Obama and high horses
Federal courts rule against Obama (again)
There’s a new mix in the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) program put in place by President Obama’s Executive Order and implemented by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s memorandum on November 20, 2014: the federal courts.
The state of Texas led a consortium of 26 states in seeking an injunction against the Executive Branch’s attempt to legislate immigration policy. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Judge Andrew Hanen presiding, heard the case and issued his ruling February 16, 2015.
In issuing his Executive Order (or, actually, as it turns out an authorization allowing Secretary Johnson to issue his “memorandum”) last November, Obama flatly stated that he was authorizing mere prosecutorial discretion concerning targets of the Justice Department’s and DHS’s deportation decisions. The problem, however, was Obama also legislated by creating and expanding benefits upon illegal aliens not authorized by Congress or law. He imperiously decreed that he was acting because “the Congress refused to act.”’
Congress cried “Foul: the president cannot legislate.”
These pages reported as much back in November in discussing Obama’s move and how, unlike his assertions, his actions differed vastly from those of Reagan and G.H.W Bush:
Obama is acting because Congress has thus far declined to provide legal status to the undocumented; Reagan and Bush acted because Congress did so. This is a stark difference. Nowhere in the Constitution does it provide that the executive branch may legislate where the legislative branch declines to do so.
Judge Hanen agreed. He saw through the Administration’s ruse and ruled that exercising prosecutorial discretion (or not enforcing a statue) was quite different from “bestowing benefits”. “Non-enforcement,” he said, “is just that: not enforcing the law.”
It’s one thing, Hanen reasoned, to let these illegal aliens remain in the country in clear violation of stated immigration policy but quite another to provide them with “three years of immunity from [the] law”, and grant them “legal presence status, plus any benefits that may accompany [any] legal presence under current regulations.” While DAPA does not provide legal permanent residency, it certainly provides a legal benefit in the form of legal presence (plus all that it entails) including a benefit not otherwise available in current immigration laws.
Amnesty, or at least conditional amnesty, in other words. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then, well, connect these dots and a duck appears. The Right, then, was right.
Aside from exposing Obama’s Immigration/Amnesty edict for what it is, yet another power grab by this administration to usurp the legislative authority of the Congress, this decision comes at an opportune time for Congress. Hanen is their knight in shining armor; Obama probably considers Hanen nothing more than another critic on a “high horse.”
Current funding for the DHS is set to expire at the end of February. While Congress fully funded the federal government at the end of last year, a compromise was reached which allowed only short term funding for the DHS. Congress so strongly disagreed with the legality of Obama’s action that they wanted to revisit the issue of DHS funding as a “stand alone “ item once the new, and more conservative, Congress was in place in 2015.
The pundits in Washington, DC, have consumed themselves with how the funding, or lack of funding, of the DHS might trigger a government shutdown (not that that’s such a bad thing). The line goes that the Republicans should just give in and fund DHS for the sake and safety of the country. It’s worth noting that of the 230,000 or so DHS employees, over 200,000 would be deemed “essential” and thus not furloughed.
The talking points are already in their tweets and other social media outlets: “It’s the Tea Party’s fault”, “It’s the GOP’s fault”, “It’s House Speaker Boehner’s fault”, “It’s Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s fault”. Well, Judge Hanen has a different view: It’s Obama’s fault.
And because a federal court has ruled on the legality of the White House’s action, and found it wanting, Congress can hardly fund it. Another 30 day extension would be in order to let the process settle itself out through the court system or, since it is now adjudicated as illegal, Obama should rescind his action.
But this is a president who has no taste for the constitutional separation of powers. Obama is as likely to buck the courts as he is the Congress. He holds no truck with his constitutional oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.” His narcissism blinds him to his sworn duty.
This administration has set a record in modern American jurisprudence before the Supreme Court of the United States. Obama and Attorney General Erick Holder have been defeated by unanimous decisions in at least 13 cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012. In fact, rather than prevailing, as prior administrations have 70% of the time before the Supreme Court, this administration has lost over half of their arguments in the last three terms.
This administration is a clear and present danger to the constitutional framework of the United States. Their tenure in office is characterized by power grabs that have trampled the word if not the very spirit of the Constitution and put the liberty and freedom of all Americans at risk.
And they must go.
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