Arizona Brief to SCOTUS Cites President’s Statement: “I Just took an action to change the law.”

December 11th, 2014

I previously remarked that the President’s comment that he “just took an action to change the law,” would become one of his most famous candid malapropisms, alongside “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” and that Obamacare was “not a tax.” In an emergency appeal to Circuit Justice Kennedy, Arizona cited that statement.

Like Secretary Napolitano’s DACA Program, Secretary Johnson’s expanded deferred action program is contrary to law. Simply put, the Secretary of DHS does not have the authority to unilaterally create, change or violate federal immigration law.3

3 Indeed, the President himself has stated that he “just took an action to change the law.” Eric Bradner, Obama to immigration hecklers: ‘I just took an action to change the law,’ CNN (Nov. 26, 2014),

This isn’t the first time the President has admitted he changed the law. In August, he admitted that he made a “temporary modification” to Obamacare:

One of the main objections that’s the basis of this suit is us making a temporary modification to the health care law that they said needed to be modified.  (Laughter.)  So they criticized a provision; we modify it to make it easier for business to transition; and that’s the basis for their suit.  Now, you could say that, all right, this is a harmless political stunt — except it wastes America’s time.  You guys are all paying for it as taxpayers.  It’s not very productive.  But it’s not going to stop me from doing what I think needs to be done in order to help families all across this country.  (Applause.)

I would add that another recent quotation from the President should be added to the “irreparable harm” inquiry:

“It’s true a future administration might try to reverse some of our policies. But I’ll be honest with you — the American people basically have a good heart and want to treat people fairly and every survey shows that if, in fact, somebody has come out and subjected themselves to a background check, registered, paid their taxes, the American people support allowing them to stay. So any future administration that tried to punish people for doing the right thing, I think, would not have the support of the American people,” Mr. Obama told a supportive crowd at a town hall meeting in Nashville. “It’s true, theoretically, a future administration could do something that I think would be very damaging. It’s not likely, politically, that they reverse everything we’ve done.”

He even used the word “damaging.” In other words, once this program begins, it cannot be undone, by another President.