This is a guy, remember, who likes to remind his opponents that he knows a thing or two about the Constitution after having taught it for several years and then gets destroyed by the Supreme Court on recess appointments. What you’re about to watch is actually a bookend to this now infamous clip from his 2008 campaign, when he told voters his presidency would correct the Bushian trend towards an ever more powerful executive branch. Fast forward six years and he’s actually taken to arguing that ignoring some federal statutes and rewriting others is just part of his “job.” To object to that logic on separation-of-powers grounds is to be guilty of a “stunt.”
And so, at long last, the professional left reaches pure “ends justifies the means” territory:
GOP blocks all progress in Congress, accuses Obama of not leading, then *SUES* Obama when he leads in face of their inaction? Just wow…
— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) June 27, 2014
If executive action serves the cause of Progress, the procedural niceties are irrelevant. Obama himself has made variations of that argument. The question is, how far would the Supreme Court be willing to go to rein him in? Jonathan Turley hinted yesterday that the 9-0 bomb they dropped on him over his NLRB appointments might be a sign that they’re more receptive to a lawsuit filed by the House than everyone thinks. I’m skeptical, but George Will made the case eloquently recently that courts have no choice but to force each branch to stay in their respective lanes if separation of powers means anything. It’d be nice to hand this matter over to voters and let them punish Obama but there are too many Sally Kohns out there for that. Either the courts stand by while a quiescent electorate lets the executive take over more of the federal government or they tell him what his “job” really is.
Update: You ready for this one? Via Mickey Kaus:
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) piled on. Noting that a year has passed since the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with broad bipartisan support, he urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a similar bill to the floor.
“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”
Kaus wondered on Twitter which part of the Constitution contains this alleged “borrowing power.” I believe it’s Article II, Section 5, also known as the “Just Take What You Need, Bro” clause.