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Mike Lee's Quandary
Senator Mike Lee, from Utah, has been a stalwart in the small nucleus of conservatives in the Senate. Along with Ted Cruz, his pre-politics background consists mostly of being a constitutional lawyer, in the service of the Antonin Scalia faction of 'originalists.' He believes in the actual text of the Constitution, as written by the founding fathers, and has been unerring in his support of it. That is what makes his recent vote for the Senate resolution that opposes the President's decision to declare an emergency on the border so interesting.
It highlights how close the call will be, when the Supreme Court finally decides it. Lee and Cruz have practically never differed on interpretations of the Constitution, and I'm betting that they weren't far apart on this one. I have no doubt that he considers the border crisis to be an existential threat to the security of the country, but that his loyalty to the constitution exceeds his fear of Congressional impotency.
I'm betting that Cruz has balanced the duty of a president to protect the people with the definition of the word 'emergency,' not all that much different from what Lincoln did, when he ignored the Constitution to disallow secession. Cruz is a Senator from a border state and understands the problems better than most, and he probably still has presidential aspirations.
Mike Lee, on the other hand, is a prime future candidate for the Supreme Court, and going against the President, who is the leader of his party, provides some clear evidence that his loyalties lie with the Constitution, and not a political party, or person.
I'm not mad at him about this, because I am almost certain that he would vote for any reasonable border laws that would get this crisis resolved in a constitutional way, and I would like to see him on the Supreme Court. I guess it doesn't matter, anyway, since the resolution had no 'teeth,' and the President has already vetoed it. It is up to the courts, now, because Congress will accomplish nothing, for the next two years.