In his State Of The Union address on February 12, President Obama made it clear that action by the federal government on global-warming legislation will be a major priority in his second term. He declared that “for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”
The president went on to regurgitate the standard boilerplate claims of the global warming alarmists. He averred:
Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods — all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.
President Obama then threw down the gauntlet to Congress, declaring that if they didn’t act soon to enact federal legislation he would act without them:
But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
That threat rather openly implies that he intends to ramp up his already brazen agenda of ignoring the Constitution’s limitations on the president’s powers, bypassing Congress, and ruling by executive orders (see here and here).
However, our Constitution, which President Obama did “solemnly swear,” on January 21, 2013, to “preserve, protect, and defend” (view video of Obama taking oath here), does not empower him to do many of the things that he is doing and says he intends to do in the future. As we pointed out here recently ("Danger: Federal 'Regulatory Cliff' Ahead"), the very first sentence of Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” It is difficult to get more plain and definitive than that: “All legislative powers.” Congress is the legislative branch, and it possesses “all legislative powers herein granted.” The President is clearly usurping legislative powers in violation of his oath to the Constitution — and is threatening to accelerate this trend. However, much of the "climate change" agenda he is seeking would be unconstitutional even if Congress bowed to his whims, since the Constitution (per the Tenth Amendment of our Bill of Rights) specifically forbids the federal government — which means all three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial — from trespassing beyond the very limited powers delegated by the Constitution and usurping the more numerous reserved powers of the States and the people. The Tenth Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
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Photo of President Barack Obama at State of the Union address: AP Images