Can a U.S. President Rule by Executive Decree?

Can a U.S. President Rule by Executive Decree?

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America is moving into a dangerous era where the only constraints on presidential power are no longer constitutional—merely political.

While the world watched the historic Brexit referendum unfold, the United States Supreme Court ruled on one of the most import cases in its 227-year history. In a 4-4 split decision on June 23, the eight sitting Supreme Court justices failed to resolve the nation-changing constitutional question underlying the case United States v. Texas. While most media outlets focused on the case’s impact on U.S. immigration policy, the long-term consequences of the court’s ultimate decision are far more serious than immigration reform.

The broader constitutional question underlying this historic case is: Does the U.S. president have the authority to rule by executive decree?

Many political pundits say that political gridlock has made Congress dysfunctional; therefore, the country needs a strong chief executive who can go it alone when necessary. But who decides when such unilateral action is necessary? And who has the power to stop such unilateral action if it is in violation of the people’s rights? If you trust President Barack Obama to make such decisions, would you trust Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with that power if he were elected? If you trust the wisdom and discretion of Donald Trump, would you trust the president after him?

The 4-4 split court decision upholds the separation of powers enshrined in the text of the U.S. Constitution—for the time being. Due to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, however, there was no tie-breaking vote to lay this issue permanently to rest. In all likelihood, this case will be revisited soon after the Senate confirms a ninth Supreme Court justice. This ninth justice may well inherit the power to decide what form of government America will have in the immediate future: a constitutional republic or an elected monarchy.

Executive Action

The constitutional crisis underlying United States v. Texas was triggered in November 2014, when President Obama issued an executive action on immigration policy.

Congress had refused to pass an immigration bill that the president wanted, so Mr. Obama instructed the Department of Homeland Security to offer temporary legal status to an estimated 4.7 million illegal immigrants. This order unilaterally enacted immigration reform that congressional lawmakers refused to enact themselves.

Previously, the president admitted on 22 different occasions that he didn’t have the constitutional authority to unilaterally enact executive immigration reform without congressional approval.

“I’m not a king. My job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law,” Obama admitted in a January 2013 interview with Telemundo. “When it comes to enforcement of our immigration laws, we’ve got some discretion. We can prioritize what we do. But we can’t simply ignore the law.”

After the president changed his position and decided to ignore the law, he was quite honest about what he did. When hecklers interrupted one of his speeches by demanding an immediate end to all deportations, the president said, “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law” (emphasis added throughout).

Apologists for the Obama administration claim this executive action was no different from previous executive actions enacted by former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. The critical difference between these cases, however, is that both Reagan and Bush were instructing the executive branch to enforce somewhat ambiguous aspects of immigration laws alreadypassed by Congress. They weren’t taking “an action to change the law.”

President Obama’s action was truly historic because Congress had already declined to pass an immigration reform bill. So, as the president himself admitted, his executive order truly did take “an action to change the law.” Instead of taking “care that the laws be faithfully executed,” President Obama decided that he wasn’t going to enforce the law until Congress passed a bill that was more to his liking.

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress writes laws, the courts interpret laws, and the president enforces those laws. Executive action is not illegal as long as it falls within the parameters of enforcing laws already passed by the legislature. Creating new law via executive fiat, however, is the very definition of an imperial presidency.

Separation of Powers

To understand what is at stake in United States v. Texas, you have to understand why America’s founders gave legislative authority to Congress. America’s system of checks and balances was meant as a guard against tyranny.

James ii was king of England, Ireland and Scotland until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. During this revolution, the Parliament of England drafted a charter that stands alongside the Magna Carta as a twin pillar of Britain’s constitutional monarchy. This charter limited the power of the monarch and established the right of the people to represent themselves in Parliament. It reasserted “ancient rights and liberties,” and declared that “the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal.”

The English Bill of Rights was the final culmination of almost a century of civil war between Parliamentarians and Royalists. Well over 30,000 English Parliamentarians sacrificed their lives to defend the rights of the people against a king who wished to rule via executive decree. The British colonists in America fought for this same right in 1775, when King George iii and the Tory Parliament levied taxes without giving the colonists representation. Almost 7,000 American colonists died to secure the right to govern themselves via their own elected representatives.

To further protect the American people from the political whims on an autocratic leader, the framers of the U.S. Constitution divided the federal government into three branches, with each branch checking the power and authority of the other two branches. The founders knew that even a popularly elected president could trample the rights of the American people if his authority went unchecked.

