Lame Ducks and Lawlessness
The mid-term elections are finally over and the holiday season is in retail overdrive wherever we turn. We’ve already felt the cold of the approaching winter, bringing delight to hunters across the state. While our sportsmen (and women) take to the woods of Alabama to fill their freezers with venison, there are far more dangerous animals for which we have little to no control – lame duck members of Congress and a lame duck president.
Lame duck sessions occur after each November mid-term election, and just as a wild animal is more likely to attack when wounded, newly-defeated members of Congress see little downside to imposing unpopular or detrimental legislation before vacating office.
Hardly an endangered species, short sessions of Congress were originally of a longer duration as House member’s terms expired on the 4th day of March every other year. Communications and modes of transportation during the early days of our nation necessitated the longer period of time between elections and seating of a new Congress. If not for the ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933, imagine the mischief that would occur in this day and age with lame duck sessions lasting into the month of March.
But lame duck sessions of the past will likely pale in comparison to what is likely to occur in the next days and weeks. As I work towards my article deadline, liberal news sources are anxiously awaiting President Obama’s address to the nation and announcement of major immigration executive orders to “fix our broken immigration system.” What our president and the mainstream media always fail to mention is that our system is broken because current laws are not being enforced.
Leftists and the complicit media are already pushing the meme that whatever actions these executive orders involve, there will be no difference as compared to orders issued by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Not so fast, according to an excellent commentary “Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty Really Will Be Unprecedented – and Unconstitutional” released on 11/19/14 by Hans von Spakovsky and John G. Malcolm of The Heritage Foundation. Contrary to what you will likely read in the mainstream press, Presidents Reagan and Bush did not defy Congress with their executive orders but instead “made administrative corrections designed to carry out congressional intent.”1
While on the subject of executive orders, there’s another Internet meme making the rounds which indicates that President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than most recent Republican presidents with the not-so-subtle innuendo that Obama’s orders are despised because of his race. Once again, the left plays fast and loose with facts as the number of orders isn’t the issue – it’s the content. Executive orders that either attempt to make law or prevent existing law from being administered is beyond the scope of presidential authority and violates the separation of powers so crucial to our constitutional republic.
On the other side of the aisle, conservatives unfortunately have as much concern with Republicans during the lame duck session as we do with Democrats and the president. In spite of controlling the House and the constitutional power of the purse strings since the 2010 midterm election, we’ve been told repeatedly that until we take back the Senate, there is little that can be done to stop the policies of the Obama administration. But even after knowing the GOP takes control of the Senate in January, House Republican leadership at the time of my deadline is considering voting on a long-term omnibus spending bill instead of a short-term continuing resolution that would fund government until the newly-elected majority is seated. Why surrender the constitutional power given by the voters in November? There are truly times when I question if some Republicans in Congress truly want to halt the destruction, or if running against the current policies simply makes for great campaign material. I would hope they remember what’s most important during the next two years is protecting the Republic – not the political futures of the D.C. ruling class.
Based on what the pundits are predicting from the Obama administration, it would appear that those of us who believe in the rule of law best take cover because the lame ducks have declared open season on America.
Marcia Chambliss is the Alabama State Coordinator of Smart Girl Politics, a 501(c) (3) non-profit dedicated to the education and training of activists and candidates, and Smart Girl Politics Action, http://sgpaction.com/, a 501(c) (4) which focuses on conservative issues. She can be reached at: Marcia@sgpaction.com. Her views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Girl Politics Action.