Presidents who act like kings

Presidents who act like kings

[Ed. – Don’t miss Mr. Cooke channeling LU’s Thomas Jefferson quote.]

In the United States, as in the rest of the Anglosphere, we seem to believe that we are the children of legislatures, not of kings; the beneficiaries of careful reasoning, not of iron will; the heirs to a safe political settlement immune to disintegration. That we are proud of our institutions is understandable. But our unshakeable confidence in their permanence is not. There is nothing written in the stars that secures in perpetuity our free system of laws. There are no stone tablets upon which legislative supremacy and judicial integrity are guaranteed against usurpation. Men’s hearts are no less ambitious this week than they were in the era of the pyramids. …

In his second term alone, this president has rewritten by fiat some of the central portions of his signature legislation, Obamacare; granted a series of unauthorized waivers from the 1996 Welfare Reform Act; and instructed agencies such as the IRS and the EPA to push forward with the enforcement of a series of administrative rules that simply cannot be justified by the texts of their enabling statutes. Most alarmingly of all, he has repeatedly made it clear that these actions are not the natural outworking of legal ambiguity, but a deliberate response to congressional inaction. Once upon a time, Obama insisted that he was “not a king” or an “emperor” or a “dictator,” and confirmed that his “job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law.” Now he justifies his behavior with talk of necessity and vows that if “Congress won’t act,” he will.

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