If Chief Justice Roberts is to be believed, it’s impossible. Here are his comments this week on Obama’s decision to keep implementing DOMA despite deeming it unconstitutional:
If he has made a determination that executing the law by enforcing the terms is unconstitutional, I don’t see why he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions… rather than saying, ‘Oh, we’ll wait ’til the Supreme Court tells us we have no choice.’
I speculate here, but it doesn’t seem too hard to work out what Obama’s logic will be. Let’s give this a go.
The American political system is built on a divisions of powers such that one body makes laws, another enforces them and another checks that those laws are constitutional. Liberty and prosperity have been built for centuries on those involved with government adhering to these designated roles and respecting the system. The day the President starts picking which laws to enforce, rather than following the decrees of the courts and Congress, is the day the system starts to dismantle. This holds even if the President believes a law is unconstitutional, because the point is that it’s not his place to make such decisions.
The most shocking thing is that the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice is apparently incapable of seeing the value of respecting law and power separations. Instead, he implies that the President is cowardly for fulfilling his constitutional duties.