Should she become president, Hillary Clinton almost certainly will have to issue a flurry of executive orders to implement the panoply of unconstitutional promises she’s made during her run for the White House.
In an analysis of the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee conducted by Bloomberg, the likelihood of most of Clinton’s legislative priorities being passed by a Republican-controlled Congress is next to non-existent. Bloomberg reported last week:
In anticipation of becoming the first Democratic president in over a century to take office without full control of Congress, Clinton is campaigning on promises to take far-reaching and legally contentious unilateral actions that go beyond the steps taken by President Barack Obama. They include giving work permits to 5 million undocumented immigrants, requiring background checks for purchases of firearms online or at gun shows, imposing long-term limits on climate-warming emissions, and closing a tax loophole that benefits hedge fund managers.
Also on her roster of anticipated accomplishments:
Preserving “Obama’s executive actions — including those on immigration, climate change, gun control, and LGBT rights — and [going] further. She’d expand deportation relief and work permits to the parents of young undocumented immigrants. She's vowed to fulfill commitments made in the Paris climate accord to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emission as much as 30 percent in 2025 (compared to 2005 levels) ‘without relying on climate deniers in Congress to pass new legislation.’”
As the poll gap between Clinton and her GOP opponent — Donald Trump — narrows, Clinton likely recognizes the need to energize her base by assuring them of her intent to let nothing stand between her and the delivery of every one of her campaign commitments once she’s settled into the Oval Office.
“She needs to demonstrate to the base that one way other another, she's actually going to get something done,” said Jim Manley, a former adviser to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, as quoted in the Bloomberg article. “They feel — wrongly, in my opinion — that this president hasn't done enough. So she's not going to fall for that trap.”
Although many who have walked in her shoes have painted a picture of a bipartisan future, Clinton seems to understand that there is no way that dream becomes a reality, so she will do as her immediate predecessor did and usurp lawmaking authority, claiming that “she couldn’t wait” for Congress to act.
While Obama’s first term benefited his agenda by a congressional Democratic majority, his last term was less legislatively cooperative and he took to his “pen and phone” to issue fiats foisted on the American public as if they were laws.
Surprisingly, one of candidate Obama’s criticisms leveled at the man whose place he took in the White House was his use of signing statements and executive orders to effect legislation.
Once in office, however, President Obama's personal experience with congressional resistance to his agenda gave him second thoughts about the utility of these controversial codas.
As was further reported by The New American, President Obama often sidestepped congressional impediments to achieve his legislative goals by using executive orders and signing statements.
A presidential signing statement is a pronouncement that the president appends to a bill he signs into law. Nowadays, this executive addendum sets forth the president’s understanding of the law and gives guidance to the myriad departments under the executive branch umbrella on how to carry out the requirements of the new legislation.
Signing statements change the laws, revoking parts of them or adding provisions to them, at the same time redefining the Constitution and nullifying its checks and balances. Using them, the president assumes all power — executive, legislative, and judicial — unto himself and does so in a manner that is beyond question, beyond debate, beyond vote, and thus beyond the reach of the American people.
The political climate in Washington, D.C. is such that signing statements, executive orders, and reams of regulations issued by her bureaucratic courtiers would all be frequently fired from the autocratic arsenal in Clinton’s control.
With all due respect to former professor Barack Obama and former disgraced House legal staffer Hillary Clinton, just a bit of historical research into the words and warnings of our Founding Fathers and their political and philosophical influences regarding the primacy of the separation of powers in a good government will reveal the threat to legitimate government posed by presidential proclamations.
James Madison, writing as "Publius," asserted in The Federalist, No. 47: “The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. “ Madison himself was restating, in his inimitable style, one facet of federalism that was universally considered to be an essential pillar of liberty.
As the venerable French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu wrote in his influential treatise l'Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws), “When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.”
"Centinel," the nom de guerre of an anti-Federalist opposed to ratifying the new Constitution, rephrased for his readers what was already, in the 18th century, a well-settled aspect of good government, “This mixture of the legislative and executive moreover highly tends to corruption. The chief improvement in government, in modern times, has been the complete separation of the great distinctions of power; placing the legislative in different hands from those which hold the executive.”
Another anonymous anti-Federalist commented, “Liberty therefore can only subsist, where the powers of government are properly divided, and where the different jurisdictions are inviolably kept distinct and separate.”
While we can’t be certain as to the precise ploys a president Hillary Clinton would use to advance her radically progressive agenda, it is certain that she has committed to be an avowed and open enemy of republican government and a fearsome executive determined to amass all political power into the Oval Office.
Photo of Hillary Clinton: Gage Skidmore