I wonder if Obama and his cohorts can appreciate the irony the recent decision on the Yucca Mountain waste issue has helped create.
President Obama asserted the unilateral power to "tweak" inconvenient laws in last Friday's news conference, underscoring his Administration's increasingly cavalier notions about law enforcement. So it's good that the judiciary-a coequal branch of government, in case the Administration forgot-is starting to check the White House.
In a major rebuke on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an unusual writ of mandamus, which is a direct judicial order compelling the government to fulfill a legal obligation. This "extraordinary remedy" is nominally about nuclear waste, writes Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the 2-1 majority, yet the case "raises significant questions about the scope of the Executive's authority to disregard federal statutes."
I doubt it. History isn't their strong suit. The last time there was so much buzz about the writ of mandamus may have been when the segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever crowd was still in office across the South. These politicians -- all Democrats by the way -- seemed to think it was perfectly OK to ignore civil rights laws they found inconvenient. Will conservative and libertarian legal foundations get busy and emulate what the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund did in the 1960s? Those lawyers -- my civil procedures professor, Norman C. Amaker, had been one of them -- became experts on the writ of mandamus as they petitioned the federal courts to insure federal laws were uniformly enforced. It would seem an appropriate thing to do today with an administration that insists policy debates are to be won after the fact via the "tweaking" of duly enacted legislation.