Today, most “laws” are actually rules and regulations enacted by bureaucrats in government agencies, not statutes passed by elected lawmakers. Even when it does pass legislation (such as the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, or Obamacare), Congress leaves many blanks and expects rule-makers to fill them in.
That means the bureaucracy, peopled with federal “experts,” essentially exists as an unelected fourth branch of government. It has limited accountability to the actual elected branches -- and no accountability to voters. That’s not right. Lawmakers need to reclaim their constitutional role.
So should judges.
The Founders wrote that the judiciary would be the “least dangerous branch,” in part because judges wouldn’t have the ability to enforce their rulings without support from the other two branches. But today’s progressive judges often enact laws rather than interpret them. Fealty to the Constitution would require judges to return to their traditional role and stop legislating from the bench.
Finally, there’s the presidency.
As chief executive, a president has crucial responsibilities. But presidents lack the power to enact laws, or to determine that some laws won’t be enforced. Our constitutional framework of limited government requires a president who will actively use his granted powers, but also recognize the strict limits on those powers.
After the Constitution was complete, Benjamin Franklin noted it made the country “a republic, if you can keep it.” This Constitution Day, let’s honor the Framers and respect their work, by changing America’s course -- and returning to our constitutional roots.