I fear for the future of our nation. News accounts report that many politicians and celebrities are calling for protest and opposition to our duly elected President and Congress. I am troubled that many appear committed to blocking and opposing the new administration in all possible ways. Senator Chuck Schumer announced that he would oppose the appointment of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, even before the identity of that nominee was announced. Democratic Senators have blocked the confirmation of nominees for cabinet positions. Senator Elizabeth Warren violated Senate rules to attack a respected colleague. Whatever happened to the concept of a “loyal opposition?”
However, those actions pale in comparison to the actions of those engaged in the ongoing and explicit disobedience of federal law. Numerous mayors have declared their cities to be “sanctuary cities” and are flagrantly disobeying federal law. They refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement officials, and have protected illegal immigrants who have been arrested for violating local, state and federal laws. Recently California Governor Jerry Brown announced that he is considering declaring California to be a “sanctuary state.” This represents a breakdown of the “Rule of Law” in America. Unfortunately, the alternative to the Rule of Law is anarchy.
About 150 years ago the United States fought the Civil War. The fundamental questions in that war was whether any State could decide to secede from the Union, whether they had to accept a president they had not supported, and whether they had to obey laws with which they disagreed. For better or worse, all of those questions were answered in support of the federal government. No state can secede from the Union. Every state must accept the duly elected leadership of the nation. All citizens must obey the laws of the nation. More recently, the federal government used the National Guard and FBI agents to enforce federal desegregation laws, to integrate schools, and to enforce non-discriminatory voting laws. Those arguing for “states rights” were overruled.
The fundamental issue is not whether the policies, laws and positions of the Trump Administration are legal and appropriate. The crucial question is whether we are in this together, and how disagreements and disputes will be resolved? Can State and local leaders simply refuse to enforce federal law? Can the decisions and rulings of federal courts and agencies be ignored and/or disobeyed? If America is to survive the answer to these questions must be “NO.” I fully support the right of those who disagree to challenge the laws and policies through the court system. However, they must declare their commitment to accept and follow the laws of our nation.
Those who are asserting their “right” or “duty” to disobey laws that they find objectionable need to consider some of the following questions:
* Where did their alleged “right” to disobey federal law come from?
* What was the significance of the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement, upon the principle of “States Rights”?
* Where do these so-called “rights” of the cities and states to disobey laws come from, and where do they end? Are they limited only to cities and states? Can a county choose to disregard and disobey State laws and mandates with which it disagrees? Can private citizens disregard and disobey laws with which they disagree? Does anyone have to obey any laws that they dislike?
* What makes any law or government legitimate? If the current federal government is not acceptable, what gives legitimacy to the governments of Rahm Emanuel (Chicago), William Di Blasio (NYC), Jerry Brown (California), and Andrew Cuomo (NYS)?
In the end the most fundamental principle in America is our dedication to the Rule of Law. Millions of people have left their places of birth to come here because America follows the Rule of Law. It doesn’t always function perfectly, but it functions better than any other system that has ever been established. I have sworn an oath to uphold it. I am vehemently opposed to those who are attacking the Rule of Law.