As reported by National Review, President Barack Obama’s trade of five Club Gitmo terrorists for traitor/deserter Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was illegal.
As explained below, we conclude that DOD violated section 8111 because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer. In addition, because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation. 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a).
The Obama Administration contended that the law is unconstitutional, but that is SOP for the Obama Administration when it wants to give the middle finger to a rule of law that it doesn’t like–even as the Administration ignores the Constitution itself when the Constitution restrains it from doing something they want to do. GAO took no position one way or the other on the constitutionality of the law.
I have heard some conservatives say that the Bergdahl/terrorist prisoner swap was unconstitutional, and I do not believe the GAO report addresses the issue from a constitutional perspective, only from a legal one. Personally, I do not believe this particular action by the Obama Administration is unconstitutional (there are plenty of actions by the Administration that are) in and of itself. I suppose one might say it is “unconstitutional” in the sense that the president has a constitutional duty to uphold the laws of our nation (e.g. our immigration laws, our marriage laws, etc. as well), but beyond that, the action itself (unless contradicted by law, which the GAO says it does) it would fall under the “Necessary and Proper” Clause of an action taken to carry out the Commander-in-Chief’s constitutional duty regarding matters of national defense (though one might make the case that trading five terrorist enemies for a deserter/traitor isn’t exactly defending the nation).
What happens when the man who is constitutionally-sworn and constitutionally-required to uphold our nation’s laws violates those laws? If you’re a Democrat with a Democrat Senate and a RINO House, apparently nothing.
What happened to John Adam’s proud declaration that America has “a government of laws, and not of men?”
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.