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.
This, for those who don't know, is the John Yoo who went on the Daily Show and argued with a straight face that the president has the authority to crush the testicles of people he's arbitrarily had detained. It's also the same John Yoo who argued in a document that was never supposed to see the light of day that the president has the authority to intentionally deceive Congress if he judges it necessary.
In the Yooniverse, then, the following is an outrageous violation of presidential power.
- Tell justice department to not deport a given subset of illegal immigrants;
- Tