Power: Given the president’s end-runs around Congress, his shredding of the Constitution and his assault on the authority of the courts, a second term free of electoral restraints may be a frightening prospect.
Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commentator, raised the question on Neil Cavuto’s “Your World” show Wednesday. And while it seems fanciful in light of the safeguards built into our democracy and its institutions, it recognizes the threat posed by the president’s policies and actions if left unchecked.
“I think the president is dangerously close to totalitarianism,” Napolitano opined. “A few months ago he was saying, ‘The Congress doesn’t count, the Congress doesn’t mean anything, I am going to rule by decree and by administrative regulation.’
“Now he’s basically saying the Supreme Court doesn’t count. It doesn’t matter what they think. They can’t review our legislation. That would leave just him as the only branch of government standing.”
Some would consider this borderline hyperbole. But this is, after all, a president who has said he can’t wait for Congress to act and will govern by executive order and regulations if necessary. He has questioned the Supreme Court’s “unprecedented” review of ObamaCare.
As the Department of Justice turned in its homework assignment on the judicial review of the constitutionality of laws, it was a reminder that this is an administration that’s already been found in contempt of court by a federal judge.
In February of last year, Louisiana Federal District Court Judge Martin Feldman found that the Obama Interior Department was in contempt of his ruling that the offshore oil drilling moratorium, imposed by the administration in 2010, was unconstitutional. After Feldman struck down the initial drilling ban, the Interior Department simply established a second ban that was virtually identical.
Judge Feldman was not amused. “Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance,” Feldman said in his ruling. “Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the re-imposition of a second moratorium … provides this court with clear and convincing evidence of its contempt.”
As for Congress, we see the same dismissive tone. “Whenever Congress refuses to act, Joe and I, we’re going to act,” Obama said in February at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, with Vice President Joe Biden off to the side. “In the months to come, wherever we have an opportunity, we’re going to take steps on our own to keep this economy moving.”