Posted by Jack
Since March, governors throughout the country have asserted a near limitless authority to control almost every aspect of our lives under broad legislative grants of power; however, they are not implementing the law when they pronounce new rules. Instead, they are trying to make law. For example, in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has invoked a provision of the Emergency Services Act, entitled “Complete Authority of the Governor.” It says that the governor has “the right to exercise … all police power vested in the state” during an emergency. Of course, in conferring such broad powers, the legislature has not established any real policy or principle. This language is simply a grant of power to make law on whatever subject — and in whatever manner — the governor sees fit.
This is problematic. If the legislature has failed to cabin the governor’s discretion, then he is a one-man legislature. We might say, without hyperbole, that he is a regulatory czar. Indeed, an “autocrat” is defined as a person with unlimited rulemaking powers.
But the Founding Fathers unequivocally rejected autocracy in giving us a written Constitution that limits and divides power. They understood the inherent danger in vesting any one man with too great of power. As James Madison pointed out, the concentration of all power in one branch of government is “the very definition of tyranny.”