Field of Science

Right Wing Pundits Befuddle Amurikans on DOMA

A few days ago on Talk of the Nation the discussion was on Obama's decision to no longer defend the DOMA law in court. The discussion was fairly standard stuff and Nina Totenberg did an excellent job laying out the situation.

Thankfully, we have a political party that either doesn't understand the constitution or ignores it in order to enrage the base. This party does not seem to know that there is a difference between enforcing a law (the job of the executive branch) and defending a law in court (not the job of the executive branch, although often the executive branch does this job).

19:38 Matt from Clarksville Tennessee demonstrates the problem perfectly. Matt has picked up on the talking points of his masters. See how long it takes Matt to finally get it through his thick head that the issue is not enforcement not defense (23:59). But even then, Matt is still going to be righteously indignant about a problem that doesn't exist.

Sadly, someone who I expect has a similar viewpoint as me comes on next, and then basically says the president does not need to follow the law. The wrongness in her follow up comments helps reinforce my belief that >95% of US born citizens would probably fail the tests immigrants take to obtain citizenship.


Chris Lindsay said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the president is not required to follow laws passed by Congress.

We see bills that become laws all the time, but a President chooses to not fund them, thereby rendering them null and void.

How about when a President issues an executive order? In many cases those are in opposition to established law.

The Lorax said...

The president is required to follow laws that were passed by Congress and signed by a president (or overrode(riden?) a veto).

You are correct that funding may be withheld (in certain cases as not all laws require funding to be enacted) which can effectively prevent a law from being enforced. However, I would point out that the law still exists, it is not void strictly speaking. But for all intense and purposes, as you note, such an action would result in a law not being enforced (and we've reached the edge of my civics).

If by executive orders you are referring to signing statements a president can attach to a law (used in great quantity by the previous president). These basically don't mean a thing. It would be akin to signing your mortgage and at the bottom of the page writing "The bank president doesn't deserve her salary." You'll still pay the mortgage (or lose your property and the bank president will still get paid. In the signing statement, a president will often write what they think the law means or what they will do/not do regarding the law. But this is not binding on anyone and may help lay the ground work for potential litigation.

Chris Lindsay said...

Thanks for the clarification. I caught this link this morning that talks about this issue a bit more.

The Lorax said...

I think this is the link you were shooting for CL