The anti-Trump “resistance” is projecting their own disregard for self-government and the rule of law onto President Trump, thereby crippling Americans’ control of their governments, argued U.S. Attorney General William Barr before a convention of originalist lawyers on Friday.
This “resistance,” Barr said, immediately after Trump’s election chose to use “every tool and maneuver available to sabotage” his use of the powers the American people chose to give him. “[I]nstead of viewing themselves as the ‘loyal opposition,’ as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.”
At the annual Federalist Society convention, Barr recounted numerous significant instances in which a coalition heavily comprised of unelected bureaucrats, such as judges and federal employees, have obstructed Trump’s use of presidential powers as they never have for any other president. He gave as an example the use of nationwide injunctions against Trump, in which one regional judge assumes the power to dictate presidential prerogatives, such as U.S. foreign policy.
Since President Trump took office, district courts have issued over 40 nationwide injunctions against the government. By comparison, during President Obama’s first two years, district courts issued a total of two nationwide injunctions against the government. Both were vacated by the Ninth Circuit.
It is no exaggeration to say that virtually every major policy of the Trump Administration has been subjected to immediate freezing by the lower courts. No other President has been subjected to such sustained efforts to debilitate his policy agenda.
Barr also mentioned Democrats’ recent dramatic uptick in using a Senate procedure known as cloture to block Trump from another presidential prerogative: nominating people to federal positions and and them receiving an up or down vote.
As of September of this year, the Senate had been forced to invoke cloture on 236 Trump nominees — each of those representing its own massive consumption of legislative time meant only to delay an inevitable confirmation. How many times was cloture invoked on nominees during President Obama’s first term? 17 times. The Second President Bush’s first term? Four times. It is reasonable to wonder whether a future President will actually be able to form a functioning administration if his or her party does not hold the Senate.
Barr didn’t even name Democrats’ so-called “impeachment inquiry” or Russia collusion hoax as other major fabricated distractions from conducting the nation’s business. He did reference the massive amount of records demanded partly in pursuit of impeachment as “constant harassment” aiming to make it impossible for Trump or even Congress to govern.
I do not deny that Congress has some implied authority to conduct oversight as an incident to its Legislative Power. But the sheer volume of what we see today – the pursuit of scores of parallel ‘investigations’ through an avalanche of subpoenas – is plainly designed to incapacitate the Executive Branch, and indeed is touted as such.
He did point out that due to the left’s choice to conduct bureaucratic shenanigans rather than take their arguments to the American people to implement their policies by winning elections, President Trump has been stuck having to carry out President Obama’s signature immigration policy, which Trump campaigned against and is illegal. That would be Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, in which Obama unilaterally suspended the law requiring illegally present noncitizens to be returned to the countries where they hold citizenship.
Thus a single unelected judge appointed by the opposition party has seized control of the nation’s immigration policy for now three years despite an election in which the American people voted for a man who promised to reverse that policy to instead follow the actual law.
“…President Trump will have spent almost his entire first term enforcing President Obama’s signature immigration policy, even though that policy is discretionary and half the Supreme Court concluded that a legally indistinguishable policy was unlawful,” Barr noted. “That is not how our democratic system is supposed to work.”
Democrats have spent decades insisting they care about “democracy,” a conceptual stand-in for the American birthright of self-government. The United States was created as a unique country in which the sovereignty, or the power of deciding the laws that rule our lives, is located in the people, not in government officials. We delegate some of our power to representatives to do our bidding, as we express that will over time and after thoughtful public discussion.
Through more than a century of slow institutional warfare, however, the left has steadily sought to convert the rule of the whole people into the rule of the connected few who adhere to the left’s ideology. This is why bureaucracy is not neutral. It is a political weapon that fights for the left.
Despite all their placarding about “democracy,” the left’s mask has slipped. It’s now obvious that Democrats don’t believe in the political process when it doesn’t give them the “right” answer. If the political process yields a President Trump, they insist it’s time to trash the political processes that made that possible. It’s time to dissolve the people and elect another. It’s time to forum-shop for the “right” judge or the “right” “whistleblower.” It’s their way or the highway.
“The fact is that this Administration’s policy initiatives and proposed rules, including the Travel Ban, have transgressed neither constitutional, nor traditional, norms, and have been amply supported by the law and patiently litigated through the Court system to vindication,” Barr said. “…The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of ‘Resistance’ against this Administration, it is the Left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law.”
Nice little business ya got there. You wouldn’t want the IRS, or OSHA, or the EPA to “inspect” it into oblivion, would you? Nice little kids ya got there. You wouldn’t want them to be outed as hating haters who hate male-bodied girls, would you? Nice little election you voted in there. You didn’t really mean to pull the lever for that insane orange man, did you?
The left has no faith in their fellow citizens’ right to choose our own representatives, have a say in our own laws, and make local decisions in as many affairs as possible. In other words, they have no faith in America itself, for self-government is the very heart of the United States’s identity. Yet if we don’t govern ourselves, we the people no longer truly exist.
And right now, self-government’s biggest enemy is the administrative state, which is now openly waging political war against the elected president whose step into the room has brought all the rats scurrying out from under the rug to “testify” on CNN. Let’s hope Barr and a whole lot of other people are taking their names and, if they ever end up actually legislating, the first thing Republicans in Congress do is rightsize these department’s budgets — to zero.