Presidential Power & Freedom

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 11.07 pm

Q. For the sake of more freedom and more liberty, when should a president take matters into his own hands or defer them to the states to decide (for example, the war on drugs or same-sex marriage)? – digginlikediglet, from tumblr.

A. The difficulty in answering this question is that it touches on a much larger issue of how much power the federal government in general and the executive branch in particular should have — and also the best way to approach change given how much power the federal government in general and the executive branch in particular do have at this time.

For now, however, I would say the President ought to stop enforcing laws which infringe on liberty. For instance, you mentioned the drug war. The President could tell the DEA to stop going after drug users regardless of what each state’s law dictates. He hasn’t, but he could, and that would make a big difference in ending the war on drugs without giving additional power to the presidency.

Posted in ,