The Corner

That Old Piece of Parchment

In the matter of Ted Cruz versus Dianne Feinstein, I’d like to make one point. (For a news article on their recent exchange, go here.) I believe that Feinstein believes what a lot of people believe, in error: Congress and the president can do basically whatever they want. And if it’s unconstitutional, well, the Supreme Court will say so, and all will be well. That’s what a system of checks and balances is all about.

Here is DiFi: “Congress is in the business of making the law. The Supreme Court interprets the law. If they strike down the law, they strike down the law.”

We can go wild and crazy, here in Congress, and if we overstep constitutional boundaries, the Supreme Court can strike us down. We’ll go whatever speed we want on the highway, and if a copper should happen to catch us, so be it.

Thing is, congressmen and the president swear an oath to the Constitution too. The justices of the Supreme Court are not the only arbiters of the Constitution. They might be the ultimate arbiters, but others have a responsibility too. Members of the legislative and executive branches have a custodial role. A black robe does not confer a unique constitutional burden on you, and the absence of such a robe does not exempt you from a burden, or a responsibility.

This should be elementary. In my observation, however, it is the erroneous view that is widespread, and well entrenched.

P.S. We had the name “DiFi” years before we had the name “WiFi.”

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