution stops him from doing things he wants to do — it’s an obstacle to be overcome, not the greatest governmental structure ever created.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.