Search This Blog

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Checks and Balances in Action

Madison in Federalist 51:

In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.

During the Obama years, Republican state officials sued to stop administration policies.  Democratic officials  have been doing the same since 2017.

 An editorial in The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, CO):

 Montana’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock hit the nail on the head with a tweet following a federal judge’s ruling Friday that William Perry Pendley has been serving unlawfully as the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management.

“Today’s ruling is a win for the Constitution, the rule of law, and our public lands,” Bullock wrote.


U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said Pendley has served as the acting director of the BLM unlawfully for 424 days without being confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate.

Pendley’s “ascent to Acting BLM Director did not follow any of the permissible paths set forth by the U.S. Constitution or the (Federal Vacancies Reform Act),” Morris wrote in his opinion. “Pendley has not been nominated by the President and has not been confirmed by the Senate to serve as BLM Director.”


“Under Federal Defendants’ theory, a President could ignore their constitutional appointment responsibility indefinitely and instead delegate authority directly or through Cabinet Secretaries to unconfirmed appointed officials. Such an arrangement could last for an entire presidential administration. In fact, the case before the Court presents that scenario.”

The administration’s theory “flies in the face of the constitutional design.”

An Interior spokesman told CNN the administration will appeal immediately. In the meantime, Morris gave both sides of the case 10 days to file briefs about which of Pendley’s order must be vacated.

We all intuitively know that someone exercising the power of BLM director without Senate confirmation doesn’t square with the law.

Witnessing in action the checks and balances design of our Constitution is a thing of beauty.