David Harsanyi

And on Tuesday, some nitrous oxide-loving federal judge in New Orleans blocked the executive overreach, saying the administration "simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region, and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country."

Nor can the administration justify the escrow fund. BP already had pledged to waive the $75 million liability cap Congress had bequeathed the company. It had written 31,000 checks totaling more than $100 million before the compensation fund was established. There were very few complaints -- other than political ones aimed at Barack Obama.

Surely The American Trial Lawyers Association could enlighten the White House to the benefit and fairness of class action suits. If the arrangement is broken or too slow, shouldn't we have some tort reformed? Is it really "mediation" when the administration and an oil company collude to decide what's best for the victims?

As many on the left have argued for years, simply because we have an emergency or threat -- the war on terror, for example -- is no excuse to abuse executive power or ignore our excellent legal system.

Or does all that change because oil is involved?


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.