As a libertarian with deep anarchist leanings, I have plenty of problems with political authority myself. Nevertheless, I find the society in which I live to be libertarian enough, and that any deviation from the rules and procedures in place can be considered to be a threat to my freedom. With this being said, the Wall Street Journal has a great editorial out on the Obama administration’s increasingly authoritarian and cavalier approach to the political process. What I like best about this editorial is that it focuses on one of the Obama administration’s less well-known attempts at consolidating power: that of granting regulators powers that they don’t actually have. Observe:
In re: Aiken County is another episode in the political soap opera about spent-fuel storage at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, an Energy Department project that requires the approval of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission [...] Yucca has since been infamously stop-and-go amid opposition from the green lobby and not-in-my-backyard Nevadans and Californians. This particular application was submitted to the NRC in June 2008.
Mr. Obama promised to kill Yucca as a candidate and the Energy Department tried to yank the license application after his election. But an NRC safety board made up of administrative judges ruled unanimously that this was illegal unless Congress passed a law authorizing it. Mr. Obama then teamed up with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to stack the NRC with anti-Yucca appointees.
Although Congress appropriated money to conduct the review, the NRC flat-out refused, in violation of the three-year statutory deadline.
The explanation continues:
A federal court is stating, overtly, that federal regulators are behaving as if they are a law unto themselves. Judge A. Raymond Randolph notes in a concurrence that former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who has since resigned, “orchestrated a systematic campaign of noncompliance.” If Mr. Jaczko worked on Wall Street he’d be indicted.
Judge Kavanaugh then offers some remedial legal education in “basic constitutional principles” for the President who used to be a constitutional law professor. Under Article II and Supreme Court precedents, the President must enforce mandates when Congress appropriates money, as well as abide by prohibitions. If he objects on constitutional grounds, he may decline to enforce a statute until the case is adjudicated in the courts. “But the President may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections,” writes the court.
That is especially notable given that ObamaCare’s employer-insurance requirement and other provisions are precisely such unambiguous statutory mandates, with hard start dates [...] All of this highlights that Mr. Obama is not merely redefining this or that statute as he goes but also the architecture of the U.S. political system.
Indeed. Dr Delacroix has suspected the Obama administration of authoritarianism from the beginning, and it looks as if time has proved him right (which is a good thing for him, given his penchant for missing the mark in foreign affairs). Stay tuned. This blog is just warming up.