Saturday, February 26, 2011

Presidents can not pick and choose the laws they enforce

President Obama, in an effort to show his support of gay marriage rights, instructed the Department of Justice to no longer act to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act that states that marriage in the United States is between one man and one woman.  It was a political payback to gays who supported the President.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich spoke out against the President’s decision.  Gingrich correctly pointed out that the President of the United States enforces the laws and is not a personal Supreme Court deciding which laws are constitutional and which laws should or should not be enforced.  Gingrich offered an outstanding example.  Gingrich offered what would happen if a President Sarah Palin would decide that she would direct the Justice Department to no longer enforce Roe v. Wade, as abortion on demand is against her personal beliefs.  Gingrich correctly pointed out that there would be national outrage on the left and in the media, as frankly, there should be.

Frankly, Presidents of the United States are not dictators.  They are constitutionally bound to enforce the laws of the United States, not pick and choose them.  To do otherwise throws out the ideal of checks and balances that has kept America together for over two centuries, through good times and bad.

That said, no staffer of VUI feels threatened by gay relationships.  We are all straight and what gays do with their personal lives does not even cross our minds. We also think dwelling on gays, hating gays and other such stupid acts are a waste in a free market society.    Gays do exist and produce in our society and they can have the better ideas in the marketplace.  Let the marketplace decide such.  If a gay man or woman can provide a good or service in the market, let them be free to do so.  We waste resources in the market when we do not allow such.  And, perhaps some see that there is a legislative need at the state level to recognize some sort of civil unions. Let the states choose such things as best fits them and their people.  That is the ideal of federalism. But, that is not the issue here.

The real issue is a President of the United States picking and choosing what laws he thinks should be enforced.  While those on the left might cheer today for President Obama, will they cheer a conservative ignoring abortion rights or perhaps saying environmental laws and securities regulations do not matter and should not be enforced?

Indeed, this act by President Obama seems to sum his administration up.  They act politically, without thinking of the precedents that they set and the things that can happen as a result of their acts down the road.  Before you think that we are just picking on President Obama, we have been and remain critics of things Bush pushed, like the Patriot Act and the laws telling us what kind of light bulbs we can use.

Both Presidents Bush and Obama show what is wrong with American politics and why so many feel so angry and disconnected on the right and the left. Our leaders do what is in their immediate interests, what lobbyists  paid for with money or political clout now, and have no regard for how it could change the future.  It is all about them and now.

There is an old saying in the law about a slippery slope in that once you take that first step, you slide down.  Old farmers talk about opening the gate and then all sorts of things go through it.  Pick your homily or old saying, but it is dangerous for any President, whatever his motivation, to pick and choose what laws he will have his administration enforce.  There is a long list in history of dictators who did just that.

Indeed, if any President of the United States believes that a law is unjust, then he should work with Congress to repeal it.  Frankly, that is what a real leader does.  He does not dance around with political tricks and present himself as above the law.  He works to change the law.  Further, if a President does not have the courage to do that, then those who support him most have to doubt his commitment to them, if they have any sense.  The rest of us have to doubt his commitment to the rule of law and to the oath he took.

However you look at it, support gay marriage or oppose it, you have to take pause at President Obama picking and choosing the laws he will enforce.  We are not some South American country.  We are the United States of America, and here, our constitution and our laws work out the balance between liberty and freedom.  No President should decide that alone. 


  1. homophobe!

  2. One wonders if he is planning to ignore the term limits for President: although, frankly, he acts more like he wants to be Dictator of the World.

    We ignore the rule of law at our peril. Always it leads to dictatorship and tyranny. Men must recognize a power higher than themselves, or be tyrants.