What kind of social studies did they teach in Texas?

By Rod Nofziger
OOIDA director of government affairs


I cannot claim to recall all that I was taught in the fifth grade, but I clearly remember my teacher chalking out the fundamentals of our federal government on the classroom blackboard and describing how our forefathers had envisioned a government consisting of separate branches, each serving specific roles.

Basically put, the Constitution of the United States divides the government into three distinctive branches: the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

As the elected representatives of the American people, Congress makes up the legislative branch and is empowered with the role of creating laws.

The executive branch is composed of the president, executive departments and agencies – such as FMCSA – and is assigned the job of implementing and enforcing laws created by the legislative branch.

The judicial branch is to judge the application and validity of laws.

The purpose of having three separate branches is to create a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one branch grows too powerful and obtains dominant authority over the entire government. This separation of powers is one of the basic doctrines of the Constitution.

In 2007, Congress staked a clear position of opposition to the cross-border trucking program with Mexico. That opposition manifested itself in legislation on a handful of occasions, culminating in a simple and straightforward law requiring the Bush administration to stop the pilot program.

By ignoring Congress and continuing the pilot program, the administration has either forgotten its elementary school lessons on government or is knowingly willing to trample on the fundamentals of our nation’s Constitution.