Do you want another goofy example of how political norms can be twisted beyond all recognition?
Consider this: Conservatives for decades have been fond of relying on the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as an argument against ham-handed federal intervention. The amendment reads: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Got that? Good!
These days, though, we hear progressives/liberals holding up the 10th Amendment against what they determine to be Donald Trump’s ham-handedness in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
You see, Trump declared that as president he has “sole authority” to order state governors to relax restrictions they have placed on residents of their states. I should point out that Trump has reneged a bit on that bodacious assertion. Still, it’s out there.
The reality, though, is quite different as explained in the10th Amendment. The president has no authority over health issues per se. That authority rests in state capitols. Trump, though, believes he can just tell the governors what to do and that they are obligated to do what he says.
Governors, mostly Democrats among them, are quick to remind Trump that he was elected “president” and not anointed “king” in 2016. Therefore, he is restricted by the Constitution’s clearly written limits on executive power.
Yes, the Donald Trump Era has changed many once-staid political norms. It’s how he fashioned the presidency once he took office. He’s fine with ruffling it all up, or so he implies.
Except that the U.S. Constitution is a document that shouldn’t be trifled with. The founders got it mostly right when they drafted it in the late 18th century. Yes, they’ve done some tinkering with it over the many years since the nation’s founding.
The 10th Amendment, though, is written with as much clarity as any of those amendments that spell out our Bill of Rights. The only difference these days is the change in those who support and those who oppose its message.