This is why James Madison, the primary drafter of the U.S. Constitution, wrote in the Federalist Papers that the “accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Even if you support President Obama’s immigration proposals, do you really want to live in a nation where a chief executive can ignore laws he doesn’t like? Every state in the union is represented in the national legislature, but there are vast areas of the country where not a single county voted for the current president. Should the people of these regions be subjected to rules and regulations unilaterally enacted by a president they never voted for? If so, American politics are going to swing back and forth like a pendulum as Republican and Democratic presidents take turns punishing their enemies and reigning over the land. If the separation of powers has eroded to a point where a president can rule by executive decree, America is nothing more than an authoritarian monarchy where 51 percent of the people elect their king every four years!

Judicial Activism

Perhaps the most important function of the Supreme Court is to prevent the executive and/or legislative branches of government from exceeding their constitutional authority and hijacking the government.

The death of Antonin Scalia leaves an open seat on the Supreme Court. The battle over who will fill this ninth seat isn’t simply a battle between Democrats and Republicans, it’s a battle over ideologies: whether there will be a justice who believes in a living, changing Constitution or a justice who believes in the original ideals underpinning the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Some political pundits are making the case that the next Supreme Court justice could hold in his or her hands the future of America’s constitutional republic. The reality of the situation, however, is that the future of the constitutional republic doesn’t rest in the hands of a single judge. The future of any democratic republic is directly tied to the character of the popular majority.

It is easy to blame President Obama and the four Supreme Court justices who ruled in his favor for this constitutional crisis. Yet, the sad truth is, the American people are really the ones who deserve the lion’s share of the blame. A president elected by the American people nominated each justice on the Supreme Court. A Senate elected by the American people confirmed each of these nominations.

In frank terms, Americans get the leaders they deserve—including Supreme Court justices.

Fifty-two percent of the population believes President Obama was right to take executive action to address the immigration issue, according to a 2015 prri opinion survey. Sixty-seven percent of Americans surveyed in a 2016 cnn/orc poll said they supported the president’s past executive actions on gun control.

It doesn’t matter what the Constitution says about the separation of powers if the people want a chief executive who can make such decisions on their behalf. The U.S. Constitution was designed to prevent a singular tyrant or a small minority from hijacking the government. If the public-at-large stops loving the principles of freedom enshrined in the Constitution, however, a piece of parchment has no power to stop them from allowing a takeover of all three branches of government.

Former U.S. President John Adams explained this point in a letter to officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1798: “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.”

Rule of Law

President Obama often touts himself as a constitutional law professor since he taught a course on racism and the law at the University of Chicago. He knows he doesn’t have a legal right to ignore the law or unilaterally enact immigration reform—he has admitted so on 22 occasions. Yet he also knows that he has four allies on the Supreme Court, and that Congress doesn’t have enough representatives willing to impeach a judge.

The Court is being wielded as a political instrument instead of remaining the guardian of the Constitution.

The original complaint filed against the Obama administration by Texas and 25 other U.S. states summarized the heart of the issue: “[T]his lawsuit is not about immigration. It is about the rule of law, presidential power and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution.”

If a judicial precedent is set allowing America’s chief executive to ignore the law, how will future leaders of the United States choose to use this newfound power? Could American citizens soon see a President Hillary Clinton unilaterally enact strict gun-control measures? Or perhaps a President Donald Trump cracking down on the free press by unilaterally opening up our libel laws so he can sue newspapers that criticize him?

America’s founders authored a document to protect Americans from the extremes of human reason. To a great extent, the Constitution was based on a strong, realistic understanding of human nature. Tyrants, unjust judges, biased leaders and even the American people themselves were restrained from unlawful actions by the principles of this noble document.

“The Constitution is the foundation of our republic,” writes Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in No Freedom Without Law. “And the Ten Commandments were, in many ways, the foundation of the Constitution. Our forefathers believed that if we didn’t keep God’s Ten Commandments, our republic would collapse! We can’t afford to take the words of our founders lightly, if we want to see our nation stand. It was much harder for our Founding Fathers to spill streams of blood winning our freedom, and to create and establish our constitutional law, than it is for us just to maintain it!”

What will America look like when the Constitution no longer restrains the chief executive from making unilateral decisions? Americans have grown complacent about the steady erosion of rights their ancestors were willing to die for. Few people seem to realize the dangers of this trend toward lawlessness. As long as the president is making decisions they agree with, they don’t worry about what precedents are being set for the future. They don’t worry about issues of legality. Such lawlessness always comes at a high cost!

In the book of Psalms, God warns: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3).

The rule of law is a principle that law should govern the nation, as opposed to the arbitrary decisions of individual government officials. In 1780, former U.S. President John Adams enshrined this principle in the Massachusetts Constitution by seeking to establish “a government of laws and not of men.” America’s founders strove to uphold this concept in the U.S. Constitution. Only after people realize that there is no freedom without the rule of law will God be able to teach them the way to true peace, joy and prosperity.

