We’re a nation of laws, not men. Before the American Revolution, men were ruled by other men. Mankind’s struggle for freedom has been a battle to place all men under the law so that no one could rule others. That’s why in America, presidents unlike kings can’t pass laws by decree.
Or can they? Presidents can issue executive orders to tell the executive branch agencies the bureaucracy how to implement the laws passed by Congress. In theory, these executive orders cannot establish new laws. But many fear in reality that’s exactly what’s happening. The President is pursuing an ‘executive order strategy.’ Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt admits, “We’ve switched the rules of the game. We’re not trying to do anything legislatively.” Presidential advisor Paul Begala smugly told The New York Times , “Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool.” No, it’s not cool. One man changing the law unilaterally isn’t conducive to freedom.
The crusty old politicians in Congress, looking always to their personal political well being, ignore the president usurping their constitutional powers. But Representative Jack Metcalf of Washington is fighting to protect the rule of law. He’s introduced legislation to stop executive orders from masquerading as laws thus restoring the separation of powers our founders established. Metcalf is not a career politician angling for a safe slot in Washington. He’s limited himself to three terms. Thus the Constitution matters more to him than playing Washington politics. Now that’s cool.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.