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Two roles..
Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:27am

The legislative branch MAKES the laws.

The executive branch ENFORCES the laws.

The judicial branch INTERPRETS the laws.

Within EACH of those roles are authorities and limits to those authorities.

It is certainly within the scope of enforcement authority to set some degree of enforcement priorities. Just as a local police chief can tell his officers to focus on speeding, and not stress so much over failure to signal, I would say that a president can set priorities of enforcement for the federal law enforcement agencies that fall under the executive branch of gov't.

But there are limits. Just as the judicial branch is not supposed CHANGE laws (legislate from the bench), the executive branch should not ignore laws, or otherwise fail in its duties...

Let's take marijuana. What's very interesting is that marijuana IS in fact illegal under FEDERAL laws. Now, since many states have passed medical, or even recreational marijuana legalizing laws, there are pot dispensaries popping up in various locations. TECHNICALLY the DEA can bust all of those places and file federal drug trafficking charges. Should the Executive Branch (the DEA is a part of that branch) be OBLIGATED to enforce those laws? Or does the executive branch have the authority to put that TYPE case on a low priority and focus on other things?

Then it gets even more interesting when you add in the states. Should the Executive Branch have the authority to force STATES to engage on specific laws that they DO want focused on? Or to force states to NOT enforce laws that they DON'T want focused on?

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