The secret weapon. An ace in the hole. A Trump card. A firewall. An insurance policy…(?)
The concept is well-worn in our culture. “She’s my secret weapon” a husband might brag about his wife when asked to describe the reasons behind his amazing success. Or a presidential candidate could have a strong state positioned early in the primary schedule to serve as a “firewall” against early and embarrassing losses. New Hampshire, the second-to-vote state, historically has acted as the establishment candidate’s trump card, though it didn’t work out very well for Jeb Bush in 2016 -- or Joe Biden in 2020.
A secret weapon isn’t always useful, but it helps sooth the mind of the possessor.
For conservatives reeling from the seemingly non-stop series of executive orders streaming from the desk of doddering President Joe Biden, all hope might not be lost after all. Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion reads, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” which could loosely be re-translated to state, “For every Biden unconstitutional executive action, there is a conservative group or red state attorney general out there anxious to challenge it and plenty of Trump-appointed judges lurking to rule on it.”
Though the federal courts have never proven reliable secret weapons to derail disasters (Remember Chief Justice John Roberts and Obamacare or Justice Anthony Kennedy and (place-your-issue-travesty-here)?), they could be life-savers when it comes to slowing or stopping the onslaught of unlegislated leftist policy transgressions under Grampa Joe. We can dream, right?
“Republican attorneys general are mounting a judicial attack on President Biden’s record number of executive orders and eyeing a favorable legal battlefield, thanks to scores of conservative judges whom President Trump appointed to the federal bench.
“Lawsuits against Mr. Biden’s moves on climate change and immigration are working their way through district courts, where Mr. Trump installed 174 judges. Further up the judicial ladder, Mr. Trump appointed 54 circuit judges and three Supreme Court justices.
“Red state attorneys general told The Washington Times that they also are looking to the courts to check the Biden administration’s sweeping federal regulations on elections and transgender inclusion in the military and school athletics, as well as national COVID-19 pandemic mandates.”
While not exactly akin to an insurance policy, this argument provides a ray of hope that not everything the current Oval Office occupier does will be permanent, which is a comforting feeling to say the least. It’s still much better to have the political power on your side and force your opponents to rely on the iffy notion of judicial help. The truth doesn’t always win out in either case, but it’s a start.
Liberals made the same contention against Trump in his four years, though the Republican’s string of executive actions typically involved restoring freedoms taken away by the totalitarian ideology of Barack Obama -- or, simply applying the laws already on the books, as it was with immigration and border enforcement. Biden doesn’t even bother with appearances, he just wholesale ignores statutory language or cancels big ideas like the Keystone XL Pipeline because he feels like it. Then there’s imposing the Democrats’ cultural dictates, such as forcing the military to make special accommodations for transgender individuals. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be in America.
Biden’s pen is not a secret weapon. It’s a despotic sledgehammer.
Over the years, the left has honed such underhanded methods. Administrative law has been controversial for a long time, so this is nothing new. Rulemaking authority directly conflicts with Congress’s duty to make the laws that govern the people. The result? The exponential growth of government, with agencies seemingly sprouting out of nowhere and staffed by teams of nameless, faceless bureaucrats who wouldn’t know a ballot box if it walked up and booted them in the keister. A balance needs to be struck somewhere.
Every day we’re given clues as to just how broken the system is, a particularly bad example being the Democrats’ first Trump impeachment witch-hunt beginning in the fall of 2019. How many lower-level stiffs (including the infamous “whistleblower” himself, Eric Ciamarella) were involved in questioning the president’s conversation with the Ukrainian president?
Face it, much if not most of the federal authority we live under is determined by the folks behind the scenes, quite often guided by executive orders. If an individual rule or regulation actually makes it to the congressional oversight level, chances are there’s a panel of “experts” waiting to testify before a committee and defend a matter that no average person is capable of understanding, including the lawmakers themselves.
Congress is made up of politicians, not practical people. Jokes on politicians and lawyers are legendary. They’re easy targets for hilarity. But all good humor contains an ounce of truth. Elected officials and civil servants sometimes (often?) make bad decisions. When this happens the interest groups and state attorneys general step in to battle them. The process can (and does) take years. But thankfully, nothing is ever set in stone… at least until the Supreme Court issues an opinion.
Therefore, the secret weapon is very much alive to preserve some semblance of sanity.
It's not possible to predict which Biden actions will be overturned by the courts, but there’s an argument that the left’s favorite figurehead might even benefit from them. One of Biden’s most egregious dictates -- cancelling all deportations -- has already been disallowed by a Trump-appointed judge in Texas. Other challenges are making their way through the system. Be prepared for further announcements, followed by grandstanding and feigned shock and horror by the president and Democrat congressional leaders.
Congressional gridlock mandates such back-and-forth between the executive and judicial branches. With politics clogging up the legislative process, it simply isn’t possible to get anything done quickly. Congress doesn’t even bother with traditional budgeting anymore. Government by continuing resolution and big number compromises is the new norm. Toss in the tendency of both parties to govern through executive fiat, and the whole thing breaks down.
The Democrats’ COVID “relief” bill was stuffed full of things that couldn’t be legislated through the normal process or passed by Grampa Joe’s pen. It goes to show, the courts may be a “secret weapon” to overturn certain items, but much will still get through.
The only thing worse than depending on the courts to temporarily stall the most disastrous elements of Joe Biden’s agenda would be not having the people in place to do it. Donald Trump may no longer be president, but the constitution-protecting judges he put on the bench are perhaps our last line of defense. This is one area where the legal system might work to everyone’s benefit.
An insurance policy? Right now, it’s the best we’ve got.
Trump appointed judges
Joe Biden executive orders
Keystone XL Pipeline