With so much political turmoil in our country, there is much that we could complain about. The infuriating politicizing of every event or topic. The constant backbiting and arguing with little progress. The standing for as lapdogs or against as bulldogs of the presidential agenda. These and other things have caused many in America too long for bygone or entirely new days.
With many of the presidential actions over the last several decades, we have seen a definite negation of the Congress. Presidents, no longer bound to their Constitutional duties or limits, now make laws as they see fit. If they want to tighten the restrictions on guns, they just give an executive order. And in such a climate, it was not long before some if not many would naturally begin to call for the abolition of the Congress.
This has now begun with an article by Harvard Law professor Adrian Vermeule.
The Washington Post reports
In the spirit of John Lennon, let’s imagine, all starry-eyed, that there’s no U.S. Congress. In this thought experiment, the presidency and the Supreme Court would be the only federal institutions, along with whatever subordinate agencies the president chose to create. The court would hold judicial power, while the president would make and execute laws. The president would be bound by elections and individual constitutional rights, but there would be no separation of legislative from executive power.
Would such a system be better or worse than our current system? How different would it be, anyway?
It seems that Vermeule has a Pollyanna view of this and the several past Presidents. He appears to think that they and their predecessors will have no temptation in such a system. Have we not seen over the last decade the move from less power to more in the Executive Branch.
Why would they not legislate themselves even more and far reaching powers?
Adrian seems to believe that the Judicial Brach would somehow be able to reign in a power grab by the Executive Branch. But exactly how would they do so? Is this not the same standoff we saw between Jackson and the Supreme Court?
You see, though Adrian makes many eloquent points, he fails to tell you that the Constitution gives the Supreme Court no power to enforce its rulings. The Supreme Court relies on the other two branches to see that their decisions are enforced. And, as usual, the professor looks to Europe for an example of how this would work.
The Post continues
Such a system would resemble the classical Westminster-style parliamentary systems that fuse legislative and executive powers, in which the incumbent party can make rules more or less at will, subject only to the shadow of elections. Ironically, the abolition of Congress, by streamlining the process of lawmaking, could produce a jury-rigged, second-best version of parliamentary government in the United States.
But, this is a slight misrepresentation. Though it is true that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is chosen by the Parliament, the Parliament still exists. The Prime Minister, though having a majority vote in Parliament, does not in any sense make laws by himself. He does not hand down decrees.
Vermeule would do better to point people to Venezuela for a picture of what such a system would look like. Though the Congress has all but made itself obsolete and insignificant, it remains the constitutionally designated Branch to check the President’s power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Without Congress, we could soon count on the death of the republic as we know it and all hope for republicanism to return to America would be lost indefinitely.