Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Line item veto 2.0

The line item veto, long sought after by American presidents, has finally been put into practice - with a twist. Rather than vetoing elements of a bill prior to signing, Obama has discovered that he can easily veto elements of a bill after it has become law, simply by refusing to enforce the provisions that don't suit him. DOMA? Border security? Immigration law? Obamacare? Just pick and choose the "good" parts, and ignore the rest, or simply ignore the whole thing. It isn't like anybody is going to hold the administration accountable. Seriously, Eric Holder still has his job after committing perjury before congress at least twice.

Obama's upgraded version of the line item veto is way better than the more traditional version requested by presidents past. With the old fashioned kind of line item veto the president has to tip his hand before the law is passed. With line item veto 2.0 the president can just bypass the controversial veto process, and still do pretty much as he likes. He can essentially make a mockery of the rule of law, and our current president is doing a bang-up job of it.

Complex bills that require executive branch execution or enforcement have become toys of presidential whim. It's not difficult to imagine which parts of a complex immigration reform bill will be executed, and which ones won't. Rule of law is a required component of a constitutional republic. If we don't have one, it's difficult to make the argument that we have the other.

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