On March 16, President Obama
without public notice unilaterally assumed dictatorial power over the
entire country, issuing an Executive Order (“Executive Order—National
Defense Resources Preparedness”) that would permit him in times of peace
or war, in his sole discretion, to control all of the nation’s industry
and resources for “purposes of national defense.”
Under Article I, Section 9, Clause 2, Congress has the exclusive power
to suspend the writ of habeas corpus (the right of one to be released
by a court from military or police custody) in “cases of rebellion or
invasion” when “the public safety may require it.” Although not
synonymous with martial law, which the Constitution never mentions by
name, it is nevertheless clear that the Founding Fathers did not intend
the President either to declare a state of war or to act independent
of Congress to suspend the writ. Moreover, there is no executive
power to impose blanket regulations over the economy independent of
Congress, even in times of war. In this Executive Order, President
Obama assumes that extraordinary power beyond the limits of the Constitution.
Indeed, so sweeping are the areas of control, that there is no substantive
difference between the powers he has assumed and those of a dictator.
Under the March 16 Executive Order, the President
invokes a 1950 Act of Congress, the Defense Production Act, as a basis
for asserting extraordinary control over the entire economy in service
to the national defense needs of the United States. In effect,
President Obama has unilaterally expanded the authority of Commander-in-Chief
to include not only command of the military but also to command all
private parties and resources in support of the military and objectives
of his administration.
The powers assumed are vast, comparable to those
exercised by dictators. Part II of the Order includes the following
section, which delegates to the various secretaries of the administration
the power to supplant private contracts with federal controls over every
part of the economy.
Sec. 201. Priorities and Allocations Authorities. (a) The authority
of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act . . . to require
acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than
contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance
of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services,
and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national
defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:
the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource
facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health
resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial
the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;
the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;
the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;
the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and
the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services,
and facilities, including construction materials.
The Executive Order expressly does not limit the use of these extraordinary
powers to times of war or the theater of war but, rather, they can be
used for “purposes of national defense,” entirely in the discretion
of the President. The powers are delegated to the cabinet secretaries.
There is no provision for prior authorization from Congress, so the
President assumes that he may act unilaterally.
The National Defense Authorization Act declared the
entire country a “battlefield” in the war on terror and granted the
President the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, permit military
arrest and detention without notice of charges or any right of due process
any American accused of providing support to terrorists. The President’s
Executive Order grossly expands the constitutional violations in the
NDAA by replacing the Constitution with a presumed power of the President
to govern the entire economy. In the history of the United
States, there has never been a more profound and grave moment of the
exercise of imperial executive power than this.
This President who would be Emperor, now is.
Jonathan W. Emord is an attorney who practices constitutional and administrative
law before the federal courts and agencies. Congressman Ron Paul calls
Jonathan “a hero of the health freedom revolution” and says “all freedom-loving
Americans are in [his] debt . . . for his courtroom [victories] on behalf
of health freedom.” He has defeated the FDA in federal court a remarkable
eight times, six on First Amendment grounds, and is the author of Amazon
the Republic, <http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Tyranny-Jonathan-W-Emord/dp/0982059507>The
Rise of Tyranny, and <http://www.amazon.com/Global-Censorship-Health-Information-Jonathan/dp/0982059531>Global
Censorship of Health Information. He is also the American Justice columnist
for U.S.A. Today Magazine. For more info visit <http://www.emord.com/>Emord.com.