Rule of law? What rule of law?

Bonnie Cash/Pool via AP

I was always struck by the rather bizarre disconnect between the way in which Donald Trump talked about the rule of law–he often seemed to disdain procedure in favor of getting results–and his actual practice as president. As much as Trump talked as if he were in a position to exercise more power than a president has, his administration was actually pretty scrupulous about obeying court orders and not painting outside the lines.


Weird, given Trump’s rather idiosyncratic relationship to reality. Of all people, you would think he would have been a lot messier. Lots of people are convinced that Trump ran roughshod over the Constitution, but even in his worst moments he grumbled mightily but followed the law.

Great example: he campaigned on “Lock her up!” Yet he never even pushed for an investigation. Pretty big contrast to how Trump is being treated by Biden, who mumbles about the rule of law yet uses the FBI as his own personal Stasi.

The Democrats, on the other hand, make a fetish of referring to the rule of law, while often simply ignoring both statutes and the Constitutional limits on their power. Both Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden famously admitted he had no power to cancel student loan debt, and then Biden went ahead and did it anyway. When the Supreme Court ratified what everybody knew–Biden acted illegally–Biden simply rejiggered his policies and canceled some of the student debt.

Leftist law professors are still not satisfied–their view of the rule of law is even more flexible. As Jonathan Turley points out, the Left’s view is basically “l’état, c’est moi,” or “I am the state.”


Louis XIV was king of France when he famously declared that he was the absolute ruler by divine right, and it was that attitude that famously led the authoritarian royalty of France to a very bad end indeed. But as we saw with the French Revolution, the divine right of kings is often replaced by the divine right of ideologues, and the antidote to tyranny is not an equal and opposite tyranny.

It is this form of tyranny toward which America is hurtling. One where the organs of the state become enforcers for the will of a political class dominated by an elite with contempt for any barriers that limit their power.

In a recent open letter, Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet and San Francisco State University political scientist Aaron Belkin called upon President Joe Biden to defy rulings of the Supreme Court that he considers “mistaken” in the name of “popular constitutionalism.” Thus, in light of the court’s bar on the use of race in college admissions, they argue that Biden should just continue to follow his own constitutional interpretation.

The use of the affirmative action case is ironic, since polls have consistently shown that the majority of the public does not support the use of race in college admissions. Indeed, even in the most liberal states, such as California, voters have repeatedly rejected affirmative action in college admissions. Polls further show that a majority support the Supreme Court’s recent decisions.

So despite referenda and polls showing majority support for barring race in admissions, academics are pushing to impose their own values, regardless of the views of the public or of the courts.

However, even if these measures were popular, it would not make them right. It is precisely what segregationists such as Sen. James Eastland (D-Miss.) argued, that “all the people of the South are in favor of segregation. And Supreme Court or no Supreme Court, we are going to maintain segregated schools.”

Tushnet and Belkin cite with approval Biden’s declaration that this is “not a normal Supreme Court.” Biden’s view of normalcy appears to be a court that agrees with his fluid view of constitutional law, by which he can forgive roughly a half of trillion dollars in loans or impose a national eviction moratorium without a vote of Congress.


Imagine if Trump had done such a thing, or if a slew of Trump supporters tried to publish a call to ignore court orders. Or, perhaps, to pack the courts, as so many Democrats have. It would be seen as an attack on our democracy.

But that is because the “rule of law” for the Left is not a principle, but a talking point to use against others. Just as you hear “nobody is above the law” when prosecuting Trump, you also hear from Nancy Pelosi “Trump has the opportunity to prove his innocence in court,” which is the opposite of the American conception of criminal justice.

And don’t get me started on Biden’s corruption, Democrat perjury before Congress, the FBI’s lying to courts, and rummaging through intelligence information illegally on behalf of Democrats. Censorship of conservatives. IRS targeting. The intelligence agencies lying to benefit the Democrats. The FBI lying about the Hunter Biden laptop. Crossfire Hurricane…

If there is no rule of law, we live in a tyrannical society. Guess where we are headed.


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