In stunning remarks from the White House Rose Garden (not standing on the balcony of the executive’s mansion), the President outlined his views on why executive action is appropriate. In short, “I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing.” He will “fix the immigration system on my own, without Congress.”
This is an extremely dangerous position. Whenever the executive identifies a problem, and Congress chooses to do nothing, the President thinks he can make laws. The Supreme Court has made abundantly clear this is unconstitutional. As I explained at some length in this post, executive power is not a “safety valve” Congressional intransigence. Inaction does not give the President a license. to act. The President decided not to wait to get his nominees confirmed in the Senate. The Supreme Court told him, 9-0, you can’t do that.
As Justice Scalia noted in Noel Canning:
The troublesome need to do so is not a bug to be fixed by this Court, but a calculated feature of the consti tutional framework. As we have recognized, while the Constitution’s government-structuring provisions can seem “clumsy” and “inefficient,” they reflect “hard choices . . . consciously made by men who had lived under a form of government that permitted arbitrary governmental acts to go unchecked.” Chadha, supra, at 959.
Also, the President repeatedly said “everyone agrees” on immigration. This simply isn’t true. It is a divisive issue, and Congress, for better or worse, has decided not to do anything about it now. That doesn’t give the President a license to rule by fiat.
Further, the President scoffed at the idea that members of Congress are opposed to passing a bill because they don’t trust the President to faithfully execute it. His response–they should pass a bill. Well duh. That’s the point. The President will take executive action with or without a bill. Why suffer from the pretense of affording him more power.
This speech should be included as Exhibit A in Boehner’s lawsuit.
Update: More from Boehner:
Obama further asserted that the reason he takes executive actions is due to Congress’ inaction.
“I don’t prefer taking administrative action. I’d rather see permanent fixes to the issue we face. Certainly that’s true on immigration. I’ve made that clear multiple times,” he said.
“I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing,” he stressed. And in this situation, the failure of Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it’s bad for our economy, and its bad for our future,” Obama added.
Meanwhile Boehner blamed Obama’s executive orders for the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the southwest border.
“The president’s own executive orders have led directly to the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay,” Boehner said. “The White House claims it will move to return these children to their families in their home countries, yet additional executive action from this president isn’t going to stem the tide of illegal crossings, it’s only going to make them worse.”