These past few months I’ve noticed a common theme from Republicans that is disturbing. They’ve bought into the progressive ideology which renders Congress as overseers of the executive branch. Speaker Paul Ryan stated as much in a press conference and so has Kenneth Starr in an op-ed published in the Washington Post.
How convenient for the legislative branch to concede its constitutional prerogatives to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats while they sit and conduct inconsequential hearings on all the president’s men. These congressmen can’t even pass a budget without resorting to continuing resolutions or omnibus bills. It must be nice sitting from on high and pass judgement on others who are doing the jobs they were elected to do.
But this is the administrative state that Woodrow Wilson and his ilk envisioned for America. They wanted an efficient federal government unencumbered by the constraints of the Constitution or the citizenry. Here is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote back in 2012:
Where did this paternalistic attitude of an administrative state come from? Ronald J. Pestritto summed it up best in his book, Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism:
If bureaucracy, as it administers progress, is to act on behalf of the general interest, what is the role for public opinion? Wilson, after all, seems a consistent advocate of connecting politics much more directly with popular opinion. Yet, his writings on the separation of politics and administration show that public opinion is not to be brought more directly into the realm of administrative decision making. “The problem,” Wilson explained, “is to make public opinion efficient without suffering it to be meddlesome.” Public opinion is a “clumsy nuisance” when it comes to the “oversight of the daily details and in the choice of the daily means of government.” So while public opinion ought to be introduced more directly into politics, politics must confine itself to general superintendence – to the role of setting only the broad goals of the nation. “Let administrative study find the best means for giving public criticism this control and for shutting it out from all other interference,” Wilson wrote.
So the American people are a nuisance and the administrative state is the vehicle to stop us from interfering with the grand schemes of the masterminds.
Congress does have an oversight role and that is over the federal judiciary which they, once again, have conveniently neglected. Article Three specifically states Congress shall regulate federal courts.
In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.
Congress can limit the scope of the federal courts. However, they refuse to do it.
Marbury v. Madison is considered one of the biggest power grabs in American history. I contend the judiciary’s abuse of the 14th Amendment ranks alongside it. Section 5 states:
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Oh Congress, where art thou?