The Second Rule of the Constitution

Editorial: President Biden is using Title 42 against Venezuelans. That’s cowardly policymaking.


| August 06, 2016


For most of its history, the United States has lived by two separate, but related, rules. First, in the Constitution, we were a country of laws. Laws can change. Laws can be repealed. But as long as the Constitution stands, the government is obliged to keep its word.

By contrast, the second rule was that of power. Under the Constitution, the government had to exercise the powers it was given by the Constitution to preserve and protect the safety, security, the welfare and the independence of the country.

As part of that, the government was required to act against any effort to weaken the country through the manipulation of the Constitution. The government was not obligated to act against attempts to subvert the country through a coup d’état.

President Barack Obama was not, and has never, made the United States the country of laws. He has made it the country of power. In his mind, by definition, it is his duty to act when he is confronted with such an attempted coup d’état. Any attempt to subvert the Constitution is, in his words, an attempt by “the Russians or the Cubans or the Iranians or the Chinese or the North Koreans.”

In Obama’s mind, it’s his duty to act when the executive refuses to act, like he did when he supported Vladimir Putin’s invasion of eastern Ukraine—a war, which led to the deaths of innocent people in Ukraine, that the Putin government admitted was intended to protect Russian interests. President Vladimir Putin later tried to justify his actions by citing the United States’ failed policy toward Cuba.

President Obama also has demonstrated other troubling policies in his administration.

For example, we have a president who seems to be quite willing to ignore the laws of war—the laws of the United States that say you are to enforce the laws of war—rather than enforce them. He has allowed for the possibility that our military might be deliberately targeting civilians in areas where it has taken no actions against actual enemies of the United States.

He has also allowed for the possibility that the United States might be bombing a civilian population for the purpose of supporting what he seems to believe are legitimate targets—

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