For Obama, Inconvenient Law Is Irrelevant Law

The president dismantles immigration law that he finds incompatible with his own larger agenda.

Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

…Obama has downplayed Americans’ worries about social costs and competition for jobs, but studies show illegal immigration has depressed the wages of entry-level American workers while making social services costly for states and burdensome for U.S. citizens.

Obama says he has the legal authority to rewrite immigration law without working with Congress. Yet on more than twenty occasions when it was politically inexpedient to grant amnesties, Obama insisted that he would not — or that such a move was prohibited by the Constitution.

Obama not long ago warned us about the dangers of granting amnesties by fiat. “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States,” he said. On another occasion, he lamented, “Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. . . . But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

By setting aside settled immigration policy and ignoring statutes he finds inconvenient, Obama has set a new precedent that a president can arbitrarily declare what is valid and what is not valid immigration law. Should his successors make up their own versions of any federal statutes they choose, in areas ranging from abortion and gun control to drug enforcement and environmental protection?…



Read the complete article at National Review Online.


Update: Obama Reverses Presidential Trend of Decreasing Abuse of Executive Power

…Progressives like Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt, for example, had been serial violators of the Constitution. The former saw himself as a one-man government with little use for Congress or the Supreme Court. FDR treated constitutional restraints on his office as mere challenges to overcome. He not only tried to pack the court but, as the Cato Institute’s Jim Powell recently noted, he used executive authority to regulate wages, create federal agencies, criminalize the possession of gold and, most controversial of all, detain Japanese-Americans in “relocation camps” (Executive Order 9066). Nixon continued this assertion of domestic authority by instituting wage and price controls through executive order…



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