Comments about ‘In our opinion: Recent tactics used to get around rule of law a long-term threat’

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Published: Sunday, July 28 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

The examples you cite for the abrogation of the rule of law pale in comparison to the decision to invade Iraq, a violation of both the war making powers domestically and international laws against genocide. You may have a minor point here and there, but I have a good memory and recall your aiding and abetting the Iraq disaster, with its hundreds of thousands of deaths, without so much as a blink of an eye. I might listen to you more attentively were your credibility not so shot.

Far East USA, SC

I would fully support voter id laws if they were NOT designed in large part to affect the outcome of elections. And, if they were actually addressing something that was a problem.

Neither of these things are true.

Mickey Kovars
Tampa, FL

This editorial deserves national attention, and I am forwarding it to all my friends. The ultimate irony is that Obama allegedly is a constitutional law expert. Either that is an out-and-out lie, or he's an expert in the Marxist-Leninist sense -- you understand the constitution so that you can ignore and nullify it. This man is doing great damage to our system of government, all for some 'higher purpose.' The destructiveness and self-righteousness of this approach is plain to see for anyone who is really looking.

salt lake city, utah

Once again DN, have some integrity. "Both sides.." then we get two pages of conservative cripes. Secondly, the title says we're circumventing the "rule of law" then goes on to describe legal maneuvers to circumvent laws or policies.

What about a Republican Senate that forces 61 yea votes on anything the Democrats propose. Is that circumventing the law?

Lastly, look around the world to what "circumventing the law" really looks like. It looks like Egypt, Syria, etc. Your hyperbole is not accurate or very professional.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

A simple reading of the Constitution would clear up most "federal duties". Those extra "duties" exist only in the minds of corrupt and opportunistic politicians. The real "duties" of the federal government are clearly enumerated in the Constitution. The are listed so that no one can claim authority to do anything that has not been explicitly delegated to the federal government by the people.

Requiring or not requiring voter I.D. is not on the list of "duties", therefore, it to be left to the States or to the people. It is not a function of the federal government. Rules and regulations written by bureaucrats are not part of the Constitution. Executive orders are not part of the Constitution. Only Congress has authority to legislate on the federal level. Eric Holder has no authority to legislate. Barack Obama has no authority to legislate. His duty is to enforce the law.

Dictators "dictate". Honorable and honest people work within the bounds set for them by those who are in authority. The people, not the President, are in authority. The President works for the people and is obligated to do only what the Constitution has authorized him to do.

Tooele, UT

Re: "In each of these cases, the issues themselves are not as important as the principles behind the rule of law."

They certainly are to the left-wing true believers that support these issues. And, therein lies the problem. The advance of the left's political agenda trumps everything else, in the childish, mindless, mirror-image echo chamber in which they choose to operate.

Suggesting that President Bush committing troops to protect us from terrorism -- after the conveniently-forgotten approval of Congress -- is somehow tantamount to scores of clear, cynical, politically-motivated, liberal floutings of the law, particularly by the Obama regime, is a good illustration of how willing the left is to abandon, not just the rule of law, but honesty, decency, and any semblance of adhesion to civilized principle, as well, in order to advance its agenda.

Liberal thought can be circumscribed into that great Orwellian principle -- "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Liberals believe everyone should follow the law -- except liberals.


DN: "The rule of law requires all parties to submit to a process, respecting outcomes with which they disagree"

Republicans have never respected the outcome of the election of Pres.Obama nor legislation that was passed in Congress prior to the 2010 election.

Presidents are given the authority to appoint administrators/officers by the U.S. Constitution.

#1 Instead of doing their job of allowing votes on Obama's appointees, Republicans (like Senator Lee) have been filibustering even non-controversial Judicial appointments. Republicans have been using the filibuster not because the appointees are extremists but because they want to undermine the functioning of the legally created NLRB, the CPFB, the ATF etc.

#2 Texas voting laws, viewed as the strictest in the U.S., were struck down earlier this year by the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for being discriminatory. The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision opened the door for TX to reinstate them. (Note: The DOJ has not challenged all new voter ID laws in the U.S.)

