By Sen. Patrick Colbeck
I believe we are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Our U.S. Constitution defines three branches of government. Article I defines the responsibilities and authority of the legislative branch. Article II defines the responsibilities and authority of the executive branch. Article III defines the responsibilities and authority of the judicial branch.
It is important to note that the legislative branch is the first branch cited. This was deliberate on the part of our Founding Fathers in order to reinforce the fact that, per our U.S. Constitution, ALL legislative powers are vested in the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches.
What we have in Washington, D.C. today is an executive branch and judicial branch that are acting as if they are the legislative branch. It is as if Article I was ripped out of our constitution.
The most egregious excursions into assuming Article I authority in recent months have been by our president, who has threatened to run our government with "a pen and a phone" thereby bypassing the legislative process.
Nowhere have these excursions been more pronounced than when they deal with arguably the signature legislation promoted by the president-"Obamacare."
For example, on July 15, 2013, the president unilaterally invoked a delay in income verification until 2015.
On Sept. 30, the president unilaterally invoked special subsidies for Congress.
On Nov. 14, the president unilaterally invoked a delay in the minimum requirements for insurance plans.
On Dec. 19, the president delayed the individual mandate for those who lost insurance as a result of his own legislation, the plan that was supposed to give EVERYONE insurance.
Unilateral actions have also been taken by this president on his signature legislation for at least 27 other provisions, including such widespread actions as Medicaid physician reimbursements, employer mandates and high risk insurance pools.
The good news is that he is at least temporarily repealing his signature legislation provision by provision. The bad news is that he is doing so in a manner that completely ignores the rule of law and the constitutional authority granted to him under this law. Yet too many of us remain silent.
Please let me be clear: I do not have an issue with the president issuing executive orders. After all, his job as president is to "execute" the laws of the land. I do have an issue with the president issuing executive orders that go beyond the scope of his authority as defined in Article II, Section II of our U.S. Constitution. He does NOT have the authority to unilaterally change laws without the consent of the House and the Senate.
We can no longer afford to be silent as our country undergoes a fundamental transformation from a constitutional republic to a banana republic. Our forefathers did not pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to give birth to a dictatorship. I encourage every citizen to condemn the unilateral actions taken by our president that exceed the authority granted to the office of the presidency and restore the execution of our government to the confines defined by "We the People."
The 7th state Senate District is located in Wayne county and includes: Belleville city, Brownstown Twp, Canton Twp, Flat Rock city, Gibraltar city, Grosse Ile Twp, Huron Twp, Northville city (part), Northville Twp, Plymouth city, Plymouth Twp, Rockwood city, Sumpter Twp, Trenton city, Van Buren Twp and Woodhaven city.