In USA Today, Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds looks askance at people counseling Barack Obama to ignore the Supreme Court if it rules against Obamacare subsidies in King v. Burwell or against his immigration actions.
…if Obama were to violate a high court decision, he wouldn't be the first president to do so. President Andrew Jackson, after all, ignored the justices' decision in favor of the Cherokee Nation in Worcester v. Georgia and sent the Cherokees on the Trail of Tears. His picture is on the $20 bill today, and although there's now a move to replace him, it's motivated more by a desire to have a woman on U.S. currency than by any disgust over Jackson's lawlessness….
Of course, it's not simply Obama who skirts the laws he would impose on others. As Reynolds points out, all too often, people at all levels of government abrogate all sorts of procedures and processes when it's convenient. That creates a corrosive, cynical situation, says Reynolds:
First, they must generally approve of the law: Maybe not of every individual provision, but they have to believe that, in general, the laws are just rather than unfair. Second, they have to feel reasonably confident that most others will obey the law, too: People like to feel like good citizens, but they don't like to feel like suckers. Finally, they have to feel as if the people in charge also respect the law. Examples are set at the top, and if the government treats unwelcome laws as unworthy of respect, you can expect the populace to feel the same way.
That way madness and lawlessness lie (lay?).
In his great Historical Baseball Abstract, philosopher and occasional sportswriter Bill James put it this way in a discussion of "blocking the plate," a time-honored but technically illegal tactic used by catchers (see page 216):
So it is, Bill James, so it is.