Over the past century, beginning in earnest with the Woodrow Wilson administration, the executive branch has engorged in size at the general expense of the legislative branch that James Madison, in The Federalist No. 51, famously assured us would “necessarily predominate” in our “republican” form of government. Aided and abetted by a complicit Congress, which has generally been all too eager to delegate hitherto unprecedented unilateral authority to the executive, the president’s ability to seemingly legislate by administrative fiat has done much to undermine the original tripartite nature of our delicately prescribed constitutional order.
This pattern holds true for both major political parties. On a personal note, I have made public my sympathy to the argument, advanced by John Eastman of the Claremont Institute and John Yoo of Berkeley Law and the American Enterprise Institute (both former U.S. Supreme Court law clerks for originalist stalwart Justice Clarence Thomas) that President Donald Trump acted well within his statutorily delegated authority in his recent unilateral declaration of a national emergency at our beleaguered southern border. But, as I noted on the Steve Deace Show in late January, a judgment as to the political prudence of making such a unilateral executive branch move was a different calculation entirely. The Obama Administration, especially in the realm of immigration and amnesty, had engaged in previously unforeseen unilateralism. With Trump engaging in a symbolically meaningful assertion of executive authority — however properly delegated from Congress it may or may not have been — the one-way ratchet only seemed to exacerbate.
Now, it seems, the chickens are already coming home to roost a bit for conservatives. Specifically, U.S. Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) has now vowed to initiate unilateral action on gun control within her first 100 days as president, if Congress does not act according to her whims. (Read more from “Kamala Harris Promises Immediate Gun Control Action If Elected” HERE)