The long, slow death of the rule of law in America

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The rule of law (and not man or woman) is vital to a free society. If might makes right there is little room to do business, to invest, to build wealth, to be secure in one’s person, to be an actualized human being. If contracts can be dismissed and government officials and their cronies (in government and the nominal “private sector”) can do as they please because of their connections, we have a problem. And that is what we have now, and it’s getting worse.

(From The Orange County Register)

While this trend has been at work for decades – you can thank both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton for hastening the decline – it has reached escape velocity during the Obama years. The Justice Department, for example, already took a pass on prosecuting Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the scandal in which conservative groups were singled out for special scrutiny by the federal government on the basis of their political beliefs. If there’s anything that ought to be a matter of consensus in American politics, it’s that holding the reins of power doesn’t give you carte blanche to turn the power of the state against your partisan rivals. Yet Ms. Lerner, having done that very thing, doesn’t seem to be much worse for the wear.

This hands-off trend isn’t limited by any means to the DOJ. Consider the current debate over the nuclear deal with Iran. By any reasonable reading, the agreement should have been presented to Congress as a treaty, requiring a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate to take effect. The White House, however, has refused to classify it as such, leaving Congress to haggle its way into an arrangement whereby the president can have his way with the support of just one-third of either house of Congress…

…There are only two options available here: Either the country returns to a form of government bound by the strictures of the Constitution and its subordinate laws or we give up the ghost and accept the fact that our politics are now entirely about power rather than principle – that we live in a nation where the president, whether his name is Obama or Trump, is limited only by the boundaries of imagination.

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