Liberals love America’s checks and balances when the system works for them. But just let courts interfere, and they’re immediately illegitimate.
Legal commentator Jeffery Toobin’s recent piece in The New Yorker, “The Threat to Obama from the Courts,” deserves nomination for Best Hack Performance in a Presidential Supporting Role. Toobin makes clear his take on the final years of this presidency: Obama’s aims are laudable and good for the nation, while conservatives’ aims are suspect and center mainly on tarnishing Obama’s legacy and denying Mount Rushmore a chisel-ready project for January 2017.
In making his case, Toobin all but declares checks and balances on government power are not a crowning feature of America’s constitutional formula, but cumbersome relics handed down by Founders who surely would have done better if they had foreseen a leader like Obama.
Before discussing the legacy-threatening courts, Toobin raises and dismisses Congress as a potential check on the president. He explains that fractious Republicans won’t be able to pull together or overcome Democrat filibusters to pass significant legislation. Even if they could, Obama would veto anything he doesn’t like. Therefore, Congress doesn’t play large in this picture.
All Politics, No Substance
Toobin’s prediction may prove accurate, but it’s beside his point. Congress’s inability to enact a conservative agenda is different from its ability—or lack of ability—to block Obama’s liberal agenda. Toobin spends no time considering the tools Congress could, if so inclined, deploy to challenge the president: investigations, oversight hearings, budget restrictions on controversial initiatives, rejecting extreme nominees, and so forth. Dispirited conservatives might argue that Congress won’t effectively check the president because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner seem not to have the stomach for a fight.
Written by Shawn Mitchell- The Federalist
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