Revisiting the Rule of Law and Legal and Constitutional Norms
When my book Lawless: The Obama Administration’s Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law was published, one criticism I faced was that my conception of what violates the rule of law was overbroad. In particular, I asserted that some actions the Obama undertook undermined the rule of law, even though the administration’s actions were not clearly illegal when undertaken and the administration obeyed judicial rulings when they went against the administration. How, questioned critics (almost always Obama supporters), could the Obama administration be accused of undermining the rule of law under those circumstances?
I don’t want to revisit examples from the book, but rather to return to the broader question: Can a president and his administration undermine the rule of law while not doing anything clearly illegal and obeying judicial rulings that run contrary to its policies? This may have been difficult for Obama supporters to see at the time, but I think they would acknowledge that the Trump administration, especially Trump hims
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