Times-Call (Longmont)

The Republican on how the Constituti­on always trumps group feeling:


What sort of a person wouldn’t want to see our nation’s president move to erase vast swaths of student loan debt, unburdenin­g a great number of people who have been struggling to get on with their lives because of the difficulti­es caused by their loans?

A hidebound conservati­ve who is completely heartless and uncaring.

That’s one answer.

But there are others. Here’s one: President Joe Biden, who repeatedly said he lacked the authority to make such a move on his own. And another: former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who is no one’s idea of a conservati­ve. She, too, argued that the president couldn’t simply act on his own, without congressio­nal authorizat­ion.

On Tuesday, it seemed that there are likely some others who’ll be happy to board that train: a good many members of the U.S. Supreme Court, who appeared quite skeptical during oral arguments in a case concerning the president’s decision to erase the loans of some 40 million Americans.

Some, of course, will be quick to suggest that the current Supreme Court, with conservati­ves outnumberi­ng the liberals, 6-3, would not be likely to care much about the travails of those burdened with student loans. But the case is ultimately about executive overreach and the separation of powers that stands at the heart of our government.

Think of it like this: If Biden, on his own, can sign such a sweeping executive order, what would stop some future chief executive — a President Ron Desantis, say — from deciding to act unilateral­ly on one thing or another?

One might rationally argue that nothing would stop him. Sure, he’d perhaps first need to declare a national emergency, but that’s gotten pretty easy to do in our era.

We are a nation of laws, with the legislativ­e and executive branches of the federal government having circumscri­bed powers. Presidents from both political parties have long sought to flex their muscles, sometimes acting as though the Congress is merely an afterthoug­ht.

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