Of the list of people who are not allowed to complain about President Obama’s “executive overreach” in yesterday’s directive involving undocumented students being allowed to apply to work permits, the absolute top of that list consists of two, maybe three people. One of them is former Dubya legal “ace” John “Of Course We Can Waterboard” Yoo, who promptly calls down the wrath of Nemesis herself upon his doomed soul with this observation over at NRO.
President Obama’s claim that he can refuse to deport 800,000 aliens here in the country illegally illustrates the unprecedented stretching of the Constitution and the rule of law. He is laying claim to presidential power that goes even beyond that claimed by the Bush administration, in which I served. There is a world of difference in refusing to enforce laws that violate the Constitution (Bush) and refusing to enforce laws because of disagreements over policy (Obama).
This is pretty much the equivalent of the Mouth of Sauron proclaiming that Gondor is violating Middle Earth’s OSHA laws by having all those dangerous, pointy swords everywhere, and won’t somebody please think of the children. I’m hoping dark Nemesis has some pretty sturdy Doc Martens, because certain asses are in dire need of having boots inserted in them and rotation will probably be necessary. Yoo’s own theories on the plenary executive are phenomenally daft, but claiming that the President has the authority to declare unending bloody war on tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan citizens but doesn’t have the authority to direct enforcement procedures of executive branch agencies is so absolutely douchetronic that Yoo probably needs to waterboard himself for a while just to balance the scales of the universe.
And yet, Nemesis is off getting an all-day mani/pedi or something because Yoo continues on without several million Olympian arrows magically appearing in his chest.
Imagine the precedent this claim would create. President Romney could lower tax rates simply by saying he will not use enforcement resources to prosecute anyone who refuses to pay capital-gains tax. He could repeal Obamacare simply by refusing to fine or prosecute anyone who violates it.
The funny part is everyone at NRO who read this sentence said “Shut! The Front! Door! That’s a brilliant idea! We’ll just refuse to enforce the crap we don’t like! John Yoo, you’re a genius!” Because that’s exactly what President Romney would do, simply stop enforcing things. Hell, it’s what Bush did with Wall Street. It’s not like the Bush-era Securities and Exchange Commission or the Food and Drug Administration or practically any other government regulatory body in the executive branch actually enforced laws. They decided their job was not in fact regulation but to help the industries they were supposed to be checks upon get around regulation. Yoo had no problem with that, or the whole “Hey, Congress Schmongress!” thing with Afghanistan, Iraq, and detainees getting fake drowned and all that jazz either. Using the executive’s enforcement directives to not deport kids? That’s worth putting POTUS in the dock, yo.
Yoo’s big finish:
So what we have here is a president who is refusing to carry out federal law simply because he disagrees with Congress’s policy choices. That is an exercise of executive power that even the most stalwart defenders of an energetic executive — not to mention the Framers — cannot support.
How his hands were able to type that sentence without automatically wrapping themselves around his own throat only proves that I need more psionic training.