Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yup. He Folded. Stupak Sells Out

Politico reports that The Obama White House and anti-abortion Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) have reached a deal on preventing the use of tax dollars for health care abortions. This closes a process that lasted late into Saturday night and into Sunday. Politico's sources report that President Obama will sign an executive order that no federal funds will be used to help pay for abortions in the Obama Health Care Reform Bill.

Bottom line: You cannot stop portions of legislation with an executive order. It is unconstitutional. The brief blog below from National Review Online expresses it simply:

I know we tire of the hypocrisy, but I really think this is remarkable. We spent the eight years through January 19, 2009, listening to Democrats complain that President Bush had purportedly caused a constitutional crisis by issuing signing statements when he signed bills into law. Democrats and Arlen Specter (now a Democrat) complained that these unenforceable, non-binding expressions of the executive's interpretation of the laws Bush was signing were a usurpation Congress's power to enact legislation.

But now Democrats are going to abide not a mere signing statement but an executive order that purports to have the effect of legislation - in fact, has the effect of nullifying legislation that Congress is simultaneously enacting?
The Susan B. Anthony List observation that EOs can be rescinded at the president's whim is of course true. This particuar EO is also a nullity - presidents cannot enact laws, the Supreme Court has said they cannot impound funds that Congress allocates, and (as a friend points out) the line-item veto has been held unconstitutional, so they can't use executive orders to strike provisions in a bill. So this anti-abortion EO is blatant chicanery: if the pro-lifers purport to be satisfied by it, they are participating in a transparent fraud and selling out the pro-life cause.

But even if all that weren't true, how do we go from congressional Democrats claiming that signing statements were a shredding of the Constitution to congressional Democrats acquiescing in a claim that the president can enact or cancel out statutory law by diktat?

You need to contact Stupak's office NOW. Click here to link directly to his office.

1 comment:

Brian Weeks said...

Please do not encourage non-constituents to call and email the Congressman. It drowns out the people to whom he should be listening.