Obama’s Limitless Government

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By Daniel Henninger,

from The Wall Street Journal,

The phrase, “change the laws on my own,” is not in the U.S. Constitution.

History will ill-serve Eric Holder if it does no more than echo the view common in the wake of his resignation that his tenure as Attorney General was “controversial.” Mr. Holder’s more than five years as the nation’s chief legal officer were consequential.

In tandem with Barack Obama ‘s White House, Mr. Holder pushed the authority of the federal government and its administrative agencies beyond the edge of the Constitution and law.

Messrs. Obama and Holder have attempted to make federal legal authority limitless. The Obama-Holder theory of law—that the needs of justice, as they define it, supersede the law’s boundaries—deserves to be repudiated. It has no precedent outside progressive law journals or various periods in South American history.

Mr. Obama made his intentions clear. In July 2011, the president said in public he’d like to “bypass Congress and change the laws on my own.” The phrase, “change the laws on his own,” is not in the U.S. Constitution.

ObamaCare’s serial revisions of law we know about. As important are the less illuminated leaps. After the Obama administration tried to overrun a federal judge’s ruling in 2011 that its initial ban on off-shore oil drilling was overly broad, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman found the government in contempt

… in the outback of a 2013 nuclear-waste case we find D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh writing that the administration’s legal claims raised “significant questions about the scope of the Executive’s authority to disregard federal statutes.”

Harry Reid ‘s nuclear option turned advice and consent into rubble, so it’s possible that with 51 votes in the lame-duck Senate, Mr. Obama could place Holder-II in the Justice Department. (My guess for the Obama nuclear-optioned nominee is former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler ; no one else will as reliably extend the franchise.)

It won’t be possible at those confirmation hearings to suppress Republican compulsions to rage over their greatest hits, such as Fast and Furious. But a smart GOP would use this confirmation to offer the American people a much-needed tutorial on the rule of law and why it matters—for everyone.

Justice’s lawyers argued that because too many minority parents were using vouchers to move their children out of public schools, it upset the schools’ racial identity and “impeded the desegregation process” dating back 40 years.

The Holder Justice Department, aligned with the Education Department, is forcing all U.S. universities to adopt Title IX sexual-abuse procedures which, whatever their intention, obliterate due process rights for students enrolled in these institutions.

Hillary Clinton may be “better” than her old boss, but her legal teams will be recruited from the same progressive legal benches that rationalized these unprecedented enforcements.

To extend the partisan thought: The Holder transition is an opportunity for Republicans with ambition to sharpen their views on the perils of the limitless administrative state. This is the beating heart of anxious conservatives’ complaint with Washington. It’s why the left mocks them and audits them. It’s why when Rand Paul or Ted Cruz talk about federal authority, people listen.

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