For the last several years, Republicans have complained bitterly about President Obama's respect for the rule of law. Every time the president relies on executive actions to implement his policy agenda, GOP officials -- even at the highest levels -- lash out wildly, accusing Obama of overseeing a lawless, tyrannical presidency.
He ignores laws and court rulings he doesn't like, Republicans say. He's shredded the Constitution, the argument goes, en route to creating a dictatorship.
Indeed, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has helped lead the charge, telling Fox News last year that Obama has shown a flagrant disregard for the law and democratic norms. "The pattern we've seen under President Obama, disregarding the law, is really one of the most troubling aspects of this presidency," the far-right senator said. "When he disagrees with the law ... he simply refuses to comply with it."
The GOP apoplexy has never really made any sense, but as of yesterday, the complaints have taken an ironic twist. Politico reported:
Ted Cruz has some unsolicited advice for the states not specifically named in last week's Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage: Ignore it. "Those who are not parties to the suit are not bound by it," the Texas Republican told NPR News' Steve Inskeep in an interview published on Monday. Since only suits against the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky were specifically considered in the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which was handed down last Friday, Cruz -- a former Supreme Court clerk -- believes that other states with gay marriage bans need not comply, absent a judicial order.
"[O]n a great many issues, others have largely acquiesced, even if they were not parties to the case," the Republican presidential candidate added during the NPR appearance, "but there's no legal obligation to acquiesce to anything other than a court judgement."
It's quite a perspective coming from a politician who whined about President Obama, "When he disagrees with the law ... he simply refuses to comply with it."
When the Supreme Court endorsed marriage equality last week, the ruling applied nationwide. But for Cruz, states should resist -- or as he put it, refuse to "acquiesce" -- until they're specifically under a court order to honor the law and the high court's decision.
In other words, let's say you're a governor of a state that wasn't a party to the case. You know Friday's court ruling applies to the entire nation, but you'd prefer to ignore that.
Ted Cruz's advice is simple: don't honor the Supreme Court's ruling right away. Fairly soon, you'll receive a court order that says, "The law applies to you, too," but in the meantime, your state can continue to discriminate until you're instructed otherwise.
We talked yesterday about the Texas Republican not taking the court's ruling well, but Cruz seems eager to keep pushing the envelope. That he and other national GOP candidates are competing for support from their party's far-right base isn't coincidental.
As for whether any state officials are inclined to agree with Cruz's approach, Rachel noted on the show last night that there are more than a few areas that are resisting compliance with the law. If you missed it, the segment is worth your time: