Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC4) on role of Congress and Pres. Obama’s lawlessness

Rep. Gowdy of South Carolina speaks to the issue of enforcement of federal laws and the President’s cavalier approach to law.


“I want us to talk as colleagues, because our foundational document gave us as the House unique powers and responsibilities. We run every two years because they intended for us to be closest to the people. The President was given different duties and powers. The President was given the duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, so my question, Mr. Speaker, is what does that mean to you?”

“We know the President can veto a bill for any reason or for no reason,” he continued. “We know the President can refuse to defend the constitutionality of a statute – even one that he signs into law. We know the President can issue pardons for violations of the very laws that we pass, and we know that the President has prosecutorial discretion as evidenced and used through his U.S. attorneys.

Mr. Speaker, that is a lot of power. What are we to do when that amount of power is not enough? What are we to do when this president, or any president, decides to selectively enforce a portion of a law and ignore other portions of that law? What do we do, Mr. Speaker, regardless of motivation, when a president nullifies our vote by failing to faithfully execute the law?


“You know, in the oath that brand-new citizens take, it contains six different references to ‘the law.’ If it’s good enough for us to ask brand-new citizens to affirm their devotion to the law, is it too much to ask that the President do the same?

If a president can change some laws, can he change all laws? Can he change election laws? Can he change discrimination laws? Are there any laws, under your theory, that he actually has to enforce?

What is our recourse, Mr. Speaker? What is our remedy?”


“Mr. Speaker, the House of Representatives does not exist to pass suggestions. We do not exist to pass ideas. We make law. And while you are free to stand and clap when any president comes into this hallowed chamber and promises to do it with or without you, I will never stand and clap when any president – no matter whether he’s your party or mine – promises to make us a constitutional anomaly and an afterthought. We make law.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. acardnal says:

    Cong. Trey Gowdy is a former federal prosecutor. If you’ve never seen Rep. Gowdy question witnesses testifying before a Congressional committee, you have missed an educational opportunity in the art of interrogation.

  2. Cantor says:

    With respect, Mr. Gowdy, when the Congress chooses to not do what it should, the President will do whatever he wants.

  3. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Allan Drury, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

  4. vandalia says:

    That would be a good question to ask George W. Bush who negated the law 1,100 specific times in signing statements.

  5. Uxixu says:

    Congress very desperately needs to reclaim it’s authority that has been delegated to the Executive through non-elected alpha-bet soup bureaucracies.

    As with many/most issues, don’t take the bait that non-action is not to be desired. Gridlock is a FEATURE of separation of powers when there isn’t a consensus and Federalism should be the proper answer in such cases, devolving issues from the Federal behemoth to the States (and ideally from the States to the counties).

  6. Joseph-Mary says:

    I know that in my state it is a total waste of time to write to our democratic senators or governor who totally and completely take the party line. They are funded even by liberal Hollywood types and both abortion and the gay agenda rank high, very high. One senator is a very wealthy homosexual and he certainly does not represent me in any way. He can buy his position but not my respect.

  7. Magash says:

    Where has anyone ever stated that because some particular Republican president in the past may have done something that may be illegal or immoral that all Republicans for ever more are not allowed to criticize any Democrat, Obama, or any future President?
    I’ll tell you right now George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon did many things in their presidency with which I and many other Republicans do not agree. That in no way gives license to this President to carry out any action with contravenes the Constitution of the United States or any valid U.S. law.
    George Bush is no longer President of the United States. He no long has the authority to take any action in the person of the President of the United States. Any action which he took which was immoral, illegal or just bad policy has no implication for the justification for any actions of the present President of the United States.

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