Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 bemoaned his predecessor’s supposed efforts to "bring more and more power into the executive branch" rather than working with the legislature.
Nearly six years later, President Obama has pledged to unilaterally enact key portions of his legislative agenda if Congress refuses to accede to his priorities.
"I taught constitutional law for ten years," President Obama said in 2008. "I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America."
Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal workers, in a move that some experts say is illegal.
The order was the first in what Obama is calling his "year of action," in which he will use his "pen and phone" to circumvent Congress and increase the executive’s power to make law.
Repeated changes to the controversial Obamacare law have also been criticized as potentially illegal end-runs around Congress, as the president unilaterally changes the law to reduce to the economic pain the law is causing.