Judging by his actions in Honduras, perhaps not…..
……and that should worry us a lot.
President Obama spent some of his time in Chicago as a part-time “visiting lecturer” in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. The only photograph of him teaching shows him diagramming Saul Alinsky’s political strategies on the board. The President applied for a position as a part time adjunct instructor, but was refused. Maybe there’s a reason for that.
Undergirding our entire system is the concept that we are a nation of laws rather than men, and that all men, even presidents, are subject to the constitution under which they serve. It seems that President Obama does not subscribe to this view.
The Hondurans have a constitution as well, drafted by a constituent assembly elected in 1980. No one party won a majority for that assembly, and thus the Honduran Constitution was the product of compromise among competing interests. To them, as with us, it is sacred and sacrosanct.
They agreed that Honduras had a sad history of one-man rule, leaders conniving to seize all power and appointing themselves “leader-for-life.” Consequently, they agreed that the Honduran President should be limited to a single 4-year term, and that the President (as in the US) should have no role at all in amending the Constitution. To safeguard this principle, they added Article 239, in which the President is prevented from proposing or advocating suspension of the term limit, under pain of immediate loss of office.
In violation of the Constitution, President Zelaya was advocating and printing ballots for a referendum to lift this restriction. The case was brought before the 15-member Honduran Supreme Court, which ruled his Presidency nullified according to Article 239. This was backed by a nearly unanimous resolution of the National Assembly, including a heavy majority of Zelaya’s own political party. He refused to step down. The Supreme Court then asked the military to arrest Zelaya, which they did.
But President Obama believes that the might of the US and other nations should be brought to bear upon the small country of Honduras to force them to ignore Article 239 of their own Constitution.
Is this the same Obama that criticized George Bush for “meddling” in other countries’ affairs?
Honduran-born Miguel Estrada, (whose appointment to the US Court of Appeals was scotched by Senate Democrats because he is Latino), has an article on the subject in today’s LA Times:
Update: Another great article just popped up from Jennifer Rubin. The foolishness of the Obama Latin America approach is breath-taking.
“ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempenado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podraser Presidente o Vicepresidente de la Republica.”
“El que quebrante esta disposicion o proponga su reforma, asi como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesaran de inmediato en el desempeno de sus respectivos cargos y quedaran inhabilitados por diez (10) anos para el ejercicio de toda funcion publica.”