It’s not as if there wasn’t any history of lawmakers violating the constitution by passing laws. Roe vs. Wade, Loving vs. Virginia, Lawrence vs. Texas come to mind. Let us just say that the many lawyers who make up our congress are often well-aware that a law they pass will not meet constitutional muster – but that never stops them from passing the law. They pass the law and then simply let the court rule on the constitutionality. We saw in the past election cycle where several state sought to change voting laws. Virginia is in the middle of a bizarre initiative to reapportion electoral votes that would disenfranchise voters and set a precedent for other states that would make a mockery of the electoral college. Is that “constitutional”? Legal scholars say it probably isn’t, but Virginia says, “We’ll let the courts decided”. Even with gun control, the rule of law will ultimately decide whether guns can regulated (rather than mob violence), but that will not stop lawmakers on both the state and federal level from passing regulatory initiatives in the mean time. So, if Obama did violate the constitution, it’s something that has been done a thousand times over at every level from the hamlets run by city governments to the highest office in the land. Who knows what the judgement of the US Supreme Court would be on Obama’s action. All we do know is, SCOTUS will ultimately decide, not a federal district court, the constitutionality of the President’s action. The Defense of Marriage Act was deemed unconstitutional by Republican lawmakers who voted for it yet that didn’t stop them from trying to pass it. DOMA has now been declared unconstitutional by three federal courts of appeal but it just got a date with the US Supremes. It’s a pattern as well as a political strategy. Republican are simply shocked that the President used something from their playbook.