Monday, June 18, 2012

Constitution? We don't need no stinkin' Constitution!

And the backlash begins...

Does the President have the authority and ability to completely bypass Congress to do whatever he wants to do?

Not according to the Constitution- that he has sworn to "preserve, protect, and defend."

Under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president has the duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision was included to make sure that the president could not simply choose, as the British King had, to cancel legislation simply because he disagreed with it. President Obama cannot refuse to carry out a congressional statute simply because he thinks it advances the wrong policy. To do so violates the very core of his Constitutional duties.

That's a little gem from former Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel attorney John Yoo, a liberal, by the way, in today's National Review.

"It's the right thing to do" is not a valid reason to completely ignore the Constitution and bypass Congress.  No matter how 'feel good' it is, and no matter how many votes it gets you from a much needed voting bloc.

Of course, President Obama has had no problem not upholding his Oath of Office on more than one occasion, hasn't he? Jennifer Rubin does a great job of outlining his misdeeds in the Washington Post today.

Here's a few statements from some of the elected legislators that President Obama chose to ignore with his new directive-

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA-07)
“America is a beacon of freedom in the world and it is no wonder that hundreds of thousands of people each year apply to complete the legal and proper steps to become citizens or permanent residents of this amazing land.  After all, who wouldn’t want to raise their family in the land of opportunity and under the rule of law?  Unfortunately, President Obama’s decision to cease the deportation of potentially millions of illegal immigrants and instead grant them legal work permits—while millions of legal U.S. residents remain unemployed and unable to find work—undermines both the rule of law and the economic opportunity that is America.”
“As of 2011, more than 13.7 million U.S. citizens were unemployed, and today our national unemployment levels remain disappointingly high at 8.2 percent.  How can the President and his Administration offer the few American jobs that are available to those who have come to America illegally rather than those U.S. citizens who have always paid their taxes and played by the rules?”
“With today’s decree, President Obama demonstrates the same contempt for America’s laws that those who enter illegally do.  He is undermining the balance of power laid out by the U.S. Constitution, going far beyond his power within the Executive Branch and advancing his election-year politics at the expense of the American economy and the American people’s trust.”
“I am tremendously proud of America’s history as a nation of immigrants, and I am committed to continuing and improving the legal avenues that allow another generation of legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.  But, as every new American citizen knows, we are a nation of laws, and the U.S. Constitution extends lawmaking power to Congress and Congress alone.  This executive power grab—whether proposed by President Obama, President Romney, or President Reagan—is an unconstitutional act, and I will fight it with every tool at my disposal.”

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa., and Chairman of the Immigration Caucus
Since he delivered the State of the Union address in January, President Obama has often spoken about “fairness” and how “everyone should play by the same rules.”

Those buzzwords have become a mantra of his policies and his re-election campaign.

But on Friday, President Obama unilaterally changed the rules regarding amnesty for at least 800,000 illegal aliens – though some estimates put the number of those affected in the millions –and he discarded any pretense of acting fairly.

President Obama says his administration will not deport illegal aliens under the age of 30 if they meet certain criteria. Those illegal aliens will be allowed to apply for two-year work permits that can be renewed indefinitely.

Thanks to President Obama, some illegal aliens will be rewarded for breaking American immigration laws with federal permission to stay in the United States permanently.

That is de facto amnesty.

The president not only ignored the will of Congress, which has wisely and repeatedly refused to grant such amnesty, and the separation of powers enumerated in the United States Constitution, he changed the rules and unfairly punished American citizens and those who are legally in this country.

President Obama’s amnesty announcement directly hurts:

* American citizens and legal immigrants who are looking for work. The national unemployment rate has been over 8 percent for the last 40 months, yet President Obama’s decision lets at least 800,000 illegal aliens compete for very scarce jobs. About 15 percent of American workers are unemployed or underemployed; now, they face a tougher challenge to find work because of President Obama’s amnesty announcement;* Young Americans and young legal immigrants applying for college, scholarships, and financial aid. At least 800,000 illegal aliens can now compete for college admission spots, college scholarships, student loans, and federal and state grants;
* Would-be legal immigrants, who have been patiently waiting – playing by the rules, President Obama might say – to enter the United States to live, study, and work. Now, they see that lawbreakers are rewarded for their brazenness, while they wait to enter the United States through the front door;
* Law enforcement officials, who will face an uptick in fraudulent documentation, as illegal aliens who do not meet President Obama’s new criteria will create or purchase fake paperwork that will get them work permits and de facto amnesty;
* Those who actually believe in fairness and the rule of law, who should be offended by President Obama’s blatantly political amnesty announcement. It would seem the president agrees, or did agree. During a town hall meeting in March 2011, he said, “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don't have a choice about that.” But that was 2011, and this is an election year, so the president chose to ignore his obligation.
* The U.S. Constitution, which is damaged by President Obama’s deliberate contravention of the role of Congress in making laws. During that same town hall meeting, the president said, “Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”

So it’s clear that President Obama understands – or understood, in March 2011 – his role and the role of Congress and the courts in setting and enforcing American immigration policy. Yet on Friday, he decided to ignore those roles.

Constitutional experts across the political spectrum say President Obama has dangerously expanded the use executive power since he took office by bypassing Congress and unilaterally altering federal drug enforcement, No Child Left Behind standards, Internet gambling policies, and more. Now, he adds immigration policy to that list – despite his public statements 15 months ago.

It is clear to me that President Obama not only overstepped his constitutional authority, but he acted with the knowledge he does not have that authority in the first place.

While I hope President Obama carefully reconsiders and reverses his position, I understand he will not in an election year.

I sincerely hope the next President of the United States strictly enforces all of our existing immigration laws.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ):
“Immigration reform is an important and complex issue that deserves a debate among the American people and in Congress. The announcement by President Obama is a politically-motivated power grab that does nothing to further the debate but instead adds additional confusion and uncertainty to our broken immigration system. Further, I find it interesting that after promising to enact comprehensive reform in the first year of his Presidency, the President chose to make this announcement in the middle of his heated re-election campaign. Rather than unilaterally deciding for the American people what they want and how they believe this problem should be addressed, I encourage the President and his Administration to finally reach out to Congress and propose legislation on this important issue.”

U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
“Today’s politically motivated announcement from the Obama Administration that it is going to immediately stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to this country and instead grant them work permits is an outrageous abuse of power by the Executive Branch.  With this announcement President Obama has completely bypassed the Congress, which is charged with writing our immigration laws, in order to grant possible amnesty to many illegal immigrants. This policy shift is in direct conflict with the law of our land.
Not only do I believe President Obama lacks the authority to make such a change to our immigration laws but I find it particularly egregious that he would want to hand out work permits to nearly 1 million illegal immigrants when many Americans are struggling to find work themselves.
America is a land of great opportunity and promise.  Our nation was founded by those who sought a better life and our strength and diversity come from our immigrant heritage.  However, our nation was also founded upon a set of principles, among them the rule of law and fairness and today’s announcement by the Obama Administration is contrary to these very principles.”   

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