National Defense Executive Order Causes a Stir

Like some presidents before him, President Obama shows little regard for limits on power

President Obama quietly issued an executive order Friday updating procedures the federal government should follow in the event of a national emergency. And some are suggesting the order sets the stage for martial law to be declared in America.

The order says the federal government pretty much has carte blanche authority in every aspect of the “civilian economy.” Among other things, it says that that administration’s powers during an emergency include “direction, control, and coordination of civil transportation capacity regardless of ownership.”

It also reads:

“The United States must have a national and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and times of national emergency.”

Some—including HotAir’s Ed Morrissey—argue that this executive order seems to be pretty standard.

But, like others before it, it is vague enough and it exists in a gray area outside of the Constitution so it’s really impossible to know what it would look like in practice. Coming from an administration that has shown little to no regard for the Constitution–especially for our First Amendment freedom of religion, it is concerning.

Someone should ask Obama what he thinks the purpose of the Constitution is. I’ll bet you, if anyone had the guts to ask him, his answer would have nothing to do with “limits.”

One more question:  What is the “United States?” The language of the bureaucrats and politicians suggest it is coextensive with the federal government of the United States. The standard language in the executive order refers to the “United States, its departments, agencies, entities.” It should say the departments of the United States’s federal government, if they had any notion of what this nation is all about.

It’s nothing new, but maybe it’s time we started paying attention and asking our leaders to respect our Constitution.

As Ben Franklin warned, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Read Ed Morrissey’s take on the national defense executive order (3.5 pages/1,700 words).

Read the executive order here (10.5 pages/5,268 words). What do you think?


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