Opinion writer

So many Republicans, in particular Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), have behaved irresponsibly during President Trump’s shutdown it is easy to get the impression that they’ve all neglected their oaths. Some, such as Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), have been so mealy-mouthed you wonder why they bothered running for the Senate at all.

Nevertheless a few, too few, in the House voted to reopen shuttered departments. As many as 12 cast votes with Democrats. In the Senate, a small but responsible group of Republicans tried to dissuade President Trump from going down this track. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) was particularly eloquent:

Now I think the legal case against declaring an emergency is strong -- and gets stronger each time the dull-witted president says something like “What we’re not looking to do right now is national emergency. I’m not going to do it so fast.” Thunk. By definition then, it’s not an emergency.

Nevertheless, those Republicans who refuse to encourage Trump to go down this road deserve praise and encouragement. Next week they need to go one step further and demand a vote on the House funding bills.

For at least understanding the separation of powers, we can for now say, well done, Sen. Murkowski.