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Is the Obama Administration Upholding the Rule of Law?

Last week President Barack Obamas most recently minted czar, Special Advisor to the President for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Elizabeth Warren, spoke to 400 bankers at the swanky Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC. Her message, according to The Washington Post: Behave, play nice, and well get along just fine. Specifically, Warren promised to take a more principles-based approach to regulation, rather than clearly articulating thou shalt not rules that banks could rely on. For this Progressive White House, an enlightened expert, like Warren, given broad new powers by an unaccountably vague statute is exactly what the federal government needs to enforce order on our complex modern world. For our Founding Fathers, however, everything about Warren, from the way she attained her new powers to the way she plans to use them, is antithetical to our nations First Principles and the United States Constitution.

Look again at Warrens title. She is not the director of the CFPB nor does she even work for it. For her to actually head the agency, President Obama would have to submit her name to the Senate to meet the Constitutions advice and consent requirement. But President Obama did not want that transparency. Instead he decided to subvert the Constitution by making her his special advisor that would lead a team of about 30 or 40 people at the Department of Treasury to set up the CFPB. Yale Constitutional law professor Bruce Ackerman described Obamas Warren chicanery as another milestone down the path toward an imperial presidency.

But Warrens appointment is just the beginning of her assault on the Constitution. Her rejection of rules-based governing, cited above, is also a rejection of our nations First Principles. Hillsdale College Ronald Pestritto explains:

The Founders understood that there are two fundamental ways in which government can exercise its authority. The first is a system of arbitrary rule, where the government decides how to act on an ad hoc basis, leaving decisions up to the whim of whatever official or officials happen to be in charge; the second way is to implement a system grounded in the rule of law, where legal rules are made in advance and published, binding both government and citizens and allowing the latter to know exactly what they have to do or not to do in order to avoid the coercive authority of the former.

To be fair, Warren is hardly the only example of the Obama administrations assault on the Rule of Law in favor of the arbitrary rule of government experts. In fact, the entire progressive movement is based on discarding the separation of powers at the core of the U.S. Constitution in favor of empowering the Administrative State. Progressive movement founder President Woodrow Wilson wrote in 1891: Give us administrative elasticity and discretion, free us from the idea that checks and balances are to be carried down through all stages of organization.

Freeing themselves from the checks and balances supplied in the Constitution is exactly what the Obama administration has been doing since day one. Just consider the outrageous and illegal takeover of Chrysler, the shakedown of BP, the assertion that President Obama can rewrite our nations immigration laws simply by not enforcing them, the refusal to enforce anti-voting fraud laws, and Obamacare czar Kathleen Sebelius threats insurance companies. The pattern is clear: this administration audaciously believes that their experts are always right and that the Constitution is just a barrier to their effective administration of the country. This is not what our Founders intended. This must be stopped.

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