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By Rick Santorum:

President Obama’s announcement last week on his plans to make sweeping changes to our nation’s gun laws by presidential executive order is yet another example of his continual disregard for the United States Constitution and the separation of powers it set forth to protect the American people from government by fiat.

Putting aside for a moment the misdirected emphasis on gun ownership, as opposed to mental illness and cultural glorification of violence to curb gun crime, President Obama’s actions represent another attempt to circumvent Congress – a Congress elected by the people but controlled by Republicans – to establish public policy that supports his liberal agenda.

As we all learn early on in grade-school civics class, one of the most important and distinguishing aspects of our government is the system of checks and balances. Our Founding Fathers created a system of divided government, where the power at the federal government is separated among three distinct branches: the legislative (Congress), the executive (the president) and the judiciary (the Supreme Court).

Yet time and time again, when President Obama has met resistance from Congress, the check on his powers in the executive branch, he has found ways to circumvent our system and impose his views and vision.

Some examples:

  • Two days after he took office, President Obama rescinded by executive order the “Mexico City policy,” which prevents foreign aid going to organizations that perform or promote abortions. No legislation passed, no debate, just an executive order.
  • In early 2011, the Obama administration stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a law duly passed by Congress and signed into law. Here President Obama has directed his Department of Justice to ignore the Constitution and separation of powers and not enforce a law.
  • In early 2012, Obama’s Health and Human Services department set forth the so-called “contraceptive mandate,” which requires all employers – including religious charities and institutions – to provide free contraception to all employees, a clear violation of the Constitution’s guarantees for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.
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