What was President Obama’s worst High Crime?

by Fabius Maximus

Summary: We had an opportunity to restore the rule of law in America by impeaching an authoritarian president and stopping the out-of-control growth of presidential power. But the Democrats supported Obama then (just as the GOP supports Trump now), because neither party gives allegiance to the Constitution. We will pay dearly for our passivity.

“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
— By Joseph de Maistre (lawyer, diplomat, philosopher). From Letter 76 dated 13 August 1811, published in Lettres et Opuscules. We were worthy of America in the past.

"Impeach" sign and American flag

Barack Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, He well understood how he violated core parts of the Constitution. One serious as a precedent. One of the highest magnitude, well deserving impeachment.

(1) When is a Treaty not a Treaty?

When it is enacted by decree of President Obama.

The Left loudly asserts that the Paris Agreement was a major agreement, whose provisions were essential to save the Earth. But they also say it is not a treaty, and so does not require Senate ratification. The former is debatable. The latter is wrong; it clearly contradicts the Constitution. But in this, as in so many things these days, political parties do what they can – ignoring the Constitution.

For another perspective, how have our peers – the other developed nations – ratified the Paris Agreement? They required either approval of the legislature or the Cabinet (a formal executive body in many governments). No other developed nation with some form of democracy allowed one man to make such a commitment (see the list). We are exceptional in this respect, exceptionally stupid. This is bad news and good news. While our Republic appears to be decaying fast (see the sad details), democracy thrives in other lands.

Even many less-developed nations, and even tyrannies, followed the rule of law when approving the Agreement.

(2) Obama erases 800 years of progress

“The demagogue who promised to kill terrorists along with their families is moving his own family into the presidential palace.”
— David Runciman (Prof History at Cambridge) has amnesia. From “Is this how democracy ends?“ in the London Review of Books, 1 December 2016.

Our degradation was clearly visible in our reaction when President Obama’s DoJ produced a “white paper” granting himself powers not seen in Anglo-American history since the Stuart Kings. It took 450 years to limit the English Monarchs’ right of arbitrary arrest and punishment, from Magna Carta (1215) to its final achievement in the English Civil War (1641-1662).  Now, with our complaisance, President Obama erased much of that progress.

Two provisions of Magna Carta are a gift to us from the Barons of 13th century England.

38.  No bailiff for the future shall, upon his own unsupported complaint, put anyone to his “law”, without credible witnesses brought for this purposes.  {This was replaced by improved legislation in 1863}

39.  No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised {deprived of land} or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.  {This remains in force for the people of Britain, but is no longer true for Americans}

Britain allowed both the Courts and Parliament to determine guilt and order executions. Parliament did so by issuing Bills of Attainder.

The Founders went beyond Magna Carta’s provisions. The Constitution prohibited Bills of Attainder by Congress in Article I, Section 9, and by State governments in Article I, Section 10. It did not occur to them that a President would violate both the Constitution and Magna Carta, and issue his own Bills of Attainder.

See the steps by which America’s opposition to assassination was eroded away, culminating in Obama’s orders to execute Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan without warrant, trial, or verdict. Both were executed In September 2011 by drone strikes in Yemen.

If this is not a High Crime, then what is? Now that this precedent has been successfully made, future presidents will again use it.

Conclusion

“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson.

Our ancestors spent oceans of blood, sweat, and tears between that day on a meadow at Runnymede and the Constitutional Convention in 1787 at Philadelphia. The liberties provided by the Constitution were won over 30 generations by peoples from the unruly Saxons and Normans of Medieval England to the Founders. They had in common a high regard of their liberties and willingness to fight for them. Since 9-11 we’ve thoughtlessly thrown away political structures that took centuries to build.

The Constitution is just a “paper bullet of the brain”, with no power except to the degree it lives in our hearts.  That love appears to have died. The ill results might take decades or generations to fully emerge. But we have taken the first essential steps to a new regime. Our descendants will not forgive us.

 

 

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