#3 Prop 8 did get hearings in CA courts and they lost. (R-Gov. Schwarzenegger is sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution laws against discrimination).

Salt Lake City, UT

This article contains several errors.

The Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act upheld the basic principles of the act, including the section under which the Attorney General is challenging Texas' voter ID law. The Attorney General's actions are consonant with the ruling and the Voting Rights Act which is designed to protect voters from discriminatory voting laws, as for example's Texas' voter ID law. The article is factually mistaken when it describes such actions as technical and legal end runs around the court.

California's public officials defended Prop 8 in court. When Prop 8 was struck down by a federal court, public officials chose to not appeal the ruling believing the state would lose and appealing would be a waste of time and money, something well within their authority.

By contrast, the issue of appointees to NLRB arose because Republicans in the Senate refused to permit a yes or no vote on the appointees. The President followed the law and made appointments and submitted them to the Senate. The Senate then failed to perform its legally required function. The article fails to mention that fact.

Bountiful, UT

You don't get to pick and choose what aspects of the rule of law you support or don't support. You're either for the rule of law - in all its myriad manifestations - or you're not. We don't live in a Mobocracy, and the majority of the people of Texas have been shown to disregard the Voting Rights Act, multiple times.

Texas is still part of the United States, where the supremacy clause in the Constitution applies even to them. If Eric Holder is able to prosecute Texas successfully in court, that's the rule of law at work, and it should be respected.

The Voter ID issue has been shown to be a Pinocchio-level exaggeration by Republicans, but I'd be fine with this law if every voter was issued a Voter ID card to encourage voter participation, like they've done in Mexico, with good success.

But that would diminish the advantage Republicans are trying to get at the polls because they know many poor voters don't have drivers licenses. And if they tried, in Texas the DMV would reduce staff to discourage them from getting an ID.

It's Texas, remember.

mid-state, TN

The votes of the populace are always subject to the rule of the US Constitution. This country is NOT a pure democracy -- it's a representative, CONSTITUTIONAL democracy -- which means that majority/mob rule does NOT take precedence over the rights of minorities.

Your so-called "rule of law" appears to actually mean "rule of mob". But Texas and California are not sovereign states. They, like every other state, are subject to the US Constitution -- no matter who their respective mobs may want to squash.

Murray, UT

The DN should also point out that this administration has instructed DEA not to enforce the federal drug laws, thus the states medical and recreational laws. ICE has been told not to enforce the immigration laws to those under 30. If the standard is the Constitution, the President's oath clearly does not allow for him to ignore enforcement of the laws.

Regarding SCOTUS Voting Rights Act decision, it clearly points out that, as the Constitution says, it is the sole prerogative of the states to determine voting standards for its citizens. Holder is making this a political issue, that is the only way his actions can be described.

@marxist - Congress, unfortunately, gave Bush the authority to invade Iraq.

@pragmatistferlife - the 60 vote standard has been part of the Senate for decades and it has been used by BOTH parties to make a statement.

SCOTUS ruled that the parties defending Prop 8 did not have standing. That was disappointing and short-sighted. They should have handed down a decision that clearly defines the rights of citizens to amend a state constitution via referendums. Do we or do we not have such rights? Unfortunately, they left the answer hanging.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

"...Liberal thought can be circumscribed into that great Orwellian principle -- "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."...".


Comparing humans to animals is the signature move of the face and voice of the Republican Party Rep. Steven King R-Iowa.

"...Liberals believe everyone should follow the law -- except liberals....".


Republicans believe everyone should follow the law-- except Republicans.


Centerville, UT

Isn't Senator Lee attempting to circumvent the law with his threats of retribution over the Affordable Care Act?

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

The Deseret News is arguing against itself in the first portion of this opinion. First, the editorial writer talks about laws "designed to preserve fairness through democratic representation, with built-in protections for the rights of minorities." But in arguing against the U.S. Attorney General's attempt to subject Texas's election laws or methods to federal review, the same writer claims it is "an attempt to circumvent the will of the people in Texas." Actually, it is only the will of the majority that is being questioned here, because there is no built-in protection for the rights of minorities. What Eric Holder is doing is attempting to re-enable those protections for minorities that were eliminated in Texas.

