David Skeel has a wonderful op-ed in today's WSJ, which should be read widely. In it, he argues that:
The notion that we are governed by rules that are transparent and enacted through the legislative process—not by the whims of our leaders—is at the heart of that commitment. If legislators exceed their authority under the Constitution, or if otherwise legitimate laws are misused, courts must step in to prevent or remedy the potential harm.
During the 2008 financial crisis, the government repeatedly violated these principles. ...
Examples follow at distressing length. (To be clear, it's the examples -- not the length of the discusison -- that is distressing!)
A sad irony of these developments is that rule-of-law values have been one of America's greatest contributions to world-wide economic development in recent decades. When the economist Hernando de Soto tried in the 1990s to determine why economic growth is so limited in much of the world, he concluded that respect for basic property rights is essential.
America, where this commitment gradually emerged in the 19th century, was Exhibit A in Mr. de Soto's story. In the years after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, American markets served as a model of the importance of privatization and protection of property rights as the nations of Eastern Europe charted a new economic future. Now we increasingly are the ones that need to learn these lessons. ...
Each candidate should be asked: Do you believe that the rule of law was abused during the recent crisis, and what would you do to protect it in the future?
Although Skeel doesn't explicitly make the case, it's clear that the blame falls squarely on Obama. As President, Obama has perpetuated--indeed, expanded--Bush's disregard for the rule of law abroad (drone killings of Americans, for example), while extending a disregard for the rule of law into the domestic spheres as Skeel details.
Unfortunately, we know Obama would deny abusing the rule of law and we also know that that would be yet another lie.
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