Letters to the Editor

When does exercising presidential powers cross the line?

It would seem as though our new glorious leader, Donald Trump, believes that “If I do it, it’s legal. If I say it, it’s true.” Fine. Let’s take this to its logical extreme. If a sitting president suspended the Bill of Rights for the duration of a self-declared emergency, would that be legal? If a president were to direct government offices to enforce policies directly opposed to our Constitution and law, would he or she be within his rights? The office of the president has unique and broad reaching powers. At what point, though, does exercising those powers cross the line?

Our government is separated into three branches for a reason: to limit the opportunities for tyranny and corruption. No branch has authority over any other branch or the offices under those branches. Can the head of a branch order an office under his/her authority, or any other office, to act in a manner directly opposed to the rule of law? The rule of law is the very foundation of everything that we hold dear. If we condone actions that contravene that, once we submit to giving up the rule of law for convenience, are we any better than the lawless? Didn’t Benjamin Franklin once say that “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”?

There must be a line that cannot be crossed by even the most powerful! Power without limits is beloved by despots throughout all time.

J.L. Hickman, Fairview Heights

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