The City of Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia, rather than admit it is wrong to butcher the vegetation along the side of the road, has doubled down. “See, it wasn’t wrong. And to prove it, we’re going to do it again. Besides, the Coastal Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources has given us permission.”
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, our conservative champion of the rule of law, has helpfully explained that “the issuance of a permit is not a matter of grace.” That is, the issuers of permits have no choice but to issue what’s requested, if the desired information (usually it is just information that a bureaucracy finds it useful to collect) has been provided, then the permit must be issued. That’s because the action or behavior being considered is presumed to be good, as is all behavior by individual citizens. Indeed, that’s the presumption of the whole United States Constitution — individual behavior is good, unless it is proved to have been (note the past tense) injurious to someone else or bad. Obviously, there would be no reason to deny good behavior. (Which is why efforts to deny single qualified adults permits to marry are being declared un-Constitutional all over the country).