“Rex Non Potest Pecarre”: The King Can Do No Wrong
Dost there exist any limit to the power of a person who dareth claim absolute power unto himself? If so, where doth the boastful claim lie if not in the arrogance of one’s moral perfection?
In England, during the Middle Ages, Monarchs did indeed wield absolute power over the conduct and, in fact, over the very lives of the populace – the subjects – in their realm. But, apart from the actual ability to wield absolute control over the lives of the denizens of the realm and to craft laws in whatever manner the Monarch wished, a question arose as to the legitimacy of a Monarch’s executive decrees and actions.
In the Eighteenth Century, an English jurist, William Blackstone, developed a rationale for the legitimacy of a Monarch’s absolute power, going so far as to say that the King not only is incapable of doing wrong, but is incapable of even thinking that he can do wrong. In essence this means that subjects of the realm have no redress in law for alleged wrongs. Another way of saying this is that the King has absolute immunity. But, why is that? For this reason: the subjects of the realm have no redress, and, what is more, the King’s subjects have no need of redress. They have no redress because the idea that redress is necessary presumes the King could do wrong and, in fact, has committed a wrong for which redress is required. But, since the King cannot do wrong, no wrong has been committed by him that would require redress. If a subject of the realm dared claim the King committed a wrong, the King had absolute immunity anyway. And, woe to that person who would claim the King wronged him.
What does this have to do with us, the American people, at the present time? One would think, nothing. After all, our system of government is referred to as a Free Republic, not an Absolute Monarchy, and it is predicated on a system of checks and balances.
Overreach: Governance By A Personal Notion Of What Is Right?
In a Free Republic, unlike an Absolute Monarchy, the maxim, “the King can do no wrong,” is an anathema. To negate any possibility of our government resembling the English Monarchic system — where legislative, executive, and judicial functions were concentrated in one person, the King — the founders of our Republic created a tripartite, or three Branch system. The powers of each Branch of our Government were carefully demarcated and delineated. Law-making functions, executive functions, and judicial functions would not and could not be concentrated in any one individual or group of individuals. Let us consider the above commentary in light of America’s present situation.
We see in the actions of the present U.S. President, Barack Obama, and in one of the candidates for U.S President, namely and especially, Hillary Rodham Clinton, an insidious attempt to slither around the notion that America still has and, indeed, ought to continue to have, a representative form of government where executive functions, legislative functions, and judicial functions reside in three separate but co-equal bodies.
What specifically is most disturbing about Barack Obama’s governance is his claim to act in accordance with his personal notions of what is right. Through issuance of executive orders Obama has essentially rewritten Congressional immigration and firearms legislation.
The President’s actions amount to executive overreach of the most ambitious and disturbing and egregious sort, and these illegal actions stem from Obama’s arrogant belief in his own moral superiority. How often has Obama said that he will act if Congress does not and that he does so when he feels that it is the morally right thing to do. Do not Obama’s words entail that the failure of Congress to act means that Congress is immoral? Obama is extremely presumptuous; he is disrespectful of our three Branch system of Government; and he is contemptuous of Congress.
One’s infatuation with one’s moral superiority is extremely dangerous when one can exert control over others. One’s feelings of grandiosity is the basis for executive overreach, and suggests that one suffers from megalomania.
Obama deceptively claims he is not making law, only implementing law that Congress has itself made. In so saying Obama would have the American people believe that his immigration orders are not an unlawful encroachment on the singular authority of Congress “to establish an uniform rule of naturalization” under Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. And Obama would have the American people believe that his recent executive directives that, in pertinent part, redefine what it means “to be in the business of selling firearms,” are neither an unlawful constraint and infringement on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” under the Second Amendment of the Constitution, nor an unlawful encroachment on the authority – the sole authority – of Congress “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof,” under Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.” Obama is fooling no one.
Now, Obama adamantly maintains that his executive directives on both immigration and firearms’ regulations do not involve the making of law but consist only in acting within the authority granted to a U.S. President, under Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution that says, the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But the assertion is no more than a platitude. For, Obama has also been heard to assert or strongly suggest on numerous occasions that, “if Congress doesn’t act, I will.” This is tantamount to saying, “I am the King” and “legislative power to make the law, amend the law, or to ignore the law, as well as the power to execute the law reside, alone, in me.” Obama often punctuates his edicts with the claim that, “when Congress doesn’t act, I will when it is the right thing to do.” This latter remark harks back to the English doctrine of the notion that “the King can do no wrong,” which is to say that the King is the holder of absolute moral authority and absolute legal authority.
Many commentators have said that Obama’s misuse of executive orders amount to “executive overreach.” But, in truth, Obama’s directives go beyond mere “executive overreach.” Obama’s executive directives and actions do much, much more. His actions erode the public’s confidence in the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution and diminish the public’s trust in the continued well-being and efficacy of a free Republic.
This brings us to the matter of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s push to claim the mantle of “Queen of the Commonwealth of America.” There is much to be said about Clinton’s past and present actions to cast substantial doubt on her character to adequately and diligently represent this Nation. But, one episode is so damning that it taints the very Office of President should Clinton gain entry to it.
Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct sensitive government business transcends the bounds of propriety and descends into conduct that, if not facially criminal, certainly calls into question her ability and willingness to conduct the Nation’s business in the best interests of the Nation’s citizenry, consistent with and respectful of the Country’s Constitution and the Country’s institutions.
If the Director of the FBI, James Comey, fails to recommend that criminal charges be brought against Clinton, this may involve placing political considerations and concerns above legal ones. For, imagine what occurs if Comey does recommend criminal charges against Clinton. Loretta Lynch, Attorney General, must decide whether to indict Clinton. How would she act? Would she not consult with the President? If so, what Would President Obama have her do? Would not the President be obliged to allow the Attorney General to bring criminal charges against Hillary Clinton and to prosecute Clinton zealously, in the interests of justice, in accordance with the maxim that no American citizen – even the rich and powerful – is above the law?
Obviously, Clinton would have to bow out of the race if she were indicted on criminal charges. But, whether or not criminal charges are ultimately brought against Hillary Clinton, that is beside the point. The mere perception of serious wrongdoing on her part – and there is much of that – should be sufficient grounds for her to bow out of the race for U.S. President. And Clinton would bow out if she were a person of integrity whose salient concern was the well-being of the Nation and the American people. Sadly, she is not a person of integrity.
A person with integrity would think more about the well-being of the Nation, its laws, its system of Government, its people, and less about satisfying his or her sense of self-aggrandizement. But, then, Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t one of those people.
Clinton cares not one whit what the American people really think about her. She is disdainful of everyone. Even those who would vote for her do so, oddly enough, even when acknowledging that Clinton utterly lacks integrity, honesty, and sincerity – three endearing qualities existing in any person of honor and certainly qualities an American would and should expect in the U.S. President. Those qualities, though, aren’t part of Hillary Clinton’s make-up. Those qualities are not part of her nature. But, then, why should they be? To anyone who might be heard to complain, Clinton would likely say, as she has said dismissively and even derisively to those who challenged her handling of the Benghazi incident: “What difference does it make?” Indeed! What difference can it make to one in whose bosom lies absolute moral authority? After all, “The Queen can do no wrong!”Copyright © 2015 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.