Monday, August 2, 2010

The Truth about Royal Assent

Socially conservative monarchists, especially Roman Catholics, sometimes complain about the way Europe's contemporary constitutional monarchs, whatever their private beliefs, have failed to block legislation contrary to traditional Christian morality. This issue has previously been discussed at this blog with regard to Spain, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. The staunchly Catholic blog Roman Christendom explains why Queen Elizabeth II had no authority to veto Britain's 1967 legalization of abortion. Wherever one stands on abortion or other divisive contemporary issues, it ought at least to be clear that in modern European monarchies, if you don't like the laws, you must blame the politicians who enacted them, not the sovereigns who nominally assented to them.

8 comments:

Matterhorn said...

Thank you for pointing out this article. I'm afraid I can't agree, though.

This is clearly a difficult dilemma, but (with regard to the British situation discussed in the article you link to, in particular) couldn't one make this argument: that the most basic purpose of any constitution, of law itself, is to protect the innocent, such as unborn children clearly are. Therefore, could not the abortion crisis be one of those rare occasions when something so fundamental is at stake that the monarch would be justified in withholding assent- to save the Constitution, the rule of law itself?

Theodore Harvey said...

No, I don't think so, especially when there is no longer anything close to a consensus in the general population that abortion indeed constitutes such an issue. A real constitutional crisis of the type justifying royal emergency action would have to be obviously a crisis to everyone.

Matterhorn said...

Well, I would prefer, of course, to think of monarchs as "off the hook" is this regard, but I'm just not sure I can, when the issue in question ( as I see it) is so important.

Aaron Traas said...

Theodore,

Thanks for posting this. I completely misunderstanded the British laws on Royal Assent.

Of course, I'd support the monarch having real veto power over bills. I still have mixed feelings about constitutional monarchy overall (that is, about the "constitutional" component).

Theodore Harvey said...

So do I! But alas "constitutional" monarchy is pretty much all we're left with today.

Brantigny said...

Their assent on earth to an earthly law, involving a monsterous act, does not absolve them from a sin of commission, and if they, implying by their silence their consent they are just as guilty of that act. If they carry the title they should like the Duke of Luxembourg show som moral courage, else renounce the title and become a private citizen.

Theodore Harvey said...

Really, Brantigny, did you actually read the article at the blog I linked to and think about what it said, or just automatically spout off what you would have said anyway? I see no evidence that you even tried to comprehend what "Tribunus" and I were saying, unlike Matterhorn and Aaron Traas.

Aaron Traas said...

Well, certainly I'd take constitutional monarchy over no monarchy at all. You've convinced me long ago that even as a figurehead, a monarch is of great value.