What are the core features of the drift in American government toward lawlessness? I might have said these:

1) The President's war on Libya, undeclared and without Congressional authorization or notification as required by law.

2) The use of prosecutorial discretion to refuse to enforce the law on key administration allies, especially from the Clinton faction. This is so important that it is a necessary condition for the continued candidacy of the likeliest next President of the United States.

3) The unilateral suspension of America's immigration laws.

4) The free rewriting of major legislation such as Obamacare by Health and Human Services.

5) The refusal to defend democratically-enacted laws with which the President disagrees ideologically.

6) The use of the IRS to target conservative groups and prevent conservative organization.

7) The Iran deal's inversion of the Constitutional requirement for treaties to obtain a 2/3rds majority in the Senate.

8) The clear demonstration that no one in the administration will be held accountable for lawlessness as long as a sufficient minority exists in the Senate to prevent impeachment and removal from office. Failing that, everyone is protected because the chief is protected.

David Bernstein, who wrote a book on the subject, agrees with some of these and gives additional examples.

I mention it because the left-wing journal Jacobin says that the rise of lawlessness in America is a Republican work. They also have a list of objections:
If you want to understand the particular spirit of lawlessness, the contempt for rules and norms that is Donald Trump, you have to go back to the illegitimacy of the 2000 election, the GOP turn to the filibuster-proof majority as the operating rule of congressional action, and now the Republicans’ declaration that they simply won’t vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, whoever it may be. (I’d add the Iraq War as part of this buildup toward lawlessness.)
Now, the 2000 election was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court -- but by a majority seen by the left as a Republican political action. There is a mirroring complaint about the SCOTUS on the right.

How interesting, these competing lists of grievances.

UPDATE: By the way, how about using trespassing or the unlawful blocking of public highways to stop political foes from engaging in free speech?
[C]onfining politics to the polling station automatically excludes a huge portion of the population, from undocumented immigrants (a favorite target of Trump’s) to young people (like the Latino high schoolers who heard taunts of “Trump! Trump!” and “Build the wall!” at a recent basketball game in Iowa) to the millions of American citizens, disproportionately African American, who have been stripped of the franchise because of felony convictions.
I'll give you young people, I guess, but the rest of that argument boils down to, 'If we confine politics to lawful means, illegal immigrants and convicted felons won't be able to participate.' So, lawlessness is or is not a concern?


MikeD said...

I'll give you young people, I guess

I won't. "Young people" (when referring to children under the age of 18) don't have a right to participate in the political process. Oh, sure, they're free to express their opinions (insofar as their parents or legal guardians allow them), but they have no "right" to do so. Mostly because they are not adult citizens. I have exactly zero problem with lumping them along with felons and illegal immigrants (who are merely not-yet-convicted felons, when you get down to it) as having no political say in this country's politics.

Grim said...

This is a tough room!

MikeD said...

Sorry. I just have little empathy for the idea that criminal trespass and obstructing public right of ways is a valid means of "political participation" that we must accept for some reason, because otherwise we don't allow convicted felons, non-US citizens, and children a voice in the political process. Tough. Three classes of people who do not have a voice in the American political life and should not have a voice in it. Felons spit on society and announced they wanted nothing to do with the rest of us by their outlawry. Foreign citizens do not, and should not have a say in the internal American political process (and for the love of Mike, why is this suddenly controversial?). And children have neither the life experience, nor the judgment to participate. After all, if we consider them so undeveloped so as not to be legally able to tell right from wrong, why on Earth would anyone want them to have a say in the matter?

Grim said...

Felons spit on society and announced they wanted nothing to do with the rest of us by their outlawry.

Well, as I understand it we're all felons these days. They just haven't got around to us yet.

Ymar Sakar said...

America has dead people voting Democrat. I think there's all kinds of problems people have been ignoring, the recent stuff is merely a symptom of a far larger problem that was ignored.