Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Non-partisan law enforcement: Is it possible? Some will argue No, it is not possible since whenever you have people involved in anything it inevitably becomes partisan. Act 2 takes a strong exception to that point of view. Here’s why.
When the American federal government structure was created in 1787, an effort was made to distribute power among competing groups: federal vs the states, and among the three branches at the federal level. But there is no record of an attempt to create a non-partisan unit within that government. At the time, political parties did not exist and no one foresaw how they would evolve in the future. But the founders (notably Madison) gave us ample warning of the dangers we would face from human failings.
Those warnings have proven prescient: today our system is characterized by extremely strong partisanship and a highly visible thirst for power by the political party leaders. And it has exposed a serious flaw in the Constitution: it assigns the responsibility for enforcement of the law to the president (our chief law enforcement officer, the Attorney General, is appointed by and reports to the president as a member of the president’s cabinet).
Consequently, we have a system with an inherent conflict of interest: the president
must enforce the law against his own office and all of his cabinet, staff and
executive branch bureaucrats.
It is no surprise that such action is exceedingly rare, so the law is routinely enforced against the public but rarely, if ever, against federal officials. This organizational flaw has proven to be important, as federal officials may ignore the law with little risk, knowing that their president “has their back.”
When the states wrote their own constitutions, 45 of them largely avoided this conflict of interest by providing for the election of their attorneys general. In only five cases does the governor appoint the state AG.
The Act 2 reforms deal with this problem. They might have provided that the U.S. Attorney General be elected instead of appointed, but instead came up with what in our opinion is a better solution. Act 2 creates a non-partisan organizational unit (the States’ Compact) that is under the jurisdiction and management of the states, and assigns it the responsibility for enforcement of the law against government officials. And, having done this, we then have a non-partisan organizational unit available for other important purposes, such as providing a home for sensitive federal departments and agencies that should be protected from partisan meddling by the president or members of Congress.
But you may ask how will Act 2 prevent this new unit from morphing into a partisan group? It starts with the selection of a political centrist as the leader of the new unit. Organizations tend to adapt to the style of their leader, following his/her philosophy and performance goals. Our new unit will soon institutionalize into a functioning non-partisan group, with the major political parties monitoring every enforcement action it undertakes to ensure it does not stray into partisanship.
The new States’ Compact will soon become the flywheel that stabilizes our federal government, and it will continue to improve government operations over time. Its
impact will be surprising, even astonishing, in the breadth of its impact.