Let's Fix This Country

Checks & Balances? The Three Branches Are Stepping on Each Other’s Turf

Senate Republicans repeatedly rebuke President Obama for what they claim is his unconstitutional abuse of executive power, but they have no qualms about themselves violating the Constitution by ignoring its mandate to provide "Advice and Consent" for Obama's choice of Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. This inaction both blocks the Executive branch, preventing the President from exercising his Constitutional responsibility to nominate and appoint justices, and hobbles the Judicial branch's ability to decide what the law is. It "erodes the rule of law and leaves major issues in limbo", writes Obama in The Wall Street Journal.

Obama has usurped the Legislative branch, it would argue, by deciding on a three-year moratorium halting deportation of some four million undocumented parents of children born here and therefore citizens. That's just one of several hijackings of their right to make the laws that has steamed the legislature. Another even caused the House of Representatives to sue Obama for steering unauthorized funds to patch a hole in Obamacare.

And in three interviews recently, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke out against a candidate who is campaigning to lead the Executive branch, calling Donald Trump a "faker" who has "gotten away with" not making his tax returns public. Apologizing later, she said she was "ill-advised" (who advised her?) to have meddled in the affairs of the Executive branch. Always the perfect gentleman, Trump said about the 83-year-old Ginsburg that "Her mind is shot".

Thus the sorry spectacle of all three branches of the government attacking each other.

Brent Kendall at The Wall Street Journal remembered that in 1987 Justice Thurgood Marshall said that, among all presidents, Ronald Reagan's civil rights record was at "the bottom". Reagan's response was to invite Marshall, an African-American, to the White House, where he told the jurist his life story to persuade him that "there was not prejudice in me". Reagan wrote in his diary, "I think I made a friend".

But that America now seems long, long ago.

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