By Alden L. Benton
“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”
~Andre Gide, French writer, (1869-1951)
In the first two parts of this post, I defined the rule of law and outlined the overall position of the United States regarding human rights. I closed Part 2 with a brief overview of the Child Soldier Prevention Act (CSPA). In this post, I discuss presidential memoranda and the president’s recent directive disabling the CSPA.
In John 8, the Pharisees brought a woman accused of adultery before Jesus and asked if she should be stoned according to the law. In John 8:7 Jesus replied, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (English Standard Version)
This should be the approach of the United States, especially President Obama, when dealing with foreign nations and their violation of human rights. This principle should be inviolate; there should be no exceptions.
Unfortunately, with Barack Obama, there is an exception, usually covered by lies, to everything. His duplicity and cavalier attitude towards human rights is clear in his stance on child soldiers.
In Part 2 of this post I discussed how the United States Constitution sets up a framework for the rule of law rather than by the capriciousness of men. The charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights also recognize the supremacy of the rule of law in the struggle to ensure universal human rights.
None of this, however, means anything to the would-be king, Barack Obama, unless, of course, it will help his personal career and image. There are myriad examples of his abuse of power and all out assault on the rule of law in the United States, but nowhere is the damage he has done as severe as in his disregard for the principles and the letter of the CSPA.
President George W. Bush signed the CSPA into law in 2008. It gives the United States government authority to prosecute, deny entry, or deport anyone who knowingly recruited child soldiers. Additionally, it prevents U.S. military aid, or the sale of weapons, to any country that exploits child soldiers.
However, there is an exception to this mandate. Section 404 b(1) of the CSPA states, “The President may waive the application to a country of the prohibition in subsection (a) if the President determines that such waiver is in the national interest of the United States.”
On September 28, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum waiving the CSPA for a number of nations. In the memorandum, the president states:
I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen; and further determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive in part the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to allow for continued provision of International Military Education and Training funds and nonlethal Excess Defense Articles, and the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of U.S. origin defense articles; and I hereby waive such provisions accordingly.
A presidential memorandum is an order issued from the president to the executive branch. According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, the primary difference between a memorandum and an executive order is that “executive orders must be published in the Federal Register whereas presidential memoranda are similarly published only if the President determines that they have ‘general applicability and legal effect.’”
The CRS report also stated that executive orders and memoranda have “the force and effect of law.” Article II of the Constitution lists the duties of the president. However, Article II does not specifically grant the president the authority to issue either order. The U.S. Supreme Court has not addressed this issue.
The only way Congress could alter or block an executive order is by passing legislation. Any such legislation would be subject to presidential veto. Overriding a president’s veto requires a two-thirds majority of the members present in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In the final post of this series, I will discuss the implications of the president’s memorandum to the rule of law and the future of Barack Obama.
Follow me on Twitter @AldenBenton, on Facebook, or
signup for a free email subscription or RSS feed.
©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
All Rights Reserved