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10:41 AM Thu, Dec. 13th

Guest Column: Supreme Court should intervene, tell Obama to back off

I watched the State of the Union 2014 TV broadcast, including the Republican response. While I consider most of the rhetoric to be political posturing, two items received my full attention.

First, I wonder how many people realize that the entire top leadership of the federal government was in the same city, building and room at the same time? The president, vice president, both houses of Congress, Supreme Court justices, cabinet officers and members of the joint chiefs of staff - all at the same place at the same time for more than an hour, televised to the world! I think the risks were too great to have all those people together in one place at the same time.

Second, the president of the United States issued a direct challenge to the authority and responsibilities of the Congress of the United States when he stated that this would be a year of action and that's what he intends to do with or without legislation. This goes to the very basis of our existence as a nation of laws.

There have been many complaints about the executive branch of government amending or ignoring existing laws, or even re-writing laws along with other gripes. But, nothing happens - picking and choosing by the president continues. I believe this situation is much more serious for the nation than news reports indicate.

The challenge cannot go unanswered! Moaning, groaning and complaining won't help.

As an extraordinary remedy for the intention of acting "with or without legislation" as stated by the nation's chief executive officer, I suggest that Congress or members of Congress request the United States Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus to the president of the United States.

A writ of mandamus is basically a court order instructing an official to follow the law (Barron's Law Dictionary).

Let me present my logic for such a dramatic response. The threat to act without legislation is specifically aimed at Congress. Therefore only members of Congress would have legal standing with the Supreme Court having original jurisdiction (Article III, Section 2).

The U.S. Constitution states that all legislative powers are vested in Congress (Article I, Section 1). The definition of "legislation" is the act of giving or enacting laws; the power to make laws (Barron's Law Dictionary).

The Constitution also says that only Congress has the power to make laws (Article I, Section 8). The legislation becomes law (Article I, Section 7). The president is then authorized and responsible for implementation of the law (Article II, Section 1 and Article II, Section 3). Revisions or other changes to the existing law must be made by Congress (Article I, Section 8) or through the constitutional amendment process (Article V). The writ of mandamus, citing the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1 and 3, would then command the president to follow the law.

The Supreme Court then may refuse to accept the request, decline to issue the writ or accept and issue requested writ of mandamus. Whatever action taken by the Supreme Court will have significant implications.