What Would Lincoln Say?asks Nicholas Quinn Rozenkranz in the Wall Street Journal regarding Barack Obama's decision to suspend the law.
Scholars have debated whether Lincoln exceeded his power by suspending the writ and whether Congress's retroactive ratification cured any constitutional infirmity. Whatever one's answer, this is a case of a president—himself a constitutional lawyer—trying, under impossible circumstances, to be as faithful to the Constitution as possible.Check out the four ways in which Honest Abe's actions differ from Barack Obama — oh, and by the way, if you have the time, check out No Pasarán's previous posts about the 16th president, including the excerpts of the graphic novel biography that I am doing of him in partnership with Dan Greenberg.
Contrast all of this with President Obama's announcement that he is unilaterally suspending part of the Affordable Care Act. Like Lincoln, Mr. Obama is a constitutional lawyer. And like Lincoln's action, Mr. Obama's was a unilateral executive suspension of the law. But in every other way, the president's behavior could not have been more different from Lincoln's.
Oh, and then, there's this:
As for Republican congressmen who had the temerity to question his authority, Mr. Obama said only: "I'm not concerned about their opinions—very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers."What does it matter whether congressmen (Republican or Democrat) are lawyers, constitutional or otherwise? Just like, what does it matter that the (vast) majority of the American people (all 300 million of 'em) are not lawyers (and thank God for that)? You, the occupier of the Oval Office, are not the leader of the people, you are their servant. You still have to follow the law, and you still need to explain your actions 1) to Congress and 2) to the people (however much or however little any of their members may be versed in constitutional law).
"I'm not concerned about their opinions—very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers."Which brings us back to the quote: did you recognize that mind trick?
It's the liberals' old one-twofer:
1) "Yes, I'm tolerant, and understanding, and (totally) open to debate."
2) "Oh, but I cannot discuss this with you, because you, my opponent, are not an expert/not as intelligent as I am/reactionary/ridiculous/hateful/racist/hypocritical/full of tedious arguments/spouting Republican talking points/etc etc etc…"