Is this statement by President Obama on January 5, 2012 the final nail in the coffin of our Constitutional Republic?
“But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve. Not with so much at stake, not at this make-or-break moment for middle-class Americans. We’re not going to let that happen.”
This statement was made in the context of the President making an unconstitutional appointment of Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The appointment was unconstitutional because it violates Article II, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution which says:
“The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.”
The Senate was not in recess on January 5, 2012. In order for the Senate to be in recess Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution says:
“Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.”
The House did not consent to a Senate adjournment. Therefore, every three days the Senate must hold a session. The last session it held before January 5th was on January 3, 2012 and it held a session on January 6th.
There have been two Presidential impeachments by the House in our nation’s history. The first took place in 1868. The primary charge against President Andrew Johnson was his violation of the Tenure of Office Act. This act, which no longer exists, required the President to seek the advice and consent of the Senate to remove someone that was previously appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Johnson was at odds with Secretary of War Stanton. He removed Stanton without first seeking the consent of the Senate. (Johnson believed that the Tenure of Office Act, which passed over his veto, was unconstitutional.) He then filled the vacancy with Lorenzo Thomas, also without the advice and consent of the Senate. The House convened shortly after Johnson’s actions and drew up eleven articles of impeachment. Ten of the eleven articles were directly related to different aspects of the violation of the Tenure of Office Act. Article of Impeachment 3 read as follows:
“That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, on the 21st day of February, in the year of our Lord 1868, at Washington in the District of Columbia, did commit, and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office, in this, that, without authority of law, while the Senate of the United States was then and there in session, he did appoint one Lorenzo Thomas to be Secretary for the Department of War, ad interim, without the advice and consent of the Senate, and with intent to violate the Constitution of the United States, …”
President Obama’s actions on January 5, 2012 are very similar to what President Johnson was impeached for 134 years ago. In fact, by filling in the blanks, I find that I am able to draft the one and only article of impeachment required today:
That said Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States, on the 5th day of January, in the year of our Lord 2012, at Washington in the District of Columbia, did commit, and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office, in this, that, without authority of law, while the Senate of the United States was then and there in session, he did appoint one Richard Cordray to be Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ad interim, without the advice and consent of the Senate, and with intent to violate the Constitution of the United States.
Regardless of whether a conviction can be achieved in the Democrat controlled Senate, impeaching the president for this flagrant, unlawful act is the absolute duty of the House. The Tea Party members that we elected in 2010 all talked about the need to protect and defend the Constitution. Was that just talk or are they going to act?
It is Hammer Time! We either put the hammer down on this lawless president through impeachment or we hammer shut the coffin that contains our Constitution.