by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The contempt — the sheer, unbridled contempt — that this administration has for the rule of law can be summed up neatly by this news:
“How’s he doing it? Biden is employing a post-9/11 law that allows for debt cancelation ‘in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency.’ Which emergency? ‘[T]he present COVID-19 pandemic,’ per a Dept of Ed memo issued yesterday.” …
… There is no point in our mincing words. This is a lie. A contrivance. A game. Nobody believes this. It’s an excuse. If it makes it to the Supreme Court, it will lose, and it will deserve to lose. It is facially farcical. Of course “The HEROES Act, first enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks” does not convey this authority, as the memo claims. At no point, until today, had a single person in America ever believed such a thing. They shouldn’t now.
When criticizing Donald Trump for making an end run around the legislature in 2019, I wrote that:
“To permit presidents to circumvent quotidian policy disputes by appealing to a phantom Too Important Clause is to tear up James Madison’s Constitution and to sanction an alternative settlement within which any sufficiently frustrated executive is able to delve deep into the statutory well and find a watery justification to get his way. ‘Emergency,’ ‘crisis,’ ‘prosecutorial discretion’ — these words all mean something concrete. If, when things get tough for the president he can always find an Enabling Act somewhere in the forest, then we do not have a system of government at all. We have a dictatorship.”
This rule applies just as much to Joe Biden.