Las Vegas Review-Journal | 04/16/1999
Clinton abusing the power to issue executive orders
By Phyllis Schlafly
Copley News Service
Not only does
President Clinton not feel any shame about his impeachment,
as he told Dan Rather recently, he now feels stronger than
ever, able to ignore and override the U.S. Constitution by
exercising extraordinary new powers that no president has
Rep. Jack Metcalf,
R-Wash., says that Clinton has "made himself a
superlegislator by issuing executive orders that
require the appropriation of funds."
friend and defender of Oval Office misdeeds, Paul Begala,
put it like this: "Stroke of the pen. Law of the land.
Kinda cool." No, it isn't cool; it's hot with disdain
for the constitutional rules that "all"
legislative powers belong to Congress and "all bills
for raising revenues shall originate in the House."
originate with the constitutional text that says the
president shall "take care that the laws be faithfully
executed." However, "laws" must mean laws
already passed, not laws the executive order purports
Metcalf is trying
to rein in Clinton's attempts to take over powers that
belong to Congress by introducing H.Con.Res. 30. It provides
that any executive order that "infringes on
congressional powers and duties," or requires spending
federal funds "not specifically appropriated for the
purpose of the executive order," would be
advisory only and have no effect.
Some of Clinton's executive
orders (now up to 279, but others are not numbered) are
federal land grabs over property that belongs either to the
states or to private landowners. Land use and zoning are
quintessentially matters of state or local, not federal,
By EO 13061,
Clinton purported to give himself the power to take over 10
rivers a year (later extended to 14), whose adjacent lands
of indeterminate size would be put under the control of
Clinton- appointed river navigators, each with a salary of
$100,000. Congress never authorized this land grab or
appropriated any money for it, so Clinton says he will
divert funds from 12 departments.
This rivers EO
takes governing authority away from states and localities.
It threatens private property rights guaranteed by the
Fourth and Fifth Amendments.
grab of 1.7 million acres of Utah land for a national park
in 1996 just happened to include a trillion dollars worth of
clean-burning, low-sulfur hard coal. Clinton's removal of
this huge natural resource from commercial availability
tremendously enhanced the value of the second-largest source
of environmentally safe coal, which just happens to be owned
by Clinton's Indonesian friends the Riadys, who gave
millions of dollars to Clinton's presidential campaigns in
1992 and 1996.
For the Mexican and
Brazilian bailouts, Clinton used executive authority
to raid a U.S. Treasury Department fund set up in the 1930s
for the specific purpose of being available to stabilize the
U.S. dollar. The president certainly was not authorized to
give this money to foreign governments so they could make
their loan payments due to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's
old firm, Goldman Sachs.
Clinton's EO 13107
on Implementation of Human Rights Treaties tries to bypass
the constitutional requirement that treaties, to be valid,
must be ratified by the Senate. By this EO, Clinton purports
to set up an apparatus to implement our alleged
"obligations" under the U.N. treaties on human
rights "to which the United States is now or may become
a party in the future."
U.N. treaties that
the Senate has refused to ratify, but would be included in
this EO, include one on economic rights (which refuses to
recognize private property rights), one on the rights of the
child (which would set up a global committee of
"experts" to monitor child rearing), and one on
women (which would interfere with our social relationships
Clinton's EO 12919
of June 3, 1994, entitled National Defense Industrial
Resources Preparedness, asserts plenary and dictatorial
authority over citizens, food, transportation, energy,
health, contracts, materials and resources, to be exercised
by the National Security Council and FEMA (Federal Emergency
Management Agency). Many wonder if this EO's real purpose is
to grab emergency powers if we are bitten by the Y2K bug.
Clinton's EO 13083
on federalism, which was a transparent attempt to rescind
the 10th Amendment, did give Congress a wake-up call. After
congressional protest, Clinton said he would suspend it, but
it's still viable and needs Metcalf's bill to make it
Clinton has almost
two more years as president. His unprecedented grab for new
powers by a blitz of executive orders is in awesome
tandem with his other power grabs through phony
"peacekeeping" expeditions, bombing of four
sovereign countries, plans to create a "Homelands
Defense Command" to use the Army for domestic law
enforcement, monitoring of our bank accounts and databasing
of our health records.
Congress and the
American people must call a halt to Clinton's assault on our
separation-of-powers form of government. James Madison
called the accumulation of executive and legislative
powers in the same branch "the very definition of
Phyllis Schlafly is
a lawyer and conservative political analyst.