Wednesday, March 10, 2010

President Obama, fan of the Unitary Executive

During the Bush Administration, there was scary talk of a "Unitary executive,"

What does it mean?

"The principle of a 'unitary' executive involves only one thing: The president's hierarchical control over implementation ("execution") of federal law."
(h/t: C. Susstein)

What did Senator Obama think of the 'Unitary executive'? Here is what he said during the nomination of Supreme Court justice Alito:

"When it comes to how checks and balances in our system are supposed to operate - the balance of power between the Executive Branch, Congress, and the Judiciary, Judge Alito consistently sides with the notion that a President should not be constrained by either Congressional acts or the check of the Judiciary. He believes in the overarching power of the President to engage in whatever the President deems to be appropriate policy. As a consequence of this, I'm extraordinarily worried about how Judge Alito might approach issues like wiretapping, monitoring of emails, or other privacy concerns that we've seen surface over the last several months."

Now this week we find two stories where President Obama does not respect the Separation of Powers enacted by the Founders in the Constitution.

The first story, by Former Rep. Massa (D-NY) should be told by him:

"I was in the congressional gym, and I went into the showers which, by the way, I for the life of me can't figure out why they took all the shower curtains off the shower stalls in the congressional shower. The last thing I want to look at is my fellow colleagues naked, but they don't have shower curtains down in the gym, and I'm sitting there showering naked as a jaybird and here comes Rahm Emanuel not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest yelling at me because I wasn't going to vote for the president's budget. Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man?"

And the second story is told by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts:

"When asked about this Tuesday, Roberts said the criticism itself did not bother him."Anybody can criticize the Supreme Court. . . . I have no problem with that," he said.

"He objected to criticism in such a public setting, where the justices had no choice but to sit silently.'The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court -- according to the requirements of protocol -- has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling,' he said.'It does cause me to think . . . why are we there?'"

President Obama has now performed an EPIC FAIL in both Executive leadership and Constitutional law. How?

Let's start with leadership. When you lead people, you always give them a chance, to use the Asian term, "save face,"

Whenever President Obama declares war against someone, be it Fox news, Insurance Companies, Doctors or the Supreme Court, he does not let his opponents have a "Face saving," opportunity -- the next action for those attacked is to return in kind. By being a half-term senator with no lawmaking under his belt (or executive experience), President Obama never learned how to build a coalition.

That will be his undoing.

Now, how does President Obama, Constitutional law scholar, not follow the Constitution?

Read Former Rep. Massa's story again.

Rahm Emmanuel is a former Congressman who works as Chief of Staff for the Executive Branch. There are places to lobby for a vote (and allow face saving as well), but not the Congressional gym. There are offices on the Hill Rahm and his staff can occupy while the House members do their thing, but by breaching the privacy of the House Gym (where staffers cannot go), President Obama is trying to build a parliamentary system, not a separation of powers.

That is one more step to the Unitary executive that Senator Obama said did not belong in American politics.

And the attack on the Supreme Court Justices during the SOTU? How dare the President, again, break with the Constitution. Justice Roberts has a point. The Justices (and anyone else President Obama goes to war with) are not stick figures, but actual live human beings. If he didn't want to be criticized, maybe he shouldn't have run for the job of POTUS.

I wonder what Senator Obama would say about President Obama's attacks on the separation of powers.....

My question: Who was right? Former Rep. Massa and Justice Roberts? Or Prsident Obama? Why or why not?

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