Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 91 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/28/19

Trump's Supreme Court overturns Magna Carta (1215) and Montesquieu (1748) for Sultan Donald John

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   4 comments
Message Juan Cole
Become a Fan
  (4 fans)

From Informed Comment

(Image by You Tube Screenshot)   Details   DMCA

The US Supreme Court on Friday, by a 5-4 Republican Party majority, temporarily ruled to allow Trump to divert monies dedicated by Congress to the Defense Department budget to wall-building in the Southwest.

If the court makes the ruling permanent, it will be attacking the principle of the "power of the purse," the investment of authority over taxation and budget in parliament, which began with the Magna Carta [the Great Charter] in 1215. King John, the worst king in British history, tried to impose arbitrary taxes on the barons to fund his ruinous wars, and they rebelled and took London, forcing him to negotiate. It was settled that he couldn't raise taxes unilaterally by decree.

In essence, Trump (who is the worst president in US history and appropriately has "John" as his middle name) has taxed all of us against our will to fund his wall-building, since our elected parliamentary body did not designate funds for that purpose. The Supreme Court just sided with King John, overturning a key principle of the Magna Carta, the wellspring of democracy for 800 years.

The British Library: "What is Magna Carta?"

There was further incremental evolution in this relationship. The 1688 Glorious Revolution ended the king's ability to borrow money privately yet have the public be responsible for it. These developments inspired the Founding Fathers.

The World Bank explains,

    "By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the United States Congress already constrained executive discretion through detailed line item appropriations that prescribed the exact use of authorized expenditures, for instance by setting strict limits on specific expenses such as firewood and candles in particular offices. This tradition has its origins in colonial times, when legislatures were distrustful of British rule and invested much effort in scrutinizing administrative expenditures."

This is the sort of incremental achievement of democratic limits on the executive that the Supreme Court just shat upon.

The other principle that the Court just attacked is the separation of powers, a principle theorized by Charles de Montesquieu in his 1748 "Spirit of the Laws," which was a key influence on the framers of the US Constitution.

Montesquieu wrote,

    "In every government there are three sorts of power; the legislative; the executive, in respect to things dependent on the law of nations; and the executive, in regard to things that depend on the civil law.

    "By virtue of the first, the prince or magistrate enacts temporary or perpetual laws, and amends or abrogates those that have been already enacted. By the second, he makes peace or war, sends or receives embassies; establishes the public security, and provides against invasions. By the third, he punishes criminals, or determines the disputes that arise between individuals. The latter we shall call the judiciary power, and the other simply the executive power of the state.

    "The political liberty of the subject is a tranquility of mind, arising from the opinion each person has of his safety. In order to have this liberty, it is requisite the government be so constituted as one man need not be afraid of another.

    "When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.

    Again, there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with all the violence of an oppressor.

    Next Page  1  |  2

    (Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 3   Well Said 3   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Juan Cole Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Rupert Murdoch's Fox postpones Pirro, as his Sky Channel is Pulled from NZ Airwaves for airing Shooter's Video

Clouds of War: Russia sends Warships as Turkey kills 45 Syrian Troops and blackmails Europe with Migration

India Doubles Iran Oil Imports: Are Trump's Sanctions Cratering?

Who's Running John Bolton to Start a war with Iran? He worried even Mad Dog Mattis

Top 5 Mistakes GOP's Wohl Made in allegedly framing Mueller for Sex Charges

Trump hands Oil & Gas to Syria & Russia as he claims "We've taken control of the oil in the Middle East"

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend