Government & Politics

Justices Weigh Obama's Kingly Decree

Executive amnesty is before the Supreme Court.

Paul Albaugh · Apr. 19, 2016

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over Barack Obama’s executive action on selective immigration enforcement. While many media outlets have portrayed this case as being primarily about immigration, the reality is that it has great implications for Rule of Law and the future of our republic.

In 2014, following a refusal from members of the House of Representatives to hold a vote on immigration reform legislation that was passed in the Senate, Obama decided to take matters into his own hands. Shocking we know, since Obama regularly criticized former President George W. Bush for his issuance of executive orders. More to the point, Obama had specifically said on numerous occasions that he did not have the power to do what he turned around and did anyway.

Obama told Univision in 2014, “I am president. I am not king.” He went on to add, “I can’t do these things just by myself. We have a system of government that requires the Congress to work with the executive branch to make it happen.” Oh, if only he would heed his own words.

But immigration reform (read: amnesty) was something Obama had promised during his re-election bid and he was going to pursue that political goal, with or without Congress.

So when Congress didn’t go along with his agenda for amnesty, he insisted that he could simply act like the legislature and rewrite existing immigration law through executive fiat. For someone who so often claims to be a constitutional scholar, he certainly should have understood that the power of the pen has limits.

Those limits are specifically spelled out by the Framers of the Constitution in Article II. As The Wall Street Journal highlights, “The executive shall — not "may” — execute Congress’s laws faithfully, in one of the Constitution’s most specific instructions.“ The Framers put this "take care clause” into the Constitution to prevent any president from acting like a king — something which Obama claims he isn’t all while his actions regularly indicate otherwise.

Obama’s executive action created two new programs for illegal immigrants. These new programs would shield approximately four million illegal immigrants from deportation and make them eligible to work. In other words, as the king hath spoken, so shall it be.

Fortunately, 26 states led by Texas filed a lawsuit (United States vs. Texas) against the Obama administration for acting without the consent of Congress.

By all indications Justice Anthony Kennedy supports the view of the states. “It’s as if … the president is setting the policy and the Congress is executing it,” he said. “That’s just upside down.”

Chief Justice John Roberts could be the deciding vote in this case — a 4-4 split would leave in place a lower court ruling against Obama. And Roberts appeared to doubt the administration’s arguments. He questioned Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and suggested that under the administration’s view of immigration law there are few limits to the president’s power. Roberts asked, “Under your argument, could the president grant deferred removal to every … unlawfully present alien in the United States right now?”

Verrilli responded, “Definitely not,” though it’s not clear what limitations on presidential power Obama will abide.

Of course, Justice Sonia Sotomayor chimed in with her two cents of nonsense. She noted that most of the immigrants who live here in the U.S. illegally “are here whether we want them or not.” So under her reasoning, the fact that they are here is sufficient cause to leave them be? To allow them to stay and work and receive copious amounts of federal aid and benefits? Is this her interpretation of justice or law? Who would benefit from this? Certainly not the United States as a whole, certainly not our economy, and certainly not our nation’s security.

The answer is simple. The only segment of the population to benefit would be Democrats in office or those seeking office. That is Obama’s real immigration “reform” strategy.

As Mark Alexander explained, “The Demo strategy is to craft that EO in such a way that Republicans can successfully chip away at it, primarily by defunding and de-authorizing key components of its implementation, as well as by issuing legal challenges. If the courts rule against Obama, which they most certainly should if they have any interest in preserving our Constitution, then the Democrats can assail Republicans as immigration obstructionist ahead of the 2016 election. Thus, Democrats will receive credit from both their legal and illegal Latino constituencies for, ostensibly, attempting to provide them with nine million Permanent Residency or Employment Authorization cards, while not offending their union constituents who oppose the flood of cheap labor.”

Should the High Court uphold the Rule of Law and declare that Obama’s action is indeed unconstitutional, then the imperial president will at least receive the political credit for trying. He will point out that it was Republicans’ fault and he will continue to make promises all the way to the election in November with the attempt to secure enough votes for the next Democrat nominee. Stay tuned, because the future of our republic, our borders and our culture, may very well depend on the decision of eight Supreme Court Justices.

Click here to show comments

It's Right. It's Free.