Vox has posted an article titled “How the Supreme Court put itself in charge of the executive branch” in which they complain about SCOTUS declaring that the Biden administration cannot do things like fight climate change, declare pistol braces to be illegal, or forgive student loans. The entire article is complete bullshit. The President never had those powers, and it’s time that we all recognized why.
The document that grants powers of lawmaking to the Federal government is Article 1 of the Constitution, which lays out the lawmaking power of the United States in Section 1:
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States
The laws passed by Congress are called the United States code (USC). This is what the USC looked like in 1925. Note that all of the laws passed by Congress in the first 150 years of its existence were found in one book:
That one volume represents all of the laws that were passed by Congress in the first 150 years of this country’s existence. That Federal Law library has now expanded immensely.
What was one volume in 1925 expanded to become 25 volumes just 90 years later.
Article 2 of the Constitution lays out the duties of the Executive branch, along with those of the chief executive (The President).
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.
The duties of the President are found in sections 2 and 3, which I have summed up in the following bullet points:
- The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy and of the Militia
- he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices
- He shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
- He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur
- He shall nominate Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States
- The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
- He shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers
- He shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
- He shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed
That last one is really important. He, through the executive branch, sees to it that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed. Note that CONGRESS has been vested with ALL legislative powers, and the executive makes sure that those laws are carried out. Nowhere in the Constitution is there any provision for the Congress to abdicate and delegate its legislative powers to the executive branch.
Even so, our government has created an entire branch of government and of law called Administrative law. It is through this law that administrative departments like the ATF are declaring things to be illegal or prohibited, even when those things are not prohibited by legislation.
Administrative law is the body of law created by the agencies and departments of the government, which carry out the laws passed by Congress or a state legislature. Why do they need help doing this? BEcause most of the members of Congress are complete morons who spend most of their time chasing pussy, getting drunk, and using their power to enrich themselves. They don’t have time to be informed on the issues, so they punt.
When Congress passes a law on a complicated issue, Congress often needs help determining all of the details of how the law will be enforced and implemented, because they are corrupt morons. Administrative agencies and government departments fill in those gaps for Congress and pass additional rules and regulations to achieve what they want Congress’s goals to be, in their own opinion. Of course there is a great deal of corruption, graft, and people putting their own desires and spin on the ball.
All of these administrative laws are called the Code of Federal regulations. The number and complexity of laws passed by the executive dwarfs the 25 volumes of laws that have been passed by Congress.
This, despite the fact that the Constitution explicitly states that all legislative Powers shall be vested in Congress, and makes no provisions for Congress to abdicate, delegate, or assign those legislative powers to the executive branch.
The case of Marbury v. Madison established the concept of Judicial review. The court has had the power to declare laws unconstitutional ever since. In my opinion, the Supreme Court hasn’t gone far enough in declaring that the entire CFR is unconstitutional wherever and whenever those regulations do anything except control how the laws will be enforced. As soon as a regulation changes the plain meaning of the wording of any law passed by Congress, it is null and void.
For example, there is nothing in the laws passed by Congress that would permit a machine gun to be defined as anything other than a firearm that discharges more than one shot for each function of the trigger. The President can’t forgive student loans because all expenditures must originate from the House of Representatives. If Congress wanted student loans forgiven, they would have done so.
Of course, that can’t happen any longer. The system is far too complex for it to suddenly by unrestrained. The damage that has been done to the intended form of government by permitting these administrative agencies to write laws out of wholesale cloth.