When I have the privilege of spending time with high school government students in Northeast Georgia, I’m always impressed by the high caliber of discussion we enjoy. These bright young people studying our constitutional republic often have a command of our founders’ vision of government that eludes elitist liberals and Washington bureaucrats.
The idea of separation of powers provides a prime example of this divide. If you asked a classroom of government students which branch of government was designed to interpret the laws, you’d see a flurry of hands being raised to tell you that the judiciary — our court system — was established to provide an important check on the legislature, which creates the laws, and the executive branch, which enforces the laws.
Unfortunately, what is crystal clear to these students surpasses the understanding of a president who considers himself a constitutional scholar. Unelected federal regulators have run wild under the Obama Administration, issuing a record-breaking 81,611 pages of rules last year alone.
Beyond the creation of new regulations, bureaucrats have seized the role of interpreting laws through an ideological lens to advance their agenda.
President Barack Obama boasted of his willingness to circumvent the courts and Congress in 2014 when he declared “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” adding that he could “use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions.”
The high financial toll of the unchecked, out-of-control federal bureaucracy on American businesses and families is well-documented. Even more troubling is the impact executive branch encroachment on the interpretation of law has on Americans’ liberties. From education and commerce to health care and our Second Amendment rights, no aspect of life will remain untouched by unaccountable bureaucrats unless Congress reins in the Executive Branch.
That’s why I joined my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee last week in approving the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (H.R. 4768), of which I am a proud original co-sponsor. This critical bill would restore the courts, rather than federal agencies, with their rightful authority to interpret all questions of law, including both statutes and regulations.
I will continue to work to bring this legislation to the House floor so we can protect the balance of power and rein in the runaway executive.
Regardless of who occupies the White House, adherence to the constitutional separation of powers is critical to the health of our nation’s economy and freedom. It’s past time to spread the common sense I’ve seen in the classroom to our nation’s capital.
Doug Collins is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 9th District. Reach him at 1504 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, 202-225-9893; 210 Washington St. NW, Suite 202, Gainesville 30501, 770-297-3388; dougcollins.house.gov