Also, the DN failed to point out all the Republican attempts to not implement or to repeal the ACA, which is a law passed in Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. What? No problem with these shenanigans? Too bad Utah's official Republican newspaper failed to mention that. But why should we expect it?

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If President Obama is allowed to pick and choose the laws he will implement/ enforce as Chief Executive then am I allowed to pick and choose which laws I follow? Congress passed (without a single Republican vote) he ACA with an employer mandate and then when it becomes clear Democrats are going to get smoked over it in 2014 he decides to unilaterally delay implementation. Are you kidding me? That's the definition of lawlessness. And needless to say Republicans get blamed for not "helping to fix" this travesty of a law. And I want even get into what the IRS did to law abiding American citizens. Peggy Noonan made a great point in her weekend column. Why is it that the party that champions the benefits of big government apparently has no interest in Governing? Cany anyone make an argument that this Admin has been even halfway competent? The only thing the President is capable of doing is campaigning. It's sad and it's scary.

mid-state, TN

@red state --

"If President Obama is allowed to pick and choose the laws he will implement/ enforce as Chief Executive then am I allowed to pick and choose which laws I follow? "

All executives (presidents and governors) have the same right. Many previous presidents have exercised this same right.

Here's some papers and articles on the subject that may help to educate you:

-- "The Indefensible Duty to Defend" at Columbia Law Review
-- "Presidential Authority to Decline to Execute Unconstitutional Statutes" (written in 1994 by the then-assistant US Attorney General)
-- "When May a President Refuse to Defend a Statute?" at Northwestern University Law Review
-- "Executivie Discretion to Decline to Defend Federal Law Against Constitutional Challenge" by the Palm Center for Sound Public Policy.

Layton, UT

When I turned 18, to celebrate I went and registered to vote. I was so thrilled that I had the authority to have my voice be heard. I don't understand why there is a problem with showing I.D. Even if you are not a driver, you can still get legitimate I.D. through your state. If you are not a citizen, you should not be allowed to vote, period. I certainly wouldn't move to France on a visa think I was allowed to vote in their elections unless I gave up my US citizenship and was granted citizenship in France. Many of our leaders are not following the Constitution. It was set-up the way it was for a purpose. It has a check and balance system which, in many cases is being ignored. Just remember, as was said centuries ago: Power corrupts and total power corrupts completely, unless you are a selfless man like George Washington who could have been a king, he was so popular, but chose to follow the Will of the People.

mid-state, TN

@Clarissa --

"I don't understand why there is a problem with showing I.D. "

The problem is that many poor people don't drive, and therefore don't have drivers' licenses. And it is often difficult for them to get other state-recognized ID -- either they can't take the time off work to go get it, or they can't afford transportation to go get it, or they don't have a stable residence address to put on it, or they don't have a copy of their birth certificate, or any of a myriad other problems. So voter ID laws unfairly discriminate against the poor.

Temple City, CA

@ Truthseeker,

You say that Prop 8 got hearings in California courts, "but they lost."

That is not true, which is the reason Prop 8 went to Federal Court.

A problem with Prop 8 exists now that the Supreme Court has ruled, leaving only Judge Walker's decision in place. This causes a multitude of problems which the executive branch of the California government is exploiting, perhaps illegally. It remains for the California Supreme Court to rule conclusively on this, but the ambiguities in the federal rulings and their relationship to California law will cause problems.

The California Supreme Court ruled that Prop 8 was valid and that the private citizens defending it had standing under California law. The US Supreme Court ruled that the private citizens did not have standing under federal law, and threw out the Appeals Court ruling, leaving Judge Walker's ruling intact, which technically had validity under California law for only those couples who sued and in only those counties where the lawsuits occurred.

All of this effectively gives veto power over voter-approved initiatives that the California Constitution does not allow, throwing the entire process into chaos.

Murray, UT

Poor people need ID to sign up for welfare and food stamps.

I hear a lot of excuses to stop America from making their elections honest.

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