By James W. Porter II, President NRA
This is a tale of two professors. One is among the most respected scholars of the U.S. Constitution and an unwavering defender of the rights and liberties that our nation’s Founders recognized and enshrined. He is Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University. Among his high-profile positions was his iconoclastic recognition of the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right, taken in a very public break with many of his fellow liberals in legal academia. He is steadfast in defense of our system of checks and balances between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government—the framework that provides the remarkable stability of our Republic.
The second is a self-anointed “professor” who was once a reportedly undistinguished part-time law lecturer in Chicago. His name is Barack Obama. His constitutional views were summed up in a fundraising pitch to a group of his uber-wealthy campaign donors. In bragging that he could enact a constitutional amendment banning political speech by groups like the NRA, President Obama said, “Now, I taught constitutional law. I don’t tinker with the Constitution lightly.”
He doesn’t need to “tinker.” He ignores it.
Through the intervening years into his second term, there is an apt description of President Obama’s rule: that he has “aggregated power to the point that it has created instability,” something “that was never what the framers intended.”
Those are the words of Professor Turley who supports some Obama policy goals, but abhors and fears the president’s destructive methods to force them on the American public through circumventing the other co-equal branches.
So what are former “professor” Obama’s views on the Constitution and on the balance of powers?
Most recently he chided the Founding Fathers for creating a U.S. Senate with equal representation from each state.
As reported in the Washington Times, “Mr. Obama told a small group of wealthy supporters that there are several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and recapturing the House. One of those problems, he said, is the apportionment of two Senate seats to each state regardless of population.
“’Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage,’” he said.
So Obama would undo the “great compromise” of 1787, which created our true republican form of government rather than a democracy. The House is apportioned according to population, which means today that highly urbanized and decidedly anti-Second Amendment states like New York, New Jersey and California, far outweigh states like Idaho and Utah.
That compromise made each state equal in power in the Senate, and made the term of senators six years instead of two years as in the House, thus insulating senators from the intense public political fury of the moment. The Senate, intentionally, was established as a deliberative body—where the predilections of the House could be cautiously debated, and amended or fairly put to rest. It is a body in which the rights of the minority could be protected. The Senate was designed as a safety brake. In fact, that compromise was the very reason smaller states agreed to join under a common constitution.
If you want to see what Obama has in mind, look at state legislatures—all apportioned according to population. The political machines of those big states rule everything. And those urban centers are the reason for draconian gun laws in New York, California, Maryland and Connecticut, among others.
We know President Obama plans to trash the Second Amendment through executive action, ignoring his oath to defend the Constitution.
Back to Professor Turley:
In testimony before Congress this year, he warned, “We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government.
“… the framers created a system that was designed to avoid one principle thing, the concentration of power in any one branch.” That concept, he said was “at a tipping point … The current threat to legislative authority in our system is comprehensive—spanning from misappropriation of funds to circumvention of appointments to negation of legislative provisions.”
Professor Turley has repeatedly called for reining in the abuse of power of the Obama executive branch. I couldn’t agree more. And the most direct way is at the ballot box where power is in our hands and in the hands of our fellow citizens. We can teach “Professor” Obama a lesson that he can’t ignore. We must vote in November to change control of the Senate by exerting our own beliefs and principles of liberty where it counts most—in the polling booth. Nothing could be more important to the restoration of the balance that has secured our liberty for so long.
James W. Porter II is the President of the National Rifle Association. His column appears in America’s 1st Freedom, American Rifleman and American Hunter. Join the NRA and receive a $10 discount on your annual membership.