January 26, 2014

Letter: A loaded computer

— To those who denigrate people who “cling to their guns and Bibles,” I offer this opinion: The writers of our founding documents knew that those two things are what keep us free from tyranny and despotism.

These days too many Americans are running headlong toward authoritarian government ruled by a president who has vowed to find ways to institute his wishes even if it means usurping power constitutionally granted only to Congress. The president has illegally granted himself the authority to exempt his supporters, Congress and himself from burdensome rules they create for the rest of us.

With 2014 still in its infancy, the president announced his intentions to use his office to institute changes with or without Congress. One of his recent statements was, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward ...”

In a White House email I received, presidential adviser Dan Pfeiffer wrote of the president “he won’t be waiting on Congress to act. Instead, the president will use his executive authority, both his pen and his phone, to work with anyone to get things done ...”

Factually, the president does not have authority to declare new rules pertaining to whatever he wants. A Supreme Court ruling in 1952 against President Truman makes it perfectly clear that only Congress has legislative powers. Presidential executive orders can only clarify laws that he considers vague. By that standard the president’s 23 gun control executive actions should be ignored because Congress did not pass any gun control laws that need clarification. Also, the president absolutely had no constitutional authority to grant exemptions or make any changes to his Affordable Care Act or immigration laws.

Executive orders could be set aside eventually by the Supreme Court if someone brings a case (like rulings against presidents Truman, Clinton and George W. Bush), or a sitting president can void executive orders from previous presidents. Also, Congress could void the orders, but Obama’s will continue to stand because Congress is gutless.

As an explanation for the necessity of the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence states that when citizens find themselves under despotism, it is their right and duty to rebel against it. My computer is loaded, and words are my ammunition.

Ina Fay Manly