It does not matter, constitutionally, that congressional Republicans have abused their authority by refusing to confirm qualified nominees—just as congressional Democrats did in the previous administration. Governance in a divided system is by nature frustrating. But the president cannot use unconstitutional means to combat political shenanigans. If the filibuster is a problem, the Senate majority has power to eliminate or weaken it, by an amendment to Senate Rule 22. They just need to be aware that the same rules will apply to them if and when they return to minority status and wish to use the filibuster to obstruct Republican appointments and policies…

This is not the first time this administration has asserted unilateral executive power beyond past presidential practice and the seeming letter of the Constitution. Its slender justification for going to war in Libya without a congressional declaration persuaded almost no one, and its evasion of the reporting requirements of the War Powers Resolution—over the legal objections of Justice Department lawyers—was even more brazen. According to the administration, not only was our involvement in Libya not a “war” for constitutional purposes; it did not even amount to “hostilities” that trigger a reporting requirement and a 60-day deadline for congressional authorization…

I fear many Democrats are falling into this trap. They like President Obama and his policies, and they are willing to look the other way when it comes to constitutional niceties. The problem is that checks and balances are important, precedents created by one administration will be exploited by the next, and not all princes are good.