Thursday, July 21, 2016

Morgan Griffith on Separation of Powers (with Editorial Comment)

Remember fifth grade social studies? "The separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government is part of a system of checks and balances that our nation's founders designed to prevent dictatorship..." Or maybe your teacher didn't get into U.S. history because s/he felt obliged to stick to a textbook that discussed general news issues. That was the educational fad in the early 1970s--teaching somebody's summary of news issues instead of history and geography--promoted by the same general type of educationists who are refusing to admit that Common Core failed. (Click on "Common Core" to open a link to a page where you can tell the U.S. Department of Education why Common Core is a boondoggle.)

I salute the memory of my fifth grade social studies teacher, whose real name was Mrs. Snodgrass, who did eventually get around to making sure we used those textbooks for something besides hitting each other (they were the heaviest books issued in middle school), but not until we'd all learned a basic outline of U.S. history. She mimeographed fruity-smelling purple worksheets and had us fill in blanks with the information that would be on the test. I'm guessing the cost of mimeographing came out of her pocket. She was a Democrat, a card-carrying union member, and neither as stupid or as unpatriotic as too many Democrats and union members seem to be these days. If anyone who finished grade five in Gate City didn't learn all the states, their capitals, the rough sequence of their admission to the Union, where they are on the map, and what's in the Constitution and why, it's no fault of hers. We learned about the system of checks and balances.

President Obama is about my age, but he wasn't blessed with Mrs. Snodgrass. He often acts as if his teacher bogged down in that textbook. As Presidents after the one we elect in November are likely to belong to our generation or younger ones, testing them on U.S. history and government may be an important way to screen out other politicians whose history teachers bogged down in overpriced textbooks, or computer systems, or similar educational fads and boondoggles.

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

Restoring the Separation of Powers
On July 12 and with my support, the House of Representatives passed the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (H.R. 4768), which would overturn a Supreme Court decision that has added to confusion in the courts, Congress, the legal bar, and legal academia regarding whether, when, and how courts should defer to federal agencies’ interpretations of the statutes they administer. Named after the case (Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.), this practice is known as “Chevron deference” or “administrative deference.” In the Chevron case, the Supreme Court acknowledged that Congress could change these rules of deference if we so wished. I am glad we finally voted to do so.
It is high time we fight to defend the legislative prerogative from our government’s overreaching Executive branch. Protecting the authority of the legislature has long been a priority of mine, and I am pleased to be involved in the House Republican initiative to curtail executive overreach, impose new limits on spending, and restore self-government and the separation of powers.
I applaud House passage of the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, and strongly encourage our colleagues in the Senate to join us in taking action to defend the Constitution and rein in administrative overreach.