Hillary Clinton and the Rule of Law

Hillary Clinton and the Rule of Law

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Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on July 6, 2016.

On today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show, Stephen Flurry discusses the FBI investigation revolving around the private email servers Hillary Clinton used during her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. Yesterday, FBI Director James Comey recommended that no criminal charges be brought against Mrs. Clinton. But during the course of his 15-minute statement, he also exposed multiple lies told by the Clinton camp over the past year. For more, listen to today’s program.

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Brexit and Iran

Brexit and Iran

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Why Iran should fear a post-Britain EU

While the Brexit vote cast a gloomy shadow over much of the world, one nation was quick to voice its optimism—Iran. The Islamic Republic’s military and political figureheads seem to agree that the vote was in Iran’s best interests.

Yet the world’s most reliable news forecaster says Iran will actually suffer at the hands of a Britain-free Europe.

But before discussing that forecast, let’s examine why Iran is optimistic about Brexit.

Revenge

Much of the excitement generated in Tehran surrounds the chaos Brexit has caused. Long before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Britain and Iran were suspicious of one another. The British opposed Iranian domestic policies in the 50s—primarily those concerning the nationalization of the oil industry—and subsequently backed a coup to replace then Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. This led to deep distrust from the Iranian populace and strong accusations pointed at Britain. With all the chaos now engulfing the European continent, some in Iran, particularly its hard-liners, believe the British are facing their comeuppance.

The deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, was quoted after the Brexit vote saying, “Britain must pay the price for years of colonialism and crimes against humanity.” The comments complement the views of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has called Britain “evil ” and “wicked.”

But Iran is looking to gain more than simple revenge.

Economy

Iran could see itself open to more trade. Some in Iran, including Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Office for Political Affairs Hamid Abutalebi, believe that Brexit is a sign of the disintegration of the European Union. He believes the dissolution of the EU would open up an “historic opportunity” for Iran.

As some commentators suggest, Iran believes trade deals would be far easier with individual nations rather than working with the EU as a whole. After all, the EU sided with the United States to implement nuclear sanctions against Iran. It is also stringent EU law pertaining to human rights that prevent nations like Italy, Greece or Spain from making lucrative trade deals with Iran.

Some have even speculated that Iran could set aside old hostilities with Britain and open up trade talks.

European Army

While Iran may be looking to capitalize economically and strengthen its presence in the European community, it is missing the broader effect Brexit will have on Europe.

Only last week, EU officials made waves with the release of a document highlighting the need for a “stronger Europe” that draws from “the combined weight of a true union.” It was a leap toward a unified European army. The Trumpet has long forecast the rise of such a military and what it will do.

The EU has troops stationed throughout the Middle East on peace operations. The EU naval force has 1,141 military servicemen operating in the Mediterranean. Another 1,200 are fighting piracy in the Gulf of Aden. It has 125 troops stationed on the ground in Somalia itself.

Altogether, the European Union commands a force of 3,705 troops, 749 international policemen and 788 civilians on peacekeeping missions across the globe—particularly in the Balkans and Africa.

And that doesn’t include the missions of individual European nations. For instance, Germany has a handful of troops and police in Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Closer to Iran, Germany has a $2.6 billion weapons deal with Qatar, including dozens of Leopard ii tanks. It has sold $9.3 billion in arms to the United Arab Emirates. There are also deals under way with Saudi Arabia, including the construction of a machine-gun factory there and sending the Saudis 72 Eurofighters and somewhere between 270 and 800 Leopard ii tanks.

German military personnel are also in Djibouti and Somalia. The Bundeswehr has a frigate, maritime surveillance planes and 340 troops in the Arabian Sea.

There are also 4,400 German soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.

North in Uzbekistan is a German air base with 300 military staff plus transport aircraft.

That is just a few examples of one nation. Be sure to request our free booklet Germany’s Secret Strategy to Destroy Iran for more details.

Other EU nations are also involved. France controls a base in Djibouti housing 1,500 troops. Italy is sending a large contingent to Libya; the daily newspaper Corriere della Sera placed the number between 600 to 900 troops, though the government denies it will be that high. Italy also has bases in Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the Diplomat in Spain, the Spanish military’s international presence increased by more than 60 percent from August 2014 to August 2015—predominantly across Africa and the Middle East.

Then there is Turkey. The same document that called for a European army also stated that a union with Turkey should happen as soon as possible. Should that eventuate, this integration would place strategically vital regions such as the Dardanelles and northern Cyprus under EU authority.

Alone these contingents, deals and alliances may seem miniscule, but combined they paint an astounding picture.

Foretold and Forewarned

Back in 2013, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote the following, in an analysis based on the world’s most reliable news forecaster, the Holy Bible (emphasis added):

Tehran is pushing its own strategy very effectively. However, this is about to dramatically change.Biblical prophecy refers to this end-time Islamist power as “the king of the south.” (You can prove this to yourself by ordering a free copy of our booklet The King of the South.) It shows that this nation will play a key role in lighting the fuse to a world war!It also tells us that as the Iranians push their own agenda—growing more and more confident by other nations’ weakness and inaction—they will suddenly be blindsided by a whirlwind attack that will wipe them out!We have taught for about 20 years, based on this prophecy, that Iran and its radical Islamist allies are going to be conquered. But we have never been able to tell you how it is going to happen. Until now.The Bible tells you how this will happen! Daniel 11:40 speaks of a “whirlwind.” This one word prophesies how this clash with Iran is going to unfold. It reveals in detail what is about to happen in the Middle East—and in Africa, southwest Asia and Europe.

Isn’t Iran confident today considering Europe’s current political climate? Iran’s leaders see this as an “historic opportunity!” But all the while they ignore the possibility that an EU without Britain will be a major threat!

Consider the prophecy Mr. Flurry mentions in Daniel 11, then look at the positioning of European forces in relation to Iran and its proxies. Iran is being surrounded, as figures in the map contained within that article show. Mr. Flurry continued:

How, exactly, has the king of the north surrounded the king of the south? Its troops haven’t encircled Tehran. It doesn’t have bases and aircraft carriers dotting Iran’s borders. But it has made some very intelligent, very strategic deployments and deals that give it a presence all the way around Iran’s sphere of influence.

When the Vortex Starts Spinning

Bible prophecy indicates that Iran will be completely blindsided in this encircling whirlwind attack. The encirclement has already begun.

So how does this tie to Brexit? When the British were in the EU, there was someone to keep tabs on Germany—however ineffectively.

Britain was strongly opposed to a European army. London was key in blocking or slowing the march of the dominating German powerhouse. Now, no sooner than Britain decides to exit, we see German and EU elites taking drastic steps toward a combined European army. And Britain won’t be there to stop them.

Link that to the prophecies surrounding the king of the north and you can see that Iran is in trouble. The sure word of Bible prophecy has pointed to the founding of a deadly united Europe, and has even revealed who that power will turn on.

Iran’s optimism at the Brexit vote shows how dangerously naive Tehran’s leadership is, and how it underestimates Europe’s power.

But just as Iran is to be caught off guard, so too will much of the world. Remember, as Mr. Flurry stated in his article, this whirlwind will spark World War iii!

Neither Iran nor you nor I need be caught unawares by this sudden assault. Be sure to read Mr. Flurry’s books and booklets on this subject, and be sure to keep tuning in to the Key of David television program and our various radio programs. While terrible times are prophesied to come, there is incredible hope bound up in these promises.

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. … [W]hen ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand” (Luke 21:28, 31).

To some analysts and nations like Iran, this truth makes no sense. They may even scoff at it. But as Mr. Flurry concluded his article, “This insight can only come from God. And He has now revealed it. This is not just blitzkrieg. We are about to witness a whirlwind. And it was all prophesied in your Bible: Daniel 11:40!”

Brexit and the Book of Hosea

Brexit and the Book of Hosea

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Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on July 5, 2016.

In today’s program guest presenter Brad Macdonald explores the global leadership crisis, the lack of genius clusters, and some remarkably specific and prescient prophecies in the book of Hosea about end-time Britain.

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Germany’s Vision for Europe

Germany’s Vision for Europe

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Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on July 4, 2016.

Germany has lost confidence in the Brussel’s based leadership of the European Union. Could this lead to Germany taking more direct control of the EU after Brexit? Meanwhile both Brussels and Berlin are encouraging Europe to become a major military power. Leaders in Eastern Europe want a “strong European president with far-reaching authority.” Germany’s vision for Europe sees the Union forming into a superstate with deep links into north Africa and the Middle East. Trumpet writer Richard Palmer describes how Europe will be “led ultimately not from Brussels, but from Berlin.”

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Is the Islamic State Moving Bible Prophecy Forward?

Is the Islamic State Moving Bible Prophecy Forward?

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Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on July 1, 2016.

Recent attacks at the Ataturk International Airport in Turkey and in the northeastern corner of Lebanon have some wondering whether the Islamic State terrorist group could be changing its strategy in its fight across the Middle East. In today’s program, the Trumpet’s Middle East correspondent, Brent Nagtegaal, analyzes the two attacks in light of the future fulfillment of Bible prophecy for the region.

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