Monday, April 29, 2013

More Governmental Overreach

By Dave Dargo

I mentioned in a previous post, Respect For The Law?, how some in positions of power in government use that power to corrupt public policy in a way that drives a growing disrespect for the law.

The Executive Branch Review highlights another example of power corruption in this article.

Imagine for a moment that you want the government to take certain actions.  Though the current administration is sympathetic and even supportive of your cause both you and the administration know that there exists no authority for the government to take your desired actions.  In fact, it may be that the legislative branch has voted many times against such action and you feel quite frustrated that you can't get your desired actions through the legislative branch.

But, you have a smart person in your organization and you decide to sue the executive branch to force them to take the actions you desire.  You know you can't win the lawsuit because the government hasn't done anything wrong, nor has it failed to do anything it's required or even allowed to do.  You know, however, that the executive branch is supportive of your cause and the powers-that-be wish that the legislative branch would just get out of the way and pass the necessary legislation.

So, you file your lawsuit and everyone knows you won't win.  Are you worried?  Of course not because you know what's coming next: rather than proceeding to trial the sympathetic executive branch settles the lawsuit and agrees to perform your requested action.  Voila, problem solved.

The only problem with this solution is that the executive branch never had the authority to negotiate and agree to take the action.  Worse, many others who are opposed to the action had no seat at the negotiating table because they had no standing in the lawsuit.  And, worst of all, there may be property owners who are affected by the action and won't know about any of it until your sympathizers in the government show up to take the action.

The U.S. Senator from Louisiana, David Vitter, is attempting to uncover such shenanigans.  The Science Based Policy For A Better World Blog has a post that highlights the letter that Senator Vitter sent to the Louisiana Attorney General asking his assistance in uncovering the practice of the executive branch bypassing the legislative branch by using a pseudo-suit in the judicial branch to achieve what it can't achieve through the normal deliberative process established by the U.S. Constitution.

They are starting with a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to uncover which organizations may have colluded with the executive branch to establish regulations outside the normal channel.

These Machiavellian machinations would make even Niccolo himself blush and should make all of us angry.  The question is, will it make us angry enough to have the intellectual courage to do something about it?

The issues Senator Vitter is uncovering may not affect you today but you can rest assured that the manipulation methods employed here, if allowed to continue and grow, will some day be used to demonstrate to you who serves whom.  I don't think you'll like that demonstration.

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