Follow Us On:

Political Ponderings: Robes of Power

Posted on Wednesday, July 10, 2024 at 7:49 am

By Jessica Orsini

A great deal has been written in the past week about the extraordinary opinion by the Supreme Court in Trump v United States, an opinion that grants both current and former presidents absolute immunity regarding “core Constitutional powers”, and at least presumptive immunity for other official actions, while at the same time striking any official acts from use as evidence with regard to

Jessica Orsini

unofficial acts. This decision is unprecedented in scope, lacks anything resembling the originalist Constitutional basis the authors so often claim to follow, and effectively elevates presidents above the law. Our Founding Fathers, who fought to free us from a monarch in no small part because of that monarch’s own immunity to the law, could hardly have seen such an outcome; in particular, George Washington spurned any notion of an American monarchy or of a head of state who was above the law. When a leader is immune to the law, they knew, the people are subjects of the leader.

All of this is true, and all of this is both deeply disturbing and dangerous. But the real shift in power has been largely ignored.

In the cases decided by the Supreme Court over the past month, a pattern has emerged. By overturning the Chevron deference precedent, the court has moved the right to determine Congress’ intent with regard to vagueness in authorizing legislation for various federal agencies from the experts in the field in those agencies to the courts themselves, and thus ultimately to the Supreme Court. By effectively rendering the statute of limitations under the Administrative Procedure Act moot, the court has opened the floodgates to additional challenges of any and all administrative policies, with the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter. By handcuffing the Security Exchange Commission in seeking civil penalties for securities fraud, the court has once again shifted such actions to the Judiciary, with the Supreme Court making the final call.

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.