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View Diary: ALERT: GOP Bill to Suspend Laws IS MOVING! (211 comments)

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  •  It's quite extraordinary (none)
    Congress often delegates authority to executive agencies, almost always to make (and enforce) rules that implement specific legislation. For example, Congress wrote the Clean Air Act, then delegated its implementation to the EPA. The EPA, in turn, has written regulations that describe various pollutants, limit their emissions, impose fines for violations, etc.

    Congress sometimes says that a particular statute should apply "notwithstanding any other provision of federal law", meaning, basically, "Do this, irrespective of what we've said before".

    Congress has seldom (if ever - though FEMA in a national emergency may be an exception) given an executive official (in this case, the Secretary of Homeland Security) the authority to suspend the operation of law at his sole discretion, never mind any law (including, apparently, state law), and never mind the authority to do so without any judicial review. This is simply not done. And it's not done because unreviewable power to suspend the law is the concentration of legislative, executive, and judicial authority in a single hand. Jefferson, in Notes on the State of Virginia, called such concentration "precisely the definition of despotic government".

    It's that extraordinary.

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