Balkinization  

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

JB

See Dick Say Stupid Things

Glenn Reynolds wants to know if any left wing bloggers think that the following remark of Dick Gephardt is stupid:

"When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day "

On behalf of all lefty bloggers out there, let me say that if Gephardt meant to say that a president could unilaterally overturn a Supreme Court construction of the Constitution through an executive order, what he said was stupid. I'd be happy to give him a crash course in constitutional law, or even send him a copy of my constitutional law casebook (shameless self-promotion).

If all he meant was that he would try to migitate the effect of Supreme Court decisions he does not like through various executive orders, (which can sometimes be done constitutionally, especially if the decision in question is statutory or a construction of administrative regulations rather than based on an interpretation of the Constitution) he expressed himself very badly indeed and should work harder at being more precise and not misleading his audience.

Bryan Preston, however, wants to argue that Gephardt's remark is as bad as Trent Lott's remark that the country would be better off if Strom Thurmond had been elected President in 1948. With all respect for Bryan's undoubted love of our constitutional system, I'm afraid I can't go that far. Gephardt's remark shows that he panders to constituencies and has only a passing acquaintance with the separation of powers. Lott's remark shows that he panders to constituencies by using racist code. Gephardt should be ashamed of himself for telling folks that he can do what he has no power to do. Lott should be ashamed of himself for playing to racist sensibiilties.


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