In the wake of President Obama’s unconstitutional nominations on January 4th, the ACLJ sent a letter to the U.S. Senate calling for a vigorous defense of the authorities granted to the Senate under the U.S. Constitution.
While it’s disheartening that we’ve yet to see a concerted effort on the part of the Senate to respond to this blatant affront to the Constitution, it should be noted that one Senator in particular has recognized the gravity of the situation and shown strong leadership in taking a defense of the Constitution to the Senate floor, to the airwaves, and to the American people.
Senator Mike Lee (UT) has repeatedly delivered speeches on the Senate floor, testified in front of Congress, given media interviews, and addressed the public. All of this in an effort to expose the egregious nature of what the President has done. Senator Lee has also denied unanimous consent for subsequent nominees brought to the Senate floor.
In all of these efforts, the Senator’s message has been straight-forward – Mr. President, you don’t run a Government of One, and this Senator won’t stand by while you trample the constitutional authorities of the Senate. It is high time that all of Senator Lee’s colleagues join his strong call for the President to retreat from the constitutional prerogatives of the Senate.
Without a doubt, there are certainly other Senators who have addressed this issue eloquently. One example is Senator Chuck Grassley (IA), who said on the Senate floor that “the President looks more and more like a king that the Constitution was designed to replace.” However, these efforts by individual Senators have yet to produce a meaningful and comprehensive response from the Senate as a whole, and it is time for that to happen. After all, if the Senate is not going to defends its constitutional authority, who will?
As we noted in our letter, the ACLJ has recommended that the Senate refuse to confirm any additional Executive Branch nominees unless and until the President secures the resignation of the four appointments made in violation of the Constitution. Regardless, the Senate must take some action to ensure that the appropriate checks and balances afforded under the Constitution are protected.
But what is not acceptable is doing nothing. The Senate has a sacred obligation to keep the Executive in check. It would do well to follow the example of Senator Lee, and to vigorously defend the carefully balanced government that our Founders enshrined in the Constitution.