February 20, 2017

The Washington Examiner has a timely reminder for all those “deep state” bureaucrats who think they have the power to undermine President Trump and block his policies: there is no “fourth branch” of government. They are part of the executive branch below the elected President. He is their boss. Any attempts by them to place their will above that of the elected President (and by extension, the voters) is both inappropriate and unconstitutional. If they don’t like that arrangement, they are free to quit and run for office themselves.

The only point I’d disagree with is the Examiner editors’ attempt to compare rogue anti-Trump EPA officials with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. There are some major differences between the two. First, the EPA staffers just disagree with Trump’s policies; Davis believed that her First Amendment religious protections were being violated. But there was another issue: the SCOTUS created a right to same-sex marriage, but neither they nor the Kentucky legislature took any action to implement it. Normally, we have procedures for changing laws. Some judges may believe their gavels are wands, but waving them doesn’t magically change state laws or marriage license forms. Davis and other clerks were told to alter and certify legal forms with no state law to back them up. If there had been any issues later, the clerks would have been legally liable. She’d even asked the legislature to create new forms, but they’d failed to act. But all that was too complicated for most media outlets, so they just went with the tried-and-true “bigoted Christian conservative hates gay people” narrative.

And of course, one more big difference: when Kim Davis refused to implement a policy liberals backed, they didn’t just want her fired, they wanted her sent to jail and cheered when a judge actually did it. I assume they’ll be just as thrilled if Trump says, “You’re fired” to any Obama holdovers who try to launch a coup at the EPA.

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