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Obama's Executive Midnight Tyranny

Monday, November 28, 2016 6:25
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By Douglas V. Gibbs
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When President John Adams lost to Thomas Jefferson in the Presidential Election of 1800, and Adams’ Federalist Party lost both Houses of Congress, the big government Federalist Party went into action.  The scheme has been called the “appointment of midnight judges.”  Jefferson said regarding the massive appointment of new judges, “The principal [leaders of the political opposition] have retreated into the judiciary as a stronghold, the tenure of which renders it difficult to dislodge them.  And from that battery all the works of Republicanism are to be beaten down and destroyed.”

President Obama does not have the pre-inauguration Congress in his favor, so legislation and the confirmation of a massive number of midnight judges is not something he can do, so he is activating his pen and a phone.

Agencies under the Executive Branch are initiating a flurry of new last minute rules, and Obama is putting out a whole slew of executive orders.

The “midnight” regulations cover everything from the environment to transportation and financial marketplaces.  They number at about 98 final regulations, as of November 15, all designed to be in place before Mr. Trump takes office, including 17 with an estimated annual economic impact of $100 million or more.

“We’re looking at the stack of regulations and the fact that the agencies are just as ill-prepared to make these new regulations work as we are confused on how we can possibly comply in such a short time ,” Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs at the Western Energy Alliance in Denver, told The Hill.

“We’ve seen a whole trajectory here of the Obama administration leaning into conservation and climate issues,” Alex Taurel, the League of Conservation Voters deputy legislative director, told The Hill.

US Interior Department spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw said in an email that the administration is merely “finishing the business we started and in some cases, finishing the business of prior administrations where decisions weren’t complete when we took the helm.”

With the addition of three monuments in February, Obama had designated more than 265 million acres of land and water – more than any other president since the US Antiquities Act afforded his office the power in 1906 to protect public lands – as The Christian Science Monitor reported:

To some, Mr. Obama’s use of the 110-year-old Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate a massive area that holds everything from lava flows to Joshua trees is a major legacy move, part of the President’s “commitment to aggressive action” to preserve public lands in their natural state.

But to others, it smacks of federal overreach.

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