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March 25, 2014

In Your Opinion: Obama is usurping Congress' authority

The Daily Star

---- — Last summer, President Obama used executive orders to enact 23 gun control laws. The media were saturated with commentary regarding these laws. However, most missed the exponentially more significant issue: Obama disrespected the Constitution and every citizen, circumventing our legislative process for his own political agenda by abusing executive privilege. During his State of the Union address, he promised more of the same! Gun control is one of many issues confronting America, but the issue does not trump the process. 

Regardless of how well-intended a law may be, it reduces freedoms. The U.S. has a system for debating new legislation: A bill is drafted and a representative introduces it. The speaker sends it to a committee; if passed, it goes to the Rules Committee, which decides when to debate. The House debates, possibly amending the bill. If passed by a majority, it goes to the Senate. The majority leader calls up the bill, the Senate debates and possibly amends again. If majority-approved, it’s returned to the House. If the House rejects amendments, a conference committee works out a compromise. If both houses approve, the president may approve. If vetoed, two-thirds of both houses must approve to override.

Obama is not a king or dictator. He is an elected official who enjoys his position as the result of a democratic process guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. He is one man who repeatedly usurps our legislative process and abuses his power to force his position and enact new restrictions on 317 million Americans. Democrat or Republican, you should be outraged! Regardless of your position on an issue and despite an ineffective Congress, we must respect the legal process that is the foundation of our society; that includes King Obama. A president should know better.

Gavin A. Ralston IV

East Meredith