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RICH LOWRY: No one cares about Joe Biden’s lawlessness

President Joe Biden has, once more, claimed to find astonishingly wide-ranging authority to forgive student loans hiding in minute places deep in the federal code.

Biden has already been rebuked for this practice by the Supreme Court, yet he remains undeterred. He’s not going to let niggling concerns about the legality of a new half-trillion-dollar program get in the way of an important, substantive and political goal.

This is executive willfulness unhinged from any commitment to abide by the law or the will of Congress. It is a trespass against our constitutional order. And yet, there’s not a peep from the same people who think democracy and the rule of law are teetering on the brink of collapse — indeed, might be extinguished — if the 2024 presidential election goes the wrong way.

The threat of Donald Trump has done nothing to convince the left that — to show its sincerity about protecting democracy and the rule of law, to avoid creating precedents that can be exploited by Trump, to reinforce norms that protect our system — it should abide by elementary constraints that once were taken for granted.

Trump’s enemies invite us to expand our imagination about what abuses of power he might visit upon us if he wins again. But when it comes to executive power, it doesn’t require much imagination. What might he do? He might do this, exactly the sort of stretching of the law that Biden has serially engaged in when it comes to student loans (and that Trump himself engaged in regarding the funding of the border wall).

If you’re worried about Trump’s executive abuses, the last thing you should want to do is give him warrant to say: “The other side does it, too. Remember that time they tried to spend $475 billion without congressional authorization or justification in the law?”

This never occurs to Trump’s enemies on the left, though, because they don’t care about process or the law. If they did, they’d care about Biden violating it as much as Trump. If you think lawlessness is good or bad depending on who’s engaging in it or whether it advances something you support, you aren’t a defender of our system; you are simply the other side of the coin of a threat to it.

The Biden exercise on student loans is laughable on its face. Scrounging around in the federal code to try to come up with a couple of words that — in a way no one had ever noticed before, including the people in Congress who wrote them — supposedly authorize a massive student-debt-forgiveness program is an inherent abuse.

The fundamental legal question is whether, as the Supreme Court famously put it once, elephants can be found in mouseholes. Whether, in other words, a regulatory scheme can be changed in a consequential way by a vague or ancillary clause here or there. After the Supreme Court said there’s no elephant in the mousehole of the HEROES Act, which supposedly authorized the first attempt at debt forgiveness, the Biden administration is arguing that one can be found in some mouseholes in the Higher Education Act.

But there are no elephants, just a president who thinks that, if the cause is politically expedient and righteous, he can make new laws without having to bother with Congress. Faithfulness to our system should begin with faithfulness to our system, but for the progressives, becoming sticklers about the process and the law will have to wait until Trump is president again.

Rich Lowry is on Twitter @RichLowry.

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LETTER: Library officials get Super Bowl tickets

At minimum, the library board needs to recover the cost of each ticket from their salaries, and both men need to issue a formal public apology, I would think.