President Obama’s order deferring deportation of up to 800,000 young illegal immigrants shows a president dealing with a recalcitrant Congress by ignoring it. Is he reshaping the power of the presidency?
The Christian Science Monitor
Faced with a Republican Congress that seems stubborn to a fault and content to see Obama fail, America’s chief executive has decided to grab what some are calling an unprecedented rein on executive prerogative in order to move his political objectives down the field.
His supporters say it’s part of the President’s “audacity of hope” campaign message, exemplified by Friday’s decision to relax immigration rules for young illegal immigrants – a necessary antidote, supporters contend, to political polarization, stalemate, and gridlock in Washington.
As with other Obama decisions to ignore parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, not prosecute medical marijuana, and allow some states to opt out of No Child Left Behind provisions, the immigration order became perhaps the boldest decision yet by a president seeking reelection, critics say, to ignore laws passed by Congress in order to achieve a political objective, setting a troubling precedent for the power of the presidency.
The article continues at The Christian Science Monitor.
Related: Are We in Revolutionary Times? by Victor Davis Hanson
Legally, President Obama has reiterated the principle that he can pick and choose which U.S. laws he wishes to enforce (see his decision to reverse the order of the Chrysler creditors, his decision not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and his administration’s contempt for national-security confidentiality and Senate and House subpoenas to the attorney general). If one individual can decide to exempt nearly a million residents from the law — when he most certainly could not get the law amended or repealed through proper legislative or judicial action — then what can he not do? Obama is turning out to be the most subversive chief executive in terms of eroding U.S. law since Richard Nixon…
Update: March 2011: Obama: I Can’t Just Suspend Deportations Through Executive Order, There Are Laws on on the Books That was then, this is now.