“Enforce the Law,” But Only if it Doesn’t Violate the Constitution

“Enforce the Law,” But Only if it Doesn’t Violate the Constitution

September 12, 2019

We recently released a report showing that our Second Amendment president has actually ramped up enforcement of unconstitutional federal gun laws when you compare him to gun-grabbing President Obama during his last year in office Well, we got a lot of hate mail for that one. Of course, a lot of it was just silly. Typing, “That’s B.S.,” in all caps isn’t really an argument. But several people brought up something more substantive saying the president has to enforce the law no matter what. One guy said if the president starts picking and choosing which laws to enforce, it will “break the system.” Now look – considering virtually everything the federal government does is unconstitutional, the system is already broken. A president refusing to enforce an unconstitutional act isn’t going to break it any worse. Here’s the thing. As Alexander Hamilton said, an unconstitutional act is void. That means it’s of no force. If a president does enforce an act, he’s violating his own oath of office. Now, a lot of people will say, “Mike, a law is constitutional until a court says otherwise.” Well, Thomas Jefferson disagrees with you. He said every branch of the government is responsible for determining the constitutionality of an act and acting acting on it accordingly. James Madison, George Washington and many other founding-era figures made similar arguments. Andrew Jackson probably put it most clearly. “The Congress, the Executive and the Court must each for itself be guided by its own opinion of the Constitution. Each public officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others.” So no. The president should not enforce every single law.

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