State, national columnists

When Obama does it, does that make it legal?

By From page A11 | July 03, 2014

President Barack Obama, whose power abuses have played a role in the imperilment of tens of thousands of children and earned him slaps by the Supreme Court and the threat of a suit by House Republicans, has promised more of the same. If Congress doesn’t give him what he wants on immigration reform, he said he is going to change things himself. What that could well mean is unilaterally instituting a broad amnesty program of his aides’ devising.

It’s the kind of performance you would more likely expect on a “Saturday Night Live” stage than in the Rose Garden. There he nevertheless was, telling us “America cannot wait forever for them to act.” By “them” he meant House Republicans, by “act” he meant passage of sweeping legislation that meets his approval and by “forever” he meant passage is unlikely this year.

While no one can say for sure all that comes next, a New York Times story says the administration may give “work permits and protection from deportation to millions of immigrants now in the country.” Except that it would be much further reaching, this move could render something akin to the two-year, renewable, constitutionally questionable amnesty already granted by Obama in 2012 to more than a half million immigrant youths who came here illegally as children.

This presidential venture is now seen as a factor encouraging great crowds of poor children unaccompanied by parents to come to the U.S. border. They come mostly from Central America, were sometimes escaping criminal violence but seem to have thought in many instances that amnesty applied to them and may yet see a new amnesty grant that does. Many have had to walk through desert in temperatures over 100 degrees. Many of the girls have been raped. The U.S. Border Patrol can do little else but take care of them. What might a second amnesty do even as Obama brings more agents from the interior of the country to the border?

The larger point is that here we have just one of numerous instances of the president flirting openly with autocracy. He acts as an unaccountable king of the hill in myriad ways: how he releases terrorists; regulatory overkill, and endlessly rewriting laws with nothing passed by Congress, for instance. Jonathan Turley, a liberal professor of constitutional law, sees a vast “usurpation of authority” in which Obama gets away with misdeeds even President Richard Nixon only dreamt about. For the sake of a constitutionally ordered, democratic, free republic, Turley has been banging drums to get more reaction from Congress and the courts.

Just lately, there has been a flicker of judicial hope in a couple of recent Supreme Court decisions, such as a unanimous verdict that recess appointments bypassing the Senate will not stand because the Senate was not in recess.

Since most Democrats won’t sign on, Congress has done little to restore the crucial system of checks and balances, but here comes Republican House Speaker John Boehner with the threat of a suit to stop the usurpation. The responses have been varied. Turley is all for it, some scholars say the House has proper standing and then there are those resorting to irrationality, such as in comparing numbers of executive orders signed by different presidents.

Obama comes in low on the graph, but these orders were not all created equal, as cleverer souls note; many by Obama were hugely awful while many by other presidents were perfectly OK. An even worse argument chiefly from the left is that Obama has had to act because Congress won’t do what he wants. In other words, effectuating arguable Obama policies is an end that justifies the catastrophic means of ignoring rule of law. But did Obama really cross that line?

“When a president does it, that means it is not illegal,” Nixon once said. Whoever thought there would come a day when so many liberals echoed the sentiment?

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. Readers may email him at [email protected]

Jay Ambrose


Discussion | 24 comments

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  • nonchalantJuly 03, 2014 - 1:51 am

    Ok all the parents sent their kids here alone.if americans send their kids alone its a cps case.lets be real this is way over the president's head to try and fix sooo many problems of other countries.he need to fix America.but only God we can trust.that's OUR true King.hope fully He can save us from whatever mr president has in-store for us.GOD BLESS AMERICA

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  • MarkJuly 03, 2014 - 3:50 am

    Hopefully God can get to all those starving kids in Africa first though. He seems to always be putting that off - must be too busy deciding who's going to score the next touchdown and win the next Grammy.

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  • 2realJuly 03, 2014 - 5:37 am

    Nonchalant, true. God bless.mark, just thank god you made it another day! NOBAMA!

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  • DanielJuly 03, 2014 - 6:28 am

    Obama's unilaterally one branch enacted "laws" are better than any that congress passes nor the Supreme Court interprets in his little delusional brain along with his enabling "progressives". He might not even adhere to the Supreme Court decisions, he is that rogue of a president.

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  • SamJuly 03, 2014 - 7:26 am

    @2real If I learn your identity I will expose your punk a**. Then everyone will see the who runs his mouth and can't man up. Hypocritical coward.

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  • Mr. SmithJuly 03, 2014 - 7:38 am

    When congress failed to pass the DREAM Act, Obama threw another one of his tantrums and created DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Now he has declared the mass invasion of illegal alien children a "humanitarian crisis." Guess what? This crisis is a direct result of the DACA, created unilaterally by our imperial majesty, Barack Obama, because he couldn't get his way.

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  • Mr. SmithJuly 03, 2014 - 4:07 pm

    And.....nothing but crickets from the lefties. Almost nothing but crickets from our treasonous mainstream media. Next comes his plan to unilaterally double down on DACA. This guy is running amuck and nobody is saying "stop" other than John Boehner (and a few of us "little people"). If this keeps up, perhaps it won't sound too crazy for folks to utter the "I" (impeachment) word.

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  • rlw895July 04, 2014 - 6:31 am

    What was the rule before DACA?

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  • JagJuly 03, 2014 - 9:51 am

    Why can’t we have both sides agree to go right to the Supreme Court on what Obama can and cannot do, call a special session and be done with this?

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  • Salty DogJuly 03, 2014 - 10:08 am

    In the utopian fantasy world of the liberal left it does.

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  • Salty DogJuly 03, 2014 - 10:14 am

    It's the hell with the constitution when President Obama does not get his way and the left thinks that is a good thing.

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  • rlw895July 03, 2014 - 12:15 pm

    It's a last resort way to deal with irrational opposition. Americans always get the government they deserve.

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  • rlw895July 03, 2014 - 12:18 pm

    What's wrong with a president demanding legislation he (or 2/3 of both houses) can approve?

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  • 2realJuly 03, 2014 - 2:59 pm

    Sam dont try to get crazy with me over the internet boy. Im not who you think i am. Your barking up the wrong tree. Trust that!

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  • BJJuly 03, 2014 - 3:49 pm

    So come on out 2real let's see who u really are!

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  • CD BrooksJuly 03, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    2real, Sam made a perfectly valid point. Now you want u to believe you're a tough guy too??? HA! HA!

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  • CD BrooksJuly 03, 2014 - 4:27 pm

    2real, boy? Really? If he knew you he'd rat you out. Get it tough guy? What, you're going to throw your rosary at him? HA! HA! :)

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  • CD BrooksJuly 03, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    2real, nor do you young man. "Fun" is not trashing fellow citizens in any manner. Get over yourself.

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  • 2realJuly 03, 2014 - 4:00 pm

    Im not one to put on a show online. So lets act like men and not take it there BJ

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  • 2realJuly 03, 2014 - 4:51 pm

    CD, i only believe in god. I know im tough im just hopin a old guy like yourself doesnt bring that side out. Im on here to comment on the issues at hand, not to write others after they have already wrote a comment. Lets keep it fun. Especially since you have no idea who your running your mouth to.

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  • MarkJuly 03, 2014 - 5:43 pm

    We know you're uneducated and you don't know the difference between you're and your.

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  • BJJuly 03, 2014 - 6:33 pm

    And he believes woman was made from man's rib.

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  • SalJuly 03, 2014 - 7:04 pm

    Honestly, 2real typifies the worst of Fairfield.

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  • JagJuly 04, 2014 - 8:24 am

    @ Mark, a few days ago CD stuck up for me and below is what he said I think it applies to you to CD BrooksJune 27, 2014 - 11:50 am Grammar Police, your expertise is not needed. We have a rule where we don't get after folks for typos, punctuation and misspelled words. Most of the time we get the picture. Thank you and have a nice day!

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