MARYLAND – Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee criticized Democrats on Thursday for their selective outrage over America’s deviation from federalism and the separation of powers when a Republican controls the executive branch, but not holding a Democrat to the same standard.
As an homage to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Lee used Scalia’s words to explain why federalism should matter to all Americans, stating that “any tin horn dictator around the word can have a bill of rights, but whether or not it’s able to protect you … depends on the extent to which that system of government constrains those in power and prevents them from accumulating excessive power.”
“Now you’ve heard about this accumulation of powers in recent days,” Lee told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “All of a sudden on the left we see a magical resurgence, a magical reawakening, of this idea that there ought to be separation of powers within our system of government.”
The Utah senator’s comments were in reference to Democrats’ outrage over President Donald Trump’s declared national emergency to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Only a day earlier, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi delivered a floor speech on a resolution to terminate Trump’s emergency declaration. On the House floor, Pelosi claimed that the Constitution is being usurped by the White House.
“I almost went into anaphylactic shock when I saw [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi talking about separation of powers on national television,” Lee said. “That’s great, but I wish they would have talked about it sooner.”
Lee went on to berate Democrats for their silence on Obama-era executive overreach:
Where was their outrage over the violation of the constitution and the separation of powers in the last decade? Where was the concern about Congress’s Article I power to declare war when President Obama declared a national emergency in 2011 as part of his undeclared war in Libya? Where was the concern about Congress’s Article I power over immigration and naturalization when, in 2012, President Obama having failed to get legislation passed from Congress that he wanted, created a brand new immigration amnesty program out of thin air? Or when he again unilaterally expanded his unconstitutional, illegal program in 2014, just days after his party suffered massive losses at the polls?
Lee contended that America is great and will continue to be great because of its continued move toward rebalancing power between the three branches of government and restoring power back to the hands of the American people.
“We, as Americans, can learn much from our founding generation, from remembering why it is that we fly the stars and stripes and no longer the Union Jack,” Lee said. “It wasn’t just about getting rid of the monarchy. It was about our freedom.”