I recently wrote an article suggesting that the president should not enforce every act of Congress. My argument primarily rests on those already articulated by founding era figures, specifically Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. You can read the article HERE.
I wasn’t surprised by the negative reaction I got from some readers. In today’s political climate. many can’t separate a constitutional principle from Pres. Barack Obama. They immediately assume that because I’m arguing that the president shouldn’t enforce every Congressional act as if it were handed down on stone tablets from a high mountain that I must support Obama.
But I am far-sighted enough to recognize the danger in knee-jerk policy targeting the person in power at the time. Simply put, the president should not enforce unconstitutional acts. And the push for unquestioning executive enforcement we hear from Republicans today undermines this important principle. I understand the impulse, but setting a dangerous precedent to address an immediate problem is…well…dangerous.
Now, we can debate whether the president should constitutionally enforce every congressional act. I think Madison and Jefferson make a pretty good case that he shouldn’t. I understand others have a different point of view. Several people emailed and raised some legitimate points. But what I find disturbing is the notion that we should obediently follow every law passed. This actual comment from the article encapsulates this thinking.
We must all follow the rules!
I find this incredibly creepy.
Quite frankly, I’m glad Rosa Parks refused to follow the rules. I’m glad the conductors and safe house operators along the Underground Railroad refused to follow the rules. I’m glad Oskar Schindler refused to follow the rules.
Some rules should never be followed.