Politics Hoping to Become Law
July 26, 2010 Leave a comment
“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.