America's First Anarchist President
President Obama's executive order suspending deportation of illegal immigrants shows that his legal principles (for lack of a better term since he seems devoid of any identifiable ones) and ideology suit him better to head the anarchist Occupy Wall Street movement than to be President of the United States.
Not long ago he said he lacked the legal authority for this unilateral act because of laws on the books. In one stroke of the pen, however, he showed he's not just a progressive tyrant and lawbreaker, but an anarchist too. He fits with the amorphous, confused, coercive, reactionary and largely lawless ideology of the #Occupy movement.
The inconsistency of his action versus his prior statement indicates that he simply doesn't care how he achieves his agenda. His vision of legal restraints is consistent with the anarchist Occupy philosophy, including, "[t]he refusal to accept the legitimacy of the existing legal order."
Obama's executive order giving amnesty to some people illegally in the United States is not a lawful exercise of Executive discretion. It is not an interpretation of the law, nor is it under-enforcement of law in a manner contemplated by, or consistent with, the Constitution.
Obama's order is legislative in nature, and therefore usurps congressional authority. It unilaterally and unlawfully grants the privilege of being in the United States to a class of people who by law may not be in the United States. How one views the wisdom of that law is an entirely separate matter. There are plenty of unwise laws on the books, and processes for their repeal or amendment.
Obama's order is a statement of intent to allow violations of the law. It is an act of anarchism, albeit a top-down, unlawful form of anarchism.
Instapundit linked to an interesting perspective, "Why conservatives should applaud Obama's decision to ignore the law." The piece expresses the sentiment that "conservatives should applaud anything [that] increases government inaction." That sentiment is worthy of attention and application in some circumstances, such as with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which would be the largest and perhaps worst legislative legacy of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid government if ObamaCare were declared unconstitutional.
The Heritage Foundation referred to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created under Dodd-Frank, for example, as having "unparalleled scope of . . . regulatory discretion." A conservative president certainly could lawfully under-enforce provisions of Dodd-Frank since it has discretion built in to it. Whether the grant of such discretion by Congress is constitutional is a whole other and very legitimate issue to raise.
Contrast Obama's act with examples cited by Bob Krumm about Executive under-enforcement of the law:
We have a long history of a passive aggressive presidency. Thomas Jefferson refused to spend $50,000 to buy gunboats to patrol the Mississippi River and America's border with the French colony on its western bank when his purchase of Louisiana in 1803 made moot that border . . . . Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge were both famously cool toward the idea of enforcing the Volstead Act outlawing alcohol. Grover Cleveland didn't fill numerous appointments, believing that government payrolls had grown bloated through patronage and spoils.
A conservative president with the ability to articulate constitutional and legal principles could lawfully and constitutionally under-enforce certain laws, and undo some of the damage done by progressives.
Professor John Yoo, who while in President Bush's big-government Republican Justice Department was widely criticized for his use of the "unitary executive" doctrine, postures this improbable scenario in response to Obama's order:
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 scenario is improbable because Romney doesn't seem to have enough small-government instincts. But imagine as Yoo suggests, and it's not difficult to picture Democrats demanding emergency hearings, and their allies in the media hollering epithets, calling Romney a Tea Party extremist, saying he's unfit for office, and calling his actions unconstitutional lawbreaking.
Yet, the president does have some discretion about how his administration enforces laws, and a constitutional conservative president could put that to good use. Conservatives, though, may have libertarian inclinations, but we aren't anarchists.
Ungrounded in sound constitutional justification, under-enforcement of the law leads to, or can be, anarchy. For example, a state governor could not issue an order exempting people under age 30 from laws prohibiting unlawful entry and trespass on private property.
The Obama administration not only violates American law precepts and principles with its coercive, unilateral power grabs, but now has violated the law for progressive anarchy.
Obama demonstrates consistently his contempt for the constitutional limitations on presidential authority, and can rightfully be called our first anarchist, #Occupy president.
Contrast his principles with those of the first real Tea Party president, George Washington, who took the Constitution seriously as legally binding on his administration.
Once again, Mr. Obama has provided an example of why our Constitution is best viewed as the law that governs government, and why his administration is America's biggest and most pervasive lawbreaker.