Spider-Man’s credo is, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
But that doesn’t mean that with President Barack Obama’s great power comes the responsibility of choosing who will play the Caped Crusader in the next Batman movie, which will also feature Superman.
Awareness of that limit on the chief executive’s constitutional authority, however, evidently eludes some folks.
Thousands of Americans recently signed a petition on We the People, a website created by the Obama administration to encourage public input to the White House.
Like dozens of similar petitions, it decried Warner Brothers’ decision to cast Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight — and demanded he be replaced.
The online plea to the president asked him to “make it illegal” for Mr. Affleck to play Batman, adding, “We are concerned Americans who care about our fictional heroes, often more than the ones that actually existed.”
The petition was quickly — and appropriately — removed by administration staffers.
That wasn’t another case of a politician ignoring the people.
It was a prudent decision not to clutter up that site with a frivolous appeal that included this warning: “Mr. Affleck has a history of ruining films that he doesn’t star [in], direct, produce, and cater all by himself.”
That artistic assessment is debatable.
Yet this legal reality is not: The president is not the lawful decider on who plays Batman, Superman or any other movie character.
At least, not yet.