“We can no longer wait for Congress to do its job… So where Congress won’t act, I will.”

- President Obama in his October 29, 2011 weekly radio address

“We’ve got a lot to do in 2014. I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward …”

- President Obama to his Cabinet during the first meeting of 2014 (January 14, 2014)

As the head of the executive branch of the U.S. government, we expect the President to act as a leader. It fits the American culture where we want our leaders to be take-charge individuals. That makes it easy to understand how there were some people in the country who stood up and cheered when President Obama said he was tired of the gridlock in Congress and that he would press forward, by himself if need be, to accomplish the items that he thought needed to be accomplished.

A funny thing happened along the way to “getting things done”, however. What President Obama said he would do was not legal.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled President Obama stepped over the limits of his authority when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012. He made the move because of his frustration over the lack of progress in filling the positions. The problem is the U.S. Senate argued it never went into recess, gaveling in and out every three days as required.

Most importantly, this ruling was not a squeak-by-on-a-partisan-vote decision. The Justices ruled 9-0 against President Obama’s power grab and in favor of Congress.

Let’s say that again: None of the Justices believed President Obama had the authority to act as he did.

When was the last time there was universal agreement on anything in Washington D.C.? Now, because of the Supreme Court ruling, more than 420 decisions made by the NLRB since the appointments are under scrutiny. It will most likely take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to sort out the mess and all the soon-to-be-filed lawsuits.

But the issue with the executive branch taking liberties with its authority has just begun. A day earlier Speaker of the House John Boehner said he was planning a lawsuit against President Obama, calling into question multiple executive orders and actions that either contradict standing law or skirt the enacting of law through Congress.

Now, to be fair, the lawsuit may go no where. The problem will be Boehner proving “standing” that a concrete, personal injury has been done to him by the President’s actions or inactions.

But that is not the point. The point is our federal government has arguably reached a point it has never been to in history. When the Constitution was written, it provided for a series of checks and balances to ensure no one branch of the government became more powerful than another. In this case, if a President was attempting to act outside of the ability of the executive office, for instance writing executive orders that were treated as laws, then Congress could pass laws that nullified his actions.

However, President Obama has already shown, and boasted about, his willingness to only enforce the portions or whole laws he agrees with.

So, Congress’ only remaining power would be to call for impeachment hearings. While an impeachment may pass the Republican-led House of Representatives, it will certainly fail in the Democrat-led Senate where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not even call for votes on House-passed legislation.

With the President picking and choosing what laws to uphold or enacting laws on his own and Congress unwilling or unable to defend its Constitutional powers, Americans are left with something they never wanted to see: a Constitutional crisis that could define the make up of the federal government for decades.

We can only wait to see who comes out on top.