Reviews | Why are Democrats celebrating Biden’s kickoff takeover?
Indeed, Biden’s work is celebrated as courageous and compassionate. What can he do as a follow-up? Suspend habeas corpus? Quarter of troops in people’s homes?
The Biden deportations moratorium is a piece with similar executive takeovers by his predecessors, particularly Barack Obama’s DACA and Donald Trump’s reallocation of military funding to the border wall. It doesn’t improve it, in fact it makes it worse. This means that executive anarchy becomes an ingrained part of our system. In itself, Biden’s decision is particularly egregious.
Trump initially ordered a moratorium on evictions in March 2020, which lapsed several months later. The CDC then ordered a moratorium on evictions in September 2020, and it has repeatedly extended it under Biden, even while suffering setbacks in court.
There has never been a mandate for politics. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit wrote that the legal theory advanced by the government “would grant the director of the CDC near dictatorial power for the duration of the pandemic, with the power to shut down entire industries as freely. that it could prohibit evictions ”.
In its own reflection on whether to block the moratorium, the Supreme Court has clearly expressed its thinking. There were four votes – Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett – to block the moratorium by overturning a stay of a lower court order against it. Brett Kavanaugh stopped short of this. He found that the CDC “had gone beyond its existing statutory authority by decreeing a moratorium on nationwide evictions,” although it voted against ending the stay, on the grounds that the moratorium was expiring in a few months anyway. weeks. Nevertheless, he said, “clear and specific authorization from Congress (via new legislation) would be needed for the CDC to extend the moratorium after July 31”.
Ah, yes, authorization from Congress. What a revolutionary concept.
This is how American democracy is supposed to work – if you have the votes to pass something through the House and Senate, and the President signs it, the measure becomes law (assuming it is not unconstitutional. ). If you don’t have the voice, it doesn’t become law.
Considering all the discussions lately about how our democracy might go into agony, one would expect there to be a renewed commitment to this essential part of the democratic process.
Even the White House briefly appeared to lean on Congress, based on the votes. “In light of Supreme Court ruling,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week, “president calls on Congress to extend moratorium on evictions to protect these vulnerable tenants and their families without delay “.
Then, a funny thing happened: nothing.
According to media reports, around a dozen of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s colleagues opposed the extension of the moratorium. So, a majority of the representatives of the people were against, democracy had spoken.
This should have been the end. Biden himself spoke of “the imminent end of the moratorium on CDC evictions.”
There was simply no legal authority to get around it. Biden’s Covid task force chief Jeff Zients said the administration had “cut all tires” looking for justification, but had none.
“The president didn’t just kick the tires; he has double, triple, quadruple checks, ”said Biden adviser Gene Sperling.
Then, under intense pressure from the left, Biden backed down and decided to ask his CDC to order another extension without any plausible legal authority. Incredibly enough, he was explicit that “most constitutional scholars say this is unlikely to pass the constitutional test.”
It is not often that a President of the United States admits that he affirmatively violates his sworn duty to uphold the Constitution, but Biden did and received much praise from Congressional leaders in his. own party.
Even though they have custody of the branch of government that is supposed to pass the laws, Chuck Schumer and Pelosi were absolutely delighted that the chief executive had, once again, demonstrated the continued erosion of their legitimate prerogatives and their diminished role in our constitutional framework.
The real test of dedication to our democracy and our constitutional system is whether officials honor it even when it produces undesirable results, or whether they are trying to find extra-legal workarounds. Trump failed this test miserably after the last election, and Democrats, just as they did under Obama, are showing they are fine with unconstitutional governance as long as it produces their preferred results.
Remember this at their next talk on How to Protect American Democracy.