Politics Hoping to Become Law

“I believe this bill is unwise and ill-crafted.  In purist terms, I would unhesitatingly recommend that you oppose S. [xxxx].  However, the bill reflects an enormously popular and bipartisan concept of extending enforceable legal rights to [xxxx].  Therefore, as a legal matter, I recommend that you vote no, but as a political matter, I am constrained to acknowledge the prudence of a yes vote, whereupon you may entrust the multiple flaws of the bill to the House version and ultimate conference.” 

That was my concluding paragraph in a lengthy memorandum to Senator Fitzgerald as to one of the many issues I was obliged to analyze.

It illustrates the tensions at the intersection of law and politics.  Members of Congress routinely play a guessing game, and not uncommonly, hope that the dictates of politics do not in fact become law.

Alternatively, law would always trump politics, and I was a whore to consider the political dimension.

But that presumes that I understood both Law and Politics so thoroughly that I could discern with certainty the proper hierarchy in their competing claims.  That magnitude of presumption was not available to me.


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