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Moral authority and legal authority



Barack H. Obama gave one of the worst State of the Union addresses of his career.

A United States Senator finally said it: Barack H. Obama is throwing away his moral authority to lead the country. If only this same Senator was willing to avow the full truth. Which is that Obama has no more legal authority than moral authority.

What the Senator said

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) showed up yesterday on ABC-TV’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and said this:

Nobody questions his legal authority, but I think he’s really losing the moral authority to lead this nation. And he really needs to put a stop to this. I don’t care whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, nobody likes to see the opposite party punishing you for your political beliefs.

What “punishment” was that? Senator Paul was talking about the latest that we now know about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We always knew the IRS never asks its employees to be reasonable or fair. We always knew, as Paul N. Strassels (All You Need to Know About the IRS) wrote in 1979, that

The IRS is the only agency of the government at war with its own constituency.

But if anyone suggested the IRS would actively punish a taxpayer for political beliefs, others (usually his political opponents) would dismiss him as a paranoiac.

You cannot so dismiss such ideas today.


Since 2010, the IRS has held up Forms 1023 and 1024 for conservative groups, and run audit campaigns on those who dared give money to, or otherwise support, the political opponents of Barack H. Obama. The IRS aren’t the only agency that gave such grief to Obama’s opponents. But they are the worst offenders. None can deny anymore that the IRS will wield the hatchet for any President who asks.

And Barack H. Obama did ask. Not directly, of course – he wouldn’t be that stupid – but indirectly. He made speech after speech, starting with his 2010 State of the Union address. In them he criticized the Supreme Court for recognizing that what was sauce for the labor-union gaggle of geese was sauce for the conservative ganders. He did everything but say out loud,

Will no one rid me of those troublesome Tea Party activists?

Like Henry II’s knights (or barons, if Jean Anouilh was correct), the IRS, the Gibson Guitar Raiders, and other agencies took those unspoken words to heart.

What is moral authority?

No moral authority - and no legal authority

De Facto President Barack Obama, king of the Executive Order. Photo: TPATH

So how would this take moral authority away from Obama? Simply this: American Presidents don’t do things this way. Or at least, they shouldn’t.

Moral authority does mean something in our laws. It is not the written law, but it is the basis of that law. It is the higher law from which all other laws derive. It makes the law respectable.

And: moral authority makes those who enforce the law respectable. John Adams said this on point:


Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.

On October 11, 1798, then-President Adams made the point more forcefully. When speaking to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Massachusetts Militia, he said it plainly. If ever Americans start pretending to be just while being unjust, we will lose. Because our worst impulses will build a storm no Constitution can hold back.

Has Barack H. Obama forgotten that? He might never have learned it. Is he simply a venal, corrupt favor peddler? Or is his idea of “justice” simply revenge for a real or imagined collective wrong? Which of these two grim choices is grimmer, none can tell. But a President (or a de facto President) who stoops to such measures, does not act according to law, high or low, written or un-. That’s why Barack Obama has thrown away his moral authority to lead the country.

Does he really have legal authority?

But Rand Paul said one more thing everyone should look at. “Nobody questions his legal authority,” he said. Senator, you’re mistaken. Many people question Obama’s legal authority.

The case of McInnish v. Chapman is now going to the Alabama Supreme Court. At issue: whether Barack H. Obama’s name should ever have had a place on an Alabama election ballot. Mike Zullo leads the “Cold Case Posse” of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. He filed this affidavit in that case:

This affidavit, of course, lists all the reasons that the so-called birth certificate file, that the White House released in April 2011, cannot be genuine. No genuine birth certificate exists. The bizarre behavior of the Hawaii Department of Health in this case makes zero sense otherwise.


Add to it: We don’t know who Barack H. Obama’s father really was. And if it was one Barack H. Obama, Kenyan activist, then the Barack Obama II who sits in the White House cannot be a natural born citizen of the United States. Barack Obama Senior was a British colonial subject.

The legal authority of the President depends on his qualifying for office. For at least one of two reasons, he has never qualified. So he has no legal authority. So when Senator Paul says, “nobody questions his legal authority,” he should talk to Sheriff Joe and his team.

And someone else should talk to Sheriff Joe and his team about legal authority: Speaker of the House John Boehner. Under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, as amended, whenever the country is without either a President or a Vice-President, the Speaker must give up his House seat and act as President. And because Vice-President Joe Biden let this fraud go on since 2009, Biden is subject to removal from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, or something very close to it. Now John Boehner might not feel he has a moral imperative so to act. But he certainly has both moral and legal authority to act against a de facto President who now has neither.

Somebody has to act. This de facto head of state effectively prosecutes his political opponents and their donors merely because they are his political opponents and their donors. This is an “act which may define a tyrant.”


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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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