The Supreme Court justices might be forgiven for having a feeling of déjà vu. For the third time, the justices had to deal with a case in which the president was given power by Congress and then challenged because he used that power. First, it was the travel ban. Then it was the president’s national emergency declaration in order to build the wall. Finally, it was the oral arguments about whether a citizenship question could be put in the 2020 census.
All three of these cases have a number of things in common. The Constitution grants certain powers to Congress. Congress delegates those powers to the president. Then President Trump uses those powers in a way that Democrats don’t like and a federal court case ensues.
You probably have already thought of a solution to this ongoing problem. Congress should stop delegating their power to the president. I will deal with that topic in my next commentary. But you might wonder why Congress keeps doing this. Here’s a secret that few political commentators mention. When the leader of your party is in power, you don’t have a problem when he uses that power. But as soon as someone of the other party (especially if it is Donald Trump) gets into power, you go crazy.
This case before the Supreme Court should be fairly simple. Congress delegated to the Secretary of Commerce the power to determine the “form and content” of the census. You may not like what he decided, but that’s what the law stipulated decades ago.
David French, in a recent commentary, says here is where you see the biggest “contrast between progressive and conservative approaches to jurisprudence.” The liberal progressive sees the problem and “demands that the Court fix the problem. The conservative looks at the same pattern and says, ‘If you don’t like the law, change it.’”
Congress has had numerous opportunities to change the law, and they did not. Therefore, I predict that at least the five conservative justices on the court will rule in favor of the Trump administration.