The Corner

Obama’s New Deal

I don’t have too much to add to the Holder OLC story, though as a John Ashcroft defender from way back (the missus worked for him, some may recall), I find the contrast remarkable. Ashcroft was one of the most unfairly vilified Attorneys General in modern memory. He famously rose from his hospital bed to defend the integrity of an OLC decision when it conflicted with the White House’s wishes.

One more thing, maybe because I’ve had New-Deal-on-the-brain of late, I keep thinking of a line from FDR’s aide Harry Hopkins who told a room full of New Deal activists and officials, “I want to assure you that we are not afraid of exploring anything within the law, and we have a lawyer who will declare anything you want to do legal.”

Update: Oh, one other thought. Holder went to the Solicitor General’s office and got assurances that it would defend the constitutionality of the bill. It’s worth keeping in mind that this is the same Solicitor General’s office that recently told the Supreme Court that books criticizing politicians could be banned under the constitution. So why should anyone be surprised?

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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