In a nutshell, this is the awful truth today: at last count, Obama has committed over 52 manifestly impeachable offenses. (See my previous OPINERLOG posts dtd 8/1/11 and 1/9/13 for an explanation of what our Founders defined as an impeachable offense.) However, without a knowledgeable, fully engaged and appropriately incensed electorate which insists upon the Rule of Law, there is insufficient support for impeachment. It's that terribly simple. Knowing this and for purely political reasons, the Democrats are now cynically attempting to rouse their electoral and donor base by warning them about "bogus", "contrived", "grand-standing", "groundless" impeachment efforts emanating from the bogeymen on the right. And without adequate public support for impeachment, Republicans are now compelled to embark on a less confrontational, less politically suicidal, albeit untried, course of action, that being to sue Obama in a court of law.
Talk about a ruinous equation: an ignorant and apathetic electorate + a lawless Chief Executive + a politically weakened/undermined Congress = Tyranny.
Though impeachment is THE constitutional remedy to Executive overreach, in the absence of public support for such a remedy, and with their future Senatorial political fortunes at stake, Republicans simply have no reasonable recourse but to sue. And, quite naturally, the Democrats are demeaning that remedial effort as well.
To my knowledge, Congress's suing a Chief Executive on the grounds that he has violated the Constitution and the separation of powers doctrine clearly breaks new constitutional ground. And who really knows how it will all play out.
Let's say the court accepts the case and rules in favor of Congress. A long shot, but a possibility. Then what? Since the court has no executive authority, it's ruling would be just that--a ruling without teeth, but, presumably, with some measure of moral authority. Given that scenario, it can only be hoped that Obama would relent. But, if he doesn't back off, then what? In that case, my guess is that public support for impeachment might well appreciably increase, thus, perhaps, persuading Obama to back off. But, what if Obama still doesn't back off even then?
The political gamemanship and wonky calculations aside, when the Chief Executive overreaches his Art II constitutional authority--something Obama clearly has done--thus violating his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, our Founders would have quickly and unreservedly counseled impeachment and removal. In the absence of impeachment, the Founders, to a man, would have encouraged the States and We the People to take all appropriate remedial actions to stop Executive overreach in order to defend our Liberty and our Republic.
As originally designed, we must always bear in mind that determining what is and what is not constitutional rests ultimately with the People. Thus, the burning question becomes this: what will the People and the States, their immediate fiduciary agents, do to restore constitutional order if Obama--or any lawless Chief Executive in the future--cannot be effectively checkmated and stopped by impeachment? The constitutional options are crystal clear: Civil Disobedience, Nullification, Secession, Rebellion. Of course, the People are certainly within their power to simply yield to the lawlessness, a predilection, I'm afraid, which, among too many Americans today, is becoming more and more apparent.
We have over two more years ahead of us to somehow contend with this runaway, transformational Chief Executive. Will he be effectively reigned in before being permitted to plunge the country into chaos, dictatorship or disunion? As God is my judge, I simply do not know how to answer that troubling question. But, disturbingly, the vision of a compliant, shackled American population continues to assail my thoughts.
Personally, whatever remedial actions espoused by our Founders which will restore constitutional order and the Rule of Law is fine by me and should be single-mindedly pursued by us all. But, why do I again feel like a majority of one.