Abuse of Executive Power Breeds Distrust of the President

February 7th, 2014

John Boehner made some news, when he suggested one reason that the House Republicans may not advance an immigration bill is because they do not trust President Obama to enforce it according to the rule of law.

And frankly one of the biggest obstacle we face is trust. The American people and including many of my members don’t trust that the reform we’re talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be. The President seemed to change the health care law on a whim whenever he likes. Now he’s running around the country telling everyone that he’s going to keep acting on his own. He keeps talking about his phone and his pen. And he’s feeding more distrust about whether he’s committed to the rule of law.

There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws and it’ll be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.

In the context of immigration, the President has already done just this. Recall that Congress specifically rejected the DREAM Act. So what did the President do? Through “executive discretion,” implemented the DREAM Act, and decided not to prosecute the Dreamers. You think the Republicans may not trust the President to actually enforce the laws as written?

The President deciding not to comply with the laws passed, and to unilaterally change them, cannot be challenged in the courts. But breeding distrust makes it less likely that Congress–a body that had no interest in working with Obama–will do anything.

Of course, this all may be a cover for a GOP that opposes all of Obama’s policies, but this objection, whether real or faked, is legitimate.