Short Terms & Shorter Memories – Why Constitutional Integrity Matters
The way our government is supposed to work is that Congress makes laws, then the President signs off on them and makes sure they are carried out. Lately, though, Presidents have been taking a short cut to implement policy of their own without Congress.
When President Obama began his term, he promised to the horror of Republicans and the delight of Democrats that he would run the country with a cell phone and a pen. What he meant was that he would rely heavily on executive orders which would effectively allow him to bypass Congress in making some decisions for the country. Constitutionally, the President should not be able to make laws. However, President Obama and many before him effectively did it anyways.
Now here we are in 2019 with Trump in the White House making extensive use of his own executive orders. This time, it’s Republicans who are delighted and Democrats who are horrified.
When Obama was in office, Republicans were strict Constitutional purists while Democrats were more than willing to adopt torturous interpretations of the Constitution if not totally disregarding it. Now it has switched. Republicans have adopted some very questionable Constitutional interpretations while Democrats suddenly care about the rule of law and separation of powers again.
Before long, at this rate, the dynamic will likely switch yet again. Then it will switch again, and so on.
Nobody seems to remember while they are in power that eventually the other side is going to win again. The precedent set by one side at the expense of the Constitution will eventually benefit the other side.
At least as far as separation of powers goes, it is in a party’s favor to Constitutionally restrain itself even if it’s not as exciting. Constitutionality matters.
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K. William Huitt
K. William Huitt is currently an M.A. student in Western Michigan University’s philosophy program. He graduated from Hillsdale College in 2019 with a B.A. in philosophy and a minor in history. He has spoken at various Christian apologetics events and writes regularly about religious and political issues.