Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Rand Paul Detainment and an Executive Branch that Answers to No One

By William L. Anderson

One only had to wonder how long it would take before there would be open confrontation between a member of Congress and the TSA, and it finally happened with the detainment (and that is what it was) of Rand Paul in Nashville on Monday. That was bad enough, but when one takes into account the larger picture of separation of powers, it is even worse.

Many years ago, I asked then-Tennessee U.S. Senator Jim Sasser in a public forum why Congress did not have to obey the laws it imposes on the rest of us. Sasser, unfortunately, answered by saying that the Senate was full of the greatest people he ever had known, which was not a real answer, but neither was Sasser exactly a bright bulb of knowledge. To him, the whole thing was a power play, and he had power, and I didn’t.

Except that Sasser unknowingly had a very important principle on his side, the separation of powers as listed in the U.S. Constitution. (I have to thank Lew Rockwell for pointing out this issue to me, and I admit it opened my eyes to a lot of things regarding the law and the growth of executive power.)

The founders of the United States had laid out three branches of the central government, and also had constructed legal walls between the central government and the states, all known as "separation of powers." There were to be limits upon the powers of people in those entities, and in the case of Congress and the executive branch, one of the provisions was the prohibition upon detaining members of Congress on their way to legislative sessions. As Mac Slavo has written, this provision existed to keep political rivals, be they in legislative, state or the executive branches, from using arrests as political tools to prevent legislators from voting.

Given that Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson, among others, eviscerated this provision (and received the ever-loving praise from "historians" and "scholars" for their actions), we are speaking now of concepts, unfortunately. Furthermore, what I call the Real American Revolution, the Continuing Age of Progressivism, pretty much has destroyed the Constitution and replaced it with the worship of executive power.

And that is where we are with the Rand Paul detainment. In its Pavlovian defense of the TSA, the White House simply repeated everything the agency claimed after the incident was reported, and I am sure that the rest of the Mainstream Progressive Media will serve as the "amen corner" for the Obama administration. No doubt, we will hear that Rand Paul should have to "obey the law," and "be willing to give up privacy for security," and the rest of the "security" blather that we have heard for more than a decade.

However, we need to step back and take a much more detailed look at what happened, as this is a microcosm of how Progressivism has given the executive branch near-unlimited power, and how the executive branch not only is permitted to violate the Separation of Powers Doctrine, but also how it can regularly abuse people who have no recourse. This incident did not appear from a vacuum, but rather is the result of a deliberate policy that was crafted more than a century ago by intellectuals and politicians that hated the limits upon governmental (and especially executive) power. As a result, we have an executive branch today that answers to no one.

Read the rest here.

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