President Obama’s penchant for changing sections of laws that aren’t quite working for him or pretty much ignoring laws altogether got me thinking.
I attended law school and practiced law for many years. During that time, I learned how to read statutes, regulations, and case law. As an attorney, when my position didn’t look all that great, I’d dig into the Congressional Record and try to find some legislative intent that worked in my favor. It could all get rather tedious. That’s why they paid me the big bucks.
With President Obama essentially winging it when it comes to enforcing laws, I wonder if we’re about to see a dramatic shift in how laws are written and enforced in the future.
For one thing, new laws themselves are likely to get much shorter. Recently, the trend seems to be for Congress to pass monstrous “comprehensive” bills that are 1,000 pages minimum and that no one even bothers reading before they’re enacted. From a presentation perspective, it’s truly impressive. When every law passed is longer than War and Peace, you just get the feeling that those elected officials on Capitol Hill are really working hard for you.
Recently, though, it’s becoming increasingly evident that those lengthy laws are just for show. So if the president is going to ignore or change various provisions of laws anyway, then why waste all that paper? (I’m surprised the environmental lobby hasn’t already been complaining about this).
Given this, instead of laws, why doesn’t Congress simply pass suggestions? For example, rather than waste countless hours and taxpayer money holding hearings and debating and drafting legislation only to just end up fighting and bickering with one another over immigration reform, why not just send the president a note from Congress that reads, “We need you to do something about immigration.”
Afterwards, the president can just go on and do what he was going to do anyway whether they’d written some ridiculously long law or not.
Doesn’t that make more sense?
In fact, doing it this way, they might actually get a lot more done because it’s much easier to send suggestions to the president’s desk than spend so much time on making laws which might not even pass anyway.
Granted, the president is likely to implement these suggestions in all kinds of ways we the people will absolutely hate, but he seems to be doing that anyway, so I doubt we’d really notice much difference.
I think the biggest challenge would fall on attorneys. We’re so used to sitting and mulling over what a certain word or phrase in a law is supposed to mean that I’m not sure what we’d do if nothing was really written down to begin with. Then again, I don’t know which is worse—not having anything to go by or having something in writing that’s simply blatantly ignored.
Lots of people dislike lawyers. There are thousands of lawyer jokes out there none of which put lawyers in a good light. Perhaps this new trend could spell the end of the legal profession altogether.
Maybe this has been President Obama’s hidden agenda all along—ridding the world of those pesky lawyers. While somewhat farfetched, it seems like a plausible excuse for a president bent on running roughshod over Congress and the Constitution.