Editorial: A lawless Nation

Kelli Ann Cox, Publisher, and Eric Yollick, Editor-in-Chief, The Golden Hammer

The United States rapidly has descended into a lawless Nation.

The example of evictions in Montgomery County, Texas, may be one of the best. Under Texas law, a renter who fails to pay rent may find himself the subject of an eviction proceeding to force him to vacate possession of the property where he’s failed to pay the rent due. The Texas Property Code governs those situations.

Under President Joe Biden, however, federal law has somehow trumped state laws regarding evictions. Under Biden’s January 31, 2021, executive order, federal agencies holding federally-backed mortgages may urge or require landlords not to evict. As a result, the federal government has provided “rental assistance” to subsidize the mortgages of those landlords made the subject of Biden’s eviction moratorium.

In Montgomery County, Texas, however, many of the Justices of the Peace, who hear those eviction cases, after consultation with the Montgomery County Attorney, have determined that federal law simply cannot trump a valid state law in that manner. As a result, many of the Justices of the Peace continue to hear eviction cases, although it’s unclear whether County Court at Law Number Two Judge Claudia Laird, to whom renters many appeal their evictions, will follow the same procedure.

In other words, local judges find themselves in the uncomfortable position of disavowing a so-called “order” of the Nation’s Chief Magistrate. There is a very good argument that that Chief Magistrate is the one who is not following the law in the Constitution. But either way your opinion lands, what is clear is that this legal decision, which should be in the province of the legislative branch of government, the branch closest to the people, has become a political issue which courts must determine instead.

Last year, the United States Supreme Court in Bostock versus Clayton County, Georgia, that sexual orientation and gender preference are among the protected classes of people which Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers. The legislative history of the Civil Rights Act as well as Congress’ approach to the failed Equal Rights Amendment both strongly suggest that the Supreme Court simply pulled law out of the thin air in their legal ruling. Similarly, in Obergefell versus Hodges, in 2015, the Supreme Court seemed to legislate a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

To the United States Supreme Court, historical posterity seems to have prevailed over the law. We have become a nation of men, not a nation of laws. In fact, there are many instances in which federal and state courts now view the United States Constitution as a “living document” which breathes new life and different interpretations of the law, whenever social norms have moved to those spots.

Such an approach, in which the law become mutable according to prevailing social popularity, is the definition of lawlessness. There is no difference between those decisions of the Supreme Court or Biden’s executive order trumping state property laws regarding evictions and a mob with pitchforks and shovels ready to hang an unpopular criminal accused.

The China Virus mandates, which were clear violations of the Constitution’s Separation of Powers Doctrine, are no different. Neither County Judges, such as Harris County’s Lina Hidalgo or Montgomery County’s Mark Keough, nor Texas Governor Greg Abbott had any right whatsoever to shut down businesses, destroy jobs, close down churches, require people to stay at home, or order the wearing of masks. Those actions were the most blatant civil rights violations of our lifetime, but we sheepishly looked the other way, as Hidalgo, Keough, and Abbott blatantly violated the most fundamental principles of the American and Texas Bills of Rights.

We have become lawless. Who’s to blame? All of us for putting up with it.

 

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