Before our very eyes, we're watching the death of American legislatures--the two houses of Congress and state assemblies.
The attacks we've seen on these bodies that are supposed to make our laws is being carried out by the two opposing branches--the executive (and its administrative state) and the judicial.
The troubling signs are these:
- The issuance of excessive executive orders by United States presidents, most recently and especially Donald Trump and Barack Obama. Now comes Biden who promises more of the same, to implement his various environmental, immigration and other policies.
- Their excuse for edging out the lawmakers' job is that U.S. Senate and House aren't, well, doing their jobs. Which is true, crippled as they are by partisan lockjaw.
- The castration of the Illinois General Assembly by House Speaker Michael Madigan, a shameless and greedy tyrant who herds lawmakers as if they were a flock of sheep. It hasn't met for months.
- Assorted Illinois judges who have backed up Gov. J.B. Pritzker's illegal extension of his "emergency" pandemic powers in the absence of legislative authorization.
- The Pennsylvania supreme court, without a by-your-leave, subverted the state legislature by grossly redesigning along partisan lines the lawmakers' constitutional job of regulating elections.
Yes, it's a small sample, but they're the ones I know about. Jeopardized is the the tri-part balance of power that has served the Republic for more than two centuries.
The works Montesquieu, the political philosopher generally credited with refining the concept of divided government, along with the Founding Fathers have been tossed on the bonfire of the today's ascendant vanities--the blind partisans and the power-hungry.
While the system looks endangered today, it has protected minorities from the tyranny of the majority and prudently slowed down the kind of violent and revolutionary upheaval that destroyed, for example, 19th Century France.
The executive branch was designed to implement the laws made by the legislatures, not to create them by executive orders and fiat. Executive branch administrators were assigned the job of carrying out the legislative actions and intent, not alter them to fit their own preferred policies.
Nothing seems to be standing in the way of the fatal illness caught by American legislatures, as executive and judicial powers continue their successful assault. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to live under a bi-part government run by the executive and judicial branches. And, the ensuing battle between those two branches for control until all that is left is a dictatorial regime accountable to no one, not even the mass media that have abetted death of the legislatures.