Friday, September 10, 2010

Law and Order

One of Sullivan's readers, on the Obama administration's defense of DOMA and DADT:

I think you are being a little more than disingenuous when you claim that the Obama administration is to the right of some conservatives with respect to DADT and marriage equality. Like a law or not, it is the duty and constitutional obligations of the executive branch to defend every law. While I disagree with DADT and believe DOMA to be unconstitutional, I still want the executive branch to litigate to uphold the legality of these laws. Once you set a precedent that an administration should not defend laws with which it disagrees, it will start to work against you. What would happen if a Republican administration decided not to defend challenges to EPA regulations or not to defend challenges to the constitutionality of health care reform? (Whether to appeal is a different matter.) You can fault the Obama administration of many things, but not for doing its constitutional duty.

What if Republican administrations decided to stop enforcing regulations of important industries? What would happen if a Republican administration decided not to uphold legally binding international laws against torture to which it is a signatory? What if subsequent administrations gave those lawbreakers near-total legal immunity?

Thank goodness we don't live in such an awful world.

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