Obama’s Intolerable Acts

ItCan'tHappenHereIn “Obama’s Rule by Decree,” Andrew C. McCarthy correctly identifies the biggest scandal of them all: the Obama Administration’s contempt for the rule of law.

The collapse of law–not just Obamacare but law in general–is the Obama administration’s most egregious scandal. With the IRS here, Benghazi there, and Eric Holder’s institutionalized malevolence crowding the middle, it gets little direct attention. Perhaps it is so ubiquitous, so quotidian, that we’ve become inured to it.

Indeed.

A president who believes in good faith that a congressional act is constitutionally invalid may properly decline to enforce it–in fact, he would in good conscience be bound to decline — at least until the Supreme Court has ruled on its validity. Faithfully executing the laws has never mandated that a president enforce unconstitutional statutes.

But note that this is a matter of legal legitimacy, not policy preference. Faithful execution, abiding by the president’s oath of office, means enforcing even those laws a president disagrees with on policy grounds if the laws are plainly constitutional. The Constitution gives Congress a wide berth to enact unwise laws, to say nothing of perfectly sensible laws that are uncongenial to a hard-left ideologue. There is nothing wrong with a president’s working to change those laws; in the meantime, though, he breaks his solemn pledge by failing to enforce them.

Bona fide concerns over resource allocation and constitutionality are narrow exceptions to the general rule that obliges presidents to execute the laws. In Obama’s hands, however, executive discretion has become an affirmative license for lawbreakers. Worse, it has seamlessly devolved into an invitation–an inducement–to official malfeasance. Again, only the executive branch can enforce the law. When executive-branch officials know that illegal actions on their part will not be pursued, they are encouraged to commit them.

So the MSM screams racism and GOP obstructionism, and that’s the end of that discussion.

In a vibrant, pluralistic society, law, as an expression of the sovereign will, is unavoidably a product of compromise. In the contentious process, the competing sides bend; they settle on something that neither, given their druthers, would support; and they honorably agree to abide by the result. Under Obama, however, massive laws are enacted–such that no one can conceivably know what the law is. Then the president enforces the parts he approves of, contemptuously disregards the parts that enticed naysayers into compromising, and presumes to amend or repeal inconvenient provisions at his whim.

That is not the rule of law. It is how a dictatorship works.

And it’s also very reminiscent of Kafka.

Read the whole thing here.

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