Schumer: Founding Fathers didn’t want a king

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is tired of presidents going beyond their Constitutional limits. The New York Democrat told NPR President Donald Trump is wrong to suggest he can issue himself a pardon, even though Trump says he won’t.

He said had the absolute power to pardon himself, and then a few minutes later he said that the special counsel is unconstitutional. He’s 0 for 2 on the Constitution. We do not have a dictatorship; the Founding Fathers did not want a king. That means no one, including the president himself, is above the law. He’s just dead wrong.

To quote John McClane from the excellent Christmas movie Die Hard, “Welcome to the party, pal!”

Of course, Schumer’s angst about ‘Supreme Executive Power’ is only because Trump is in the opposing party. He had no problem whatsoever when former president Barack Obama was issuing executive orders because they advanced the Democratic agenda. Via The Hill in 2014.

Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) sent a letter to President Obama on Monday suggesting the president take executive action since the House has failed to pass comprehensive immigration reforms.

“Immigrant communities have waited too long for House Republicans to catch up with the American public’s support for comprehensive immigration reform,” the letter stated. “We strongly support your plan to improve as much of the immigration system as you can within your legal authority.”

Hypocrisy thy name is Schumer.

It should also be pointed out Republicans are showing their own form of hypocrisy by supporting Trump’s executive orders after opposing similar ones by Obama. Former Congressman Jason Chaffetz blistered Obama in 2016 following his State of the Union address over executive orders and overreach.

This is the playbook of the Obama administration. It is unilateral, overreaching and unconstitutional. Left unchecked, it is behavior that undermines, and will ultimately erode, the foundation of our democracy and our freedom.

The Founding Fathers clearly understood that a concentration of power by one entity or one individual was a threat to personal liberty. So they designed the three branches of government — separate and with different responsibilities — with this in mind. By its simplest definition, the legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws.

How’d Chaffetz feel about Trump’s executive orders in February 2017? Roll Call reported he was cool with it at the time.

“So far, no,” he said last Thursday of possible overreach by the Trump administration. “[On] many of these issues, Congress will also need to pass legislation but the shortcut that Barack Obama was trying to take was, I think, ill-advised.”

Yeah…no, that’s not how it works. Either you’re for executive overreach or you’re against executive overreach. There’s no real middle ground. The biggest problem is both parties seem to want to have to have it both ways, and ignore all their previous statements either for or against executive overreach.

I always go back to the Anti-Federalist letters, specifically those written by Cato – believed to be George Clinton – over the notion of the supreme power of the executive. Cato/Clinton wrote this November, 1787 (emphasis original).

It is remarked by Montesquieu, in treating of republics, that in all magistracies,the greatness of the power must be compensated by the brevity of the duration; and that a longer time than a year, would be dangerous. It is therefore obvious to the least intelligent mind, to account why, great power in the hands of a magistrate, and that power connected, with a considerable duration, may be dangerous to the liberties of a republic—the deposit of vast trusts in the hands of a single magistrate, enables him in their exercise, to create a numerous train of dependants—this tempts his ambition, which in a republican magistrate is also remarked, to be pernicious and the duration of his office for any considerable time favours his views, gives him the means and time to perfect and execute his designs—he therefore fancies that he may be great and glorious by oppressing his fellow citizens, and raising himself to permanent grandieur on the ruins of his country—And here it may be necessary to compare the vast and important powers of the president, together with his continuance in office with the foregoing doctrine—his eminent magisterial situation will attach many adherents to him, and he will be surrounded by expectants and courtiers—his power of nomination and influence on all appointments—the strong posts in each state comprised within his superintendance, and garrisoned by troops under his direction—his controul over the army, militia, and navy—the unrestrained power of granting pardons for treason, which may be used to screen from punishment, those whom he had secretly instigated to commit the crime, and thereby prevent a discovery of his own guilt—his duration in office for four years: these, and various other principles evidently prove the truth of the position—that if the president is possessed of ambition, he has power and time sufficient to ruin his country.

Checks and balances exist for a reason and Congress has been abdicating its power for almost a century. Congress sets the rules of government, not the executive. The fact both parties show their hypocrisy on this is revolting.

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