(NaturalNews) Democrats had Richard Nixon in their sights in 1974 at the pinnacle of the Watergate scandal, which involved Republican operatives breaking into Democratic National Committee headquarters, ostensibly at Nixon's direction. But before they could impeach him, he resigned, becoming the first president in U.S. history to voluntarily step down while still in office.
In 1998, Republicans had their sights on Bill Clinton, at the pinnacle of a scandal involving perjury and a sexual relationship with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. The Republican-led House impeached Clinton, but the Democrat-led Senate acquitted him.
Both of these instances serve to remind us that presidents, while they may have broad powers as head of the Executive Branch, are not above the law and, as such, must be held to account when they do things that exceed their authority or violate the laws of the land.
That's why the House of Representatives' plan to file a lawsuit against President Obama is so important: not for the political aspect, but because we, as citizens, have a keen interest in ensuring that our presidents abide by their oaths of office and the laws of the land.
Clearly, much of the criticism directed at Obama has been political and, at times, completely irresponsible; he was not born in Kenya; he's not a Muslim (remember, he attended the controversial Jeremiah Wright's Christian-denominated church in Chicago), and he has not done anything intentionally immoral or harmful.
But let's face it -- Obama's presidency has been marred by scandal, and not all of it centers on bad policy-making. Many of the scandals have occurred because the President himself, if not his Cabinet members and bureaucratic department heads, has committed illegal acts.
History of abuses
Here is a run-down of five of the most egregious of them:
Obamacare: Signed into law in 2010, Obamacare -- officially known as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- had many provisions, not all of which were to take effect at the same time. But Obama has unilaterally -- that is, without congressional input -- changed provisions of Obamacare 41 times since the law was passed (and passed Supreme Court muster), according to the Galen Institute, a healthcare think tank and advocacy group.
Among the unilateral changes Obama has made:
-- Contrary to the Obamacare legislation, instituted a one-year delay of the requirement that employers must report to their employees on their W-2 forms the full cost of their employer-provided health insurance.
-- Obama has directed the IRS to issue a rule that allows premium-assistance tax credits to be available in federal exchanges, although the law only specified that they would be available "through an Exchange established by the State under Section 1311."
-- By an administrative action that's contrary to statutory language in the ACA, the reporting requirements for employers were delayed by one year.
-- The administration decided to offer employer contributions to members of Congress and their staffs when they purchase insurance on the exchanges created by the ACA, a subsidy that the law doesn't provide.
-- The President changed the deadline for the individual mandate, by declaring that customers who have purchased insurance by March 31, 2014, will avoid the tax penalty. Previously, they would have had to purchase a plan by mid-February.
You can read the full list of Obamacare violations here.
Letting states off the hook for recreational marijuana use: As most readers know, a majority of citizens in the states of Washington and Colorado voted a few years ago to legalize recreational-use marijuana and pot-infused products, though such use remains a violation of federal law. Whether you're a fan of marijuana or not isn't the point; in order for states to legally pass such legislation themselves, Congress must pass legislation repealing the ban, and it must be signed into law by the President. That's the process; until that happens, if Obama continues to ignore what is happening in these two states, then he is guilty of dereliction of his duty to uphold and enforce the nation's laws.
Governing through the bureaucracy: Presidents, as head of the Executive Branch, are in charge of the federal bureaucracy. That is why they appoint the heads of the various agencies. And while these agencies are empowered to act within congressionally defined parameters, those powers are finite and defined. Presidents, then, do not have the authority to direct them to act outside of those parameters. As one example of this presidential overreach, the President had no authority to order the Environmental Protection Agency to implement new environmental regulations aimed specifically at coal-fired power plants to force them to trim emissions. Politically, you may buy into the President's decision, but the rule of law trumps politics.
The law matters
Terrence Jeffrey wrote for CNS News:
So, if the president can unilaterally cut the payments some businesses are required by law to make to the government, why can't he unilaterally increase the payments extracted from some families?
Why can't he just set tax rates at whatever level he pleases? Why can't he do the same with spending?
Do the actual words in our laws still bind the people sworn to execute them? No. Has Obama violated his oath of office? Yes.
The point is that enforcement of the law, as written, matters, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office or what party he or she belongs to, as it must if the country is to survive and thrive.