Note: I am not a lawyer, let alone a constitutional scholar. I am, however, an avid student of our nation’s history, and I do not understand what is happening within the federal court system today. I post this diary more to pose questions, and in the hope that those here more learned in these matters will comment.
In early 1952, the United Steelworkers of America voted to strike US Steel and nine other steel producers. On April 9, 1952, hours before the strike was scheduled to commence, President Harry Truman nationalized the American steel industry ( and thus avoid the strike). The steelmakers sued, and on June 2, 1952 the Supreme Court ruled that the President lacked the authority to seize the steel mills. (FYI, the steelworkers then went out on strike. It lasted 53 days, and they won a settlement pretty much along the lines of their original wage demands.)
This diary is not about the origins, or the merits of that case. It is, however, about the legal process.
Note that from the day that Truman acted, until the Supreme Court ruled, a total of 54 days elapsed.
We are witnessing today a president who is acting as though Congress, and the Constitution, do not exist. He ignores laws, he arbitrarily modifies laws for his own political purposes, he promulgates executive orders that exceed his constitutional authority, and….and..nothing happens. The Republican controlled House holds hearings, but can do nothing. We’re told endlessly that as they only control “one-half of one-third” of the government, they are therefore powerless. They file suit, and ..and nothing happens. We hear talking heads expound that if it were a Republican president, a Bush, acting this way, the MSM would be in a full-blown crisis mode, and..and, nothing happens..
Indeed, we’re told that House Republicans can’t even really file suit, because they lack “standing.” The President is screwing up the nation, and there’s no “standing” for a hundred million Americans, or their elected representatives, to try and stop him?
The debate about the “imperial presidency” and the balance of power has been ongoing since the end of the WW II. It ebbs and flows, and Congress has re-exerted its authority in the past. Yet what is happening today is something that we have never witnessed before, since the Republic came into being.
I would submit that if it is allowed to continue, if it is not stopped, and reversed, then we no longer have a government of three “separate, but equal” branches. And then we no longer have a constitutional republic as our form of governance.
But turning back to the issue of the legal process, I ( again,kindly remember, the non-lawyer) have some questions:
What happened to the use of “temporary injunctions” to stop these actions?
What happened to requesting a “permanent injunction?”
Surely someone is capable of using “forum shopping” for the good of the nation, and find a federal judge who is a “strict constructionist” ( remember that quaint term of art?) to issue an injunction against the president. And then, when it’s appealed, request expedited review from the Supreme Court.
To this day, I still can’t understand how Roberts wouldn’t take the appeal of Obamacare on an expedited basis. That was fundamentally wrong, and the country was tied in knots for over a year awaiting a decision. Possibly it’s due to the Court’s pervasive, and ongoing, fear of appearing to be politicized. The Court got the decision correct in 2000, Bush v. Gore, but they should have acted far sooner. A swifter decision would not have allowed the Democrats to develop and advance the idea that Bush’s presidency was somehow “illegitimate.” That viewpoint was expressed endlessly as they opposed most everything he did, or tried to do, for both terms.
Is the Supreme Court vacating Marbury v. Madison, and ceding judicial review of the Executive branch to the legal columnists of the NY Times and Huffington Post? Have the vaunted “checks and balances” conceived by the Founders devolved into “chutes and ladders?”
The idea of “separate, but equal” branches of government is ultimately an expression of faith, a constitutional game of rock, paper, scissors.
I fear that Obama and the Democrats are exploiting this. They’ve changed the rules of the game, and our constitutional democracy is being “fundamentally transformed.”