• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Holmes: Can We Govern Ourselves?

    As The Heritage Foundation’s Kim Holmes asks in The Washington Times, is our capacity to govern ourselves disappearing?

    Today, the political process is jeered at as an exercise in futility—an endless, heated tangle of competing forces akin to Beltway traffic.

    Still, the genius (and threat) of government is that it can manage to expand and overreach even while in a state of paralysis. Much of the 112th Congress was spent in unpopular impasse, and yet it carries a historic price tag. The federal government operates without a budget, with Congress’s state of gridlock protecting record deficit spending that is set to grow even more despite the new fiscal cliff deal.

    While members of the legislative branch of government continue to argue about spending, the other branches are stepping into its role. This is even the case with some of the nation’s courts. In The Heritage Foundation’s Understanding America series, Robert Alt writes:

    [O]ver time, the Supreme Court has grabbed power by declaring that “the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution.” The Supreme Court has even gone so far as to declare that its decisions that interpret the Constitution are the supreme law of the land.

    Judicial activism undermines Americans’ ability to decide issues for themselves.

    Of course, President Obama does his part as well. As Holmes points out: “He’s taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and enforce our laws, not to disregard them or make them up. Yet he chooses not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act or federal marijuana laws. And he enacts by executive order what he could not get in the Dream Act.”

    Post-inauguration, we will likely see more of this. Obama’s unbending posture during the fiscal cliff negotiations reveals his determination to dig in on other issues.

    What does the combination of Washington gridlock and debt-ridden overreach mean for the people’s right to choose how they are governed?  What happens to the rule of law when the actions of some judges and bureaucrats help render the legislative process obsolete?

    Stay tuned.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.