Thursday, January 10, 2013

Red Flag Warning: The Executive Order Danger

      The Watchman is observing Presidential actions regarding the emotional and almost hysterical gun control responses. However, there are issues that transcend this important topic that I wanted to make all aware of, and that is the use of executive orders by Presidents. What follows is a letter I sent to my congressional representatives and encourage all to take up similar action to curb this abuse of power by the executive branch of our government.


Dear Senator Udall and Congressman Lamborn, 

I am sure you are being overwhelmed with correspondence from every corner of the state regarding gun control issues and our constitutional rights under the Second Amendment. As a gun owner and carry-conceal permit holder in El Paso County, I deplore and am greatly sadden when I hear of tragic attacks by criminal or mentally ill individuals such as occurred in our state and in Connecticut.  I do agree with the need for some levels of accountability, but not to the extent being advocated by the anti-second amendment lobby.  However, this is not the purpose of my letter.

My concern is more critical than gun control.  My concern is the appearance of our presidents to utilize their powers of executive orders (EO) in-lieu of lawful congressional action on this issue and many others.  It is not only the current president who seems to push the envelop in exercise of the power of EOs, but past presidents as well in recent times.  I believe this continued use of EO power to circumvent congressional action is very dangerous to our republican form of government.  

As you know our founders set up a governmental system to protect the rights of all citizens from the threat of a “monarchy”. They created separate, but co-equal, branches governing the affairs of our nation. The legislative branch has the direct power to tax and create law. The executive branch is to execute those laws, and the judicial branch to ensure laws, and their execution, are within the framework of our constitution.  I agree an executive must be able to order certain actions within the administration affecting compliance with congress’ intent or to clarify regulatory action, but in no case should an EO circumvent the constitutional process to create law on its own basis. 

I can understand the frustration by executives to achieve their policy goals and “make things happen”, however substitution of carefully considered legislation through the deliberative process by an executive order does not meet the Constitution requirements envisioned by the founders. Using an EO process to assuage raw, sensitive issues such as gun control may actually worsen the situation than if cooler heads worked in unison to craft public policy under their constitutional mandated powers.  EOs are drafted by unelected and unconfirmed staff which in and of its self should give rise of congressional concern.  Failure to curb these “short-cuts” certainly would lead to an ever-expanding push for greater use and abuse.

I encourage you and fellow congressional delegations to carefully explore all forthcoming EOs to jealously guard your constitutional powers, and thereby protect our nation from potential tyranny of one-person rule.  You may think the foregoing is over-wrought hype, but looking back at human history in other nations, the record is clear that by slow shifts, freedom was replaced by tyranny and dictatorship.  Unless our elected leaders stand firm and united in at least this one aspect of governance, then we may be assured of long-term liberties and the pursuit of happiness as promised by the Constitution.


Mark R. Bradbury

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