Andrew McCarthy at The Corner blog at National Review Online summarizes the final bit in a long line of trickery in the effort to ram the Obama health care monstrosity on America. The latest is an executive order to pacify pro-life Democrats (do those even exist any more?) to vote yes on the measure in the House of Representatives:
We spent the eight years through January 19, 2009, listening to Democrats complain that President Bush had purportedly caused a constitutional crisis by issuing signing statements when he signed bills into law. Democrats and Arlen Specter (now a Democrat) complained that these unenforceable, non-binding expressions of the executive’s interpretation of the laws Bush was signing were a usurpation Congress’s power to enact legislation.
But now Democrats are going to abide not a mere signing statement but an executive order that purports to have the effect of legislation — in fact, has the effect of nullifying legislation that Congress is simultaneously enacting?
The Susan B. Anthony List observation that EOs can be rescinded at the president’s whim is of course true. This particuar EO is also a nullity — presidents cannot enact laws, the Supreme Court has said they cannot impound funds that Congress allocates, and (as a friend points out) the line-item veto has been held unconstitutional, so they can’t use executive orders to strike provisions in a bill. So this anti-abortion EO is blatant chicanery: if the pro-lifers purport to be satisfied by it, they are participating in a transparent fraud and selling out the pro-life cause.
But even if all that weren’t true, how do we go from congressional Democrats claiming that signing statements were a shredding of the Constitution to congressional Democrats acquiescing in a claim that the president can enact or cancel out statutory law by diktat?