The Corner

Unconstitutional Monarchy

Jonah yesterday, apropos ObamaCare and the postponement of the employer mandate, said we were now living under an “arbitrary system” in which “the political arm of the White House gets to decide what laws are going to be enforced and which ones aren’t“.

I made a similar point guest-hosting for Rush last Friday, noting that this was one of the indictments against George III in the Declaration of Independence:

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

When legislatures pass laws but the head of state decides which ones he’ll implement and which he won’t, that is a monarchy – and not a constitutional but an absolute one. When the English were as mad with James II as the Americans later were with George III, they spelled it out in the first charge of the 1689 Bill of Rights:

Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom;

By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without consent of Parliament;

President Obama has developed a habit of “dispensing with and suspending” all manner of laws from health care to immigration. If he gets to choose which laws he’ll enforce, do we get to choose which laws we follow?

More from Scott Johnson and Michael McConnell.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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