The demagogues of the conservative media entertainment complex are all hysterical over President Obama preparing to exercise prosecutorial discretion by executive orders to ease some of the unfairness created by our broken immigration system that Tea-Publicans in Congress have refused to fix.
These demagogues use loaded words like “lawless”and “shredding the Constitution” and refer to the president as an “emperor” (if Obama were an emperor, would not the conservative media entertainment complex all be locked away in a political prison somewhere, unable to spew their daily dose of hateful bile?)
This is, of course, is hyperbolic nonsense. The National Journal has a good historical piece on the use of executive orders by presidents dating back to FDR on immigration matters. Critics Say Executive Action on Immigration Would Be Unprecedented. They Forget Their History. If President Obama is an “emperor” for exercising prosecutorial discretion by executive orders then his predecessors including Saint Ronnie Reagan, “Poppy” Bush and C-Plus Augustus Bush were all emperors as well. Or is it IOKIYAR?
Sam Stein reports that even the vanguard of conservative lawyers, The Federalist Society, says that the president is acting well within the executive discretion given to him by U.S. immigration laws and legal precedents. Legal Panel At Federalist Society Begrudgingly Accepts Obama’s Immigration Powers:
[T]he panelists agreed the president has wide legal latitude to prioritize and shape deportation laws, as regrettable for Republicans or the long-term balance of powers that may be.
“I think the roots of prosecutorial discretion are extremely deep,” said Christopher Schroeder, the Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Public Policy Studies at Duke Law School. “The practice is long and robust. The case law is robust. Let me put it this way: Suppose some president came to me and asked me in the office of legal counsel, ‘Is it okay for me to go ahead and defer the deportation proceedings of childhood arrival?’ Under the present state of the law, I think that would be an easy opinion to write. Yes.”
Schroeder was speaking specifically about the deferred action program that Obama already has put into place — the one affecting so-called Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. as children. But later, Schroeder expanded his legal reasoning.
“I don’t know where in the Constitution there is a rule that if the president’s enactment affects too many people, he’s violating the Constitution,” Schroeder said. “There is a difference between executing the law and making the law. But in the world in which we operate, that distinction is a lot more problematic than you would think. If the Congress has enacted a statute that grants discretionary authority for the administrative agency or the president to fill in the gaps, to write the regulations that actually make the statute operative, those regulations to all intents and purposes make the law.
“I agree this can make us very uncomfortable. I just don’t see the argument for unconstitutionality at this juncture,” Schroeder added.
What President Obama is doing is similar to what a judge would do with a deadlocked jury — he is issuing a Dynamite Charge, telling Congress to go back and try harder to reach a bipartisan agreement on immigration reform to break this political stalemate. This is a clarifying moment for Tea-Publicans in Congress.
President Obama has repeatedly said that he wants a bipartisan and comprehensive immigration reform bill, and if it reaches his desk he will sign it. The president has also said that he will rescind the executive orders he is about to sign in the next day if only Congress were to send him a bipartisan and comprehensive immigration reform bill.
What Congress should do is what any rational, right-minded individual would do, and send a bipartisan and comprehensive immigration reform bill to the president for his signature. As luck would have it, there already is a bipartisan and comprehensive immigration reform bill that overwhelmingly passed the Senate in July 2013. We have been assured repeatedly by leaders in the House that there are sufficient votes to pass this bill in the House if only the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, would allow it to come to a vote.
This is the course of action that right-minded Tea-Publicans want to take. Arizona’s Senator Jeff Flake wants a vote. Jeff Flake: Don’t Shut Down Gov’t Over Immigration, Pass Reform Instead:
“I hope we respond with legislation,” he told a few reporters just off the Senate floor. “I hope we pass legislation.”
Immigration reform legislation?
“Yes. That’s what we should have done before,” said Flake, who co-wrote and voted for the Senate-passed immigration reform bill in 2013, which was nixed by House Republicans.
TPM asked Flake if he would oppose using a government funding bill to stop Obama.
“Yes,” he nodded.
Sen. Flake’s position is supported by other right-minded Tea-Publicans in Arizona as well. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports GOP business backers urge immigration reform:
A group of Arizona Republicans and business leaders on Wednesday urged Congress to act on immigration even as President Barack Obama is poised to take executive action to shield millions of people in the country illegally from deportation.
Members of the advocacy group include state Sen. Bob Worsley, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Barry Broome, president of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
Worsley said the Arizona effort is part of a nationwide push to tamp down anger among GOP members of Congress and channel it toward reform instead. He noted comments from some Arizona Republicans he viewed as counterproductive.
“Our Republican Congressional delegation has been getting a lot of national press on their comments,” Worsley said, “and it’s not been on solving the problem, it’s been ‘how do we punish or reverse what he’s doing.’”
Worsley said a better reaction for Republicans would be to sidestep Obama’s actions by passing a GOP immigration bill fixing the nation’s broken system.
As I said, this is a clarifying moment for Tea-Publicans in Congress. Is this less-than-less-than-do-nothing Congress, the least productive Congress in US. history, capable of doing the job for which it was elected just this once?
Remember when Tea-Publicans used to scream “give us an up or down vote!” just a few years ago? Well the tables are turned: give us an up or down vote on the bipartisan Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. The onus is entirely on the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boener. He is the villain in this faux “crisis.”
Or will this craven coward cave under pressure from the dangerous demagogues of the conservative media entertainment complex, and pursue a destructive path by filing a frivolous lawsuit, as supported by Arizona’s Rep. Paul Gosar; or defund government agencies that would enforce the president’s executive orders, as supported by Arizona Reps. Matt Salmon and Tent Franks; or engage in political retaliation against Democrats as proposed by Senator Ted “Calgary” Cruz Block Obama’s nominees, Cruz urges ; or take the country hostage again by failing to pass spending bills and shut down the federal government until the president capitulates to their ransom demands; or give in to the worst desires of those afflicted with Obama Derangement Syndrome and pursue impeachment in the House, as Arizona’s Rep. Salmon has suggested?
All of these destructive paths share one thing in common: they fail to address our broken immigration system by legislation. Instead of solving the problem at hand, they prefer to create more problems.
Finally, there is the truly unhinged Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) who warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama’s executive order on immigration Thursday. GOP senator warns of ‘anarchy’ and ‘violence’:
“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Coburn said on Capital Download. “You’re going to see – hopefully not – but you could see instances of anarchy. … You could see violence.”
Is Coburn suggesting armed insurrection against the federal government over lawful executive orders with which he and the right-wing disagrees, i.e., “Second Amendment remedies”? Would this violence be directed at people who appear to be Latinos, American born or otherwise?
Wouldn’t Congress actually doing its damn job and passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill make far more sense? What is this provocation to violence rather than Congress actually doing its damn job?
Is the modern-day Tea-Publican Party capable of sound public policy and governance? Or is it just an echo chamber for the most deranged demagogues of the conservative media entertainment complex?
We are about to find out in this clarifying moment in history.