Irony? Perhaps. The administration that has had the least respect for the steadfastness of the U.S. Constitution is now saying that it protects the administration from prosecution in the botched gun-walking program known as “Fast and Furious”.
In August, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform filed a civil suit (Case 1:12-cv-01332-ABJ ) in Washington D.C.’s District Court to gain access to “some unproduced documents that are of particular interest to the Committee” in the scope of the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal.
In a court filing late Monday evening, the Justice Department asserted that the Constitution does not permit the courts to interject when the executive and legislative branches are at odds.
President Obama once called the Constitution “flawed”, but Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder is now using that flawed document to hopefully have the U.S. District Court in D.C. drop the Congressional suit.
Where in the Constitution is that? Separation of powers?
The legislative branch is seeking to hold the executive accountable for its actions – oversight is within the powers Congress is currently accepted to hold. The White House has claimed executive privilege (not in the Constitution) and now the courts are being challenged to drop the civil suit filed by the House Committee.
The Constitution does not explicitly grant Congress the power to oversee the executive (Article I), although it has been long thought to be an implied power that corresponds to Congress’ power to make laws. How can the legislative branch have the power to make laws without the oversight to see that they are enforced? Without such purview, the executive could enforce, or choose not to enforce, the laws it sees fit. This would minimize the checks-and-balances so thought to exist within the framing document and give the executive an almost dictatorial scope.
Recently, the White House has chosen to allow the lack of enforcement of laws having to do with unemployment, border security and immigration. Without some Congressional oversight, the Executive Branch of the federal government could render the Congress’ laws irrelevant.