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Checks Without Balance
February 17, 2013 - Joselyn King
This week, President Barack Obama said if Congress fails to pass climate control legislation soon, we will seek to enact it by "executive order" -- a discretionary act deemed necessary by the president that has the full force of law.
Civics class taught us there are three branches to American government -- the executive, the legislative and the judicial -- and their role is to keep watch over each other and uphold the expressed intent of the U.S. Constitution.
In short, each of the branches has its own leaves of designated responsibilities: the legislative branch, Congress, makes the laws; the judicial branch, the Supreme Court, makes certain the laws don't infringe upon the constitutional rights of citizens; and the executive branch -- the president -- makes sure the laws are enforced. To assure the latter is accomplished, the president is backed up by the U.S. military, over which he or serves as commander -in-chief.
So now, just what is this "executive order" provision? If Congress is reluctant to pass a law the president wants and the president doesn't get his way, seems the president can just go ahead and enact it and disrespect the other two branches. (Remember, the president has the guns of the U.S. military behind him.)
It appears to be a very dangerous route for the American presidency to take.
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