Like a rapidly advancing malignancy, the pattern of lawlessness and corruption exhibited by Barack Obama and his appointed minions is predictably spreading to other levels of government. It is unfortunate and dangerous that Obama now routinely flouts the law, either by openly asserting that he will not enforce duly enacted statutes he does not like, or by invoking the fearsome power of government as a “legal” bludgeon against individuals and organizations that might incur his wrath by thwarting his leftist agenda.
Members of the Obama cabinet who openly aid and abet this effort, such as IRS chief Lois Lerner, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or National Security Advisor Susan Rice, all of whom have blatantly abused their positions and then attempted to cloak their actions by giving false testimony (it used to be called perjury). Yet they remain immune to any real interest or inquiry from the Department of Justice, since it is headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, whose ability to stonewall, evade, and delay any investigation prove him to be the worst by far among Obama’s law-breaking cabinet.
In the wake of a February 24, 2014 meeting with Obama, Texas Governor Rick Perry expressed his deep concerns over the fact that he and several other governors were informed by Obama that he did not trust them to make decisions about “education, transportation, or infrastructure.” Perry went on to say that Obama made a thinly veiled threat of repercussions against any of them who “pushed back” against his agenda. Perry clearly recognizes the need for all government, whether federal, state, or local, to operate within its constitutionally prescribed boundaries, and that such overreaching action at any level threatens the freedoms and rights of all.
Unfortunately for the people of Wyoming, Governor Matt Mead exhibits a governing philosophy that increasingly reflects the same excesses and contempt for constitutional boundaries as Obama and his cabal. And while this abuse of power has been evident for more than a year, his actions of the past few months indicate an intention to maintain and expand his control of Wyoming government, regardless of how his actions flagrantly violate the letter and spirit of the Wyoming Constitution, and even the words of his own oath of office.
On Monday, March 10, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill attempted to go to work at her office in Cheyenne to carry out the job she was elected to perform, which is the general supervision of education in Wyoming. However, she was prevented from entering her office by Richard Crandall, the governor’s appointed “Director of Education” who has been usurping Hill’s authority and most of her duties, in the months after she was stripped of those powers by the Wyoming legislature in 2013 with its passage of Senate File 104. Unwilling to passively accept this situation, she challenged the measure in court and on January 28 received vindication as the law was declared unconstitutional by the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Nevertheless, Governor Mead responded to the court’s decision by seeking spurious avenues to delay compliance with the ruling. In an absurdly transparent affront to the court, he sought a rehearing, which the court sternly rebuffed on February 28. According to the law, the constitution of Wyoming, and all recognition of the proper function of civil government, Hill had not only the right, but the duty to return to her official capacity. Unfortunately, it is evident that such trite concepts mean little to the political power monger who holds the state’s highest office, along with his dutiful minions. Governor Mead can even claim the assistance and support of an Eric Holder clone, in Wyoming State Attorney General Peter Michael, who advised Crandall to remain in Hill’s office, despite the Supreme Court ruling. Rather than simply insisting that the law and the Wyoming Constitution prevail, Michael is collaborating in yet another of the governor’s delaying actions by deferring to the lower level District Court before seeking to restore the elected responsibilities of the Education Superintendent.
It is noteworthy that from the moment SF 104 was signed by Governor Mead, less than two days passed before Superintendent Hill was evicted from her office, and the Mead political machine had taken total control of the education department. In stark contrast forty five days have elapsed (and counting) since the Supreme Court nullified SF 104, yet Hill remains unable to continue doing the job for which the people of Wyoming elected her to office. In her words, “Right now an unconstitutionally appointed ‘director of education’ is still signing contracts and making decisions on behalf of the people of Wyoming.” In essence, the good people of the Cowboy State have no legitimate representation in government regarding the schooling of their children. Rather, a self-serving and unaccountable bureaucracy is abusing its power, in blatant defiance of the law and the Wyoming Constitution, to appropriate and disperse the enormous funds ostensibly devoted to academics, channeling them to lucky recipients as it sees fit.
Ever since the day of the first Supreme Court decision, Governor Mead has transitioned from merely failing to vigorously uphold the law and the Wyoming constitution to actively impeding and obstructing them. And as the chief law-enforcement official in the state, Attorney General Michael should be diligently ensuring that state statutes and court decisions are respected not only by the common citizen on Main Street but also by those in high office. It is those in government who hold the greatest potential to do serious harm to society through abridgment or violation of the law. Nevertheless, the Attorney General’s lapses fall back onto the feet of the individual who appointed him.
Some have presumed Mead’s actions to be a good thing, since they take his side on Wyoming’s adoption of Barack Obama’s “common core” educational agenda (which Hill steadfastly opposes). When the dust settles, “common core” has been among the chief points of contention between Hill, who remains unshakably focused on remaining independent of federal entanglements and improving academics for Wyoming children, as opposed to the remainder of the bureaucracy which is more concerned with the massive federal funding that is the bait used to lure states into the “common core” morass.
In any case, it is dangerously naive to align with Mead on this basis. His willingness to engage in such abuses of power may benefit his allies in the short term, but in due course, a government which operates in this manner is a threat to all, since its primary goal is only to serve itself.
If a healthy and legally just society is to be maintained and preserved in Wyoming, it is incumbent upon Governor Mead to faithfully uphold the law and strive to ensure its continuing integrity, and not to grudgingly concede its premises only after all possibilities of circumventing it have been exhausted. For by choosing to operate on that basis, he proves to the public that they can no longer trust him to honorably fulfill the responsibilities of his office, or depend on him to carry out his sworn duty as chief executive of the state.