COMMENTARY: The Rule of Law

White House hypocrisy over the oath of office

As I woite this Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis sat in jail for contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and that’s where she should be. By the time this was published she had been released. 

My opinion about the fate of Ms. Davis has nothing to do with gay marriage; if she opposes it as do many Americans, she’s perfectly within her rights to do so.  However, I’m sure she took an oath of office and that means she does not represent her personal views when she is on the job, she represents the government and although this may come as a shock to many government officials, it is especially important that they obey the laws and honor their oaths.

This is America; Davis is free to resign and/or fight for her political and/or religious views in a legal manner on her own time without fear – or at least she can do so until another Lois Lerner comes along. And that is exactly what Ms. Davis should have done, rather than defying the law from an official position.

She will have her five minutes of fame, but it’s a tempest in a teapot; far greater damage has been done to the cause of justice by the hypocritical statement from the White House that has tolerated, even encouraged, official lawbreakers for liberal causes and votes, especially regarding the harboring of illegal immigrants with criminal records. 

The Davis story had little interest for me until I read the following White House statement: “There's a rule of law and the principle of the rule of law is central to our democracy.”

So, where is President Obama on so-called sanctuary cities that routinely fail to cooperate, and on many occasions actually thwart, federal authorities in enforcing the nation’s immigration laws regarding criminal activity?  The answer is, nowhere. As with many politicians, the administration’s morals are situational in spite of the oath of office; "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section 3, Article II of the Constitution of the United States, mandates that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”  Any honest evaluation must conclude that the President has not even attempted to force compliance with the current laws on criminal illegal immigrants, rather he used his office to bypass and negate those laws en masse thereby encouraging sympathetic officials at all levels of government to do the same.

When the Federal government is serious about enforcing a law they have all sorts of leverage short of the courts that they can use to coerce compliance and they have not been shy about using them. They can withhold funds and cooperation on all sorts of programs; however, you will not find a case where this applies to non-cooperation on illegal immigrants with repeated criminal records. 

In my opinion, immigrant populations, be they legal or illegal, do not want criminals in their midst any more than the rest of the nation for the very good reason that they usually victimize those of their own ethnicity first and worse. In response to recent horrific incidents involving alien career criminals, the LAPD picked up more than 220 criminal immigrants in only a day or two, but that is just a token to dampen public anger. They could probably do the same every month if not every week. Failing to enforce the law allows these criminals to self-select illegal immigration as often as they like.

Getting tough on governments that refuse to enforce federal law would show that that the administration does not intend to just throw open America’s borders, merely saying that local government won’t cooperate is not a satisfactory answer – in fact it’s a cowardly cop-out.

What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. The status of Illegal immigrants with criminal records are not an argument about jaywalking, it’s an important issue. President Obama should do exactly what Kim Davis should have done – see the laws are faithfully executed while stating his dissatisfaction or resign and make his case as a private citizen. If not, a jail cell the same size as hers would be appropriate.

It won’t happen, but it certainly should, after all, as a recent presidential message to the nation said, “There's a rule of law and the principle of the rule of law is central to our democracy.” I could not agree more.

(Author’s note: My commentary was written 9/4/2015, prior to publication of similar sentiments on Ms. Davis’ choices by nationally syndicated columnist, George Will. Similarities are coincidental.) 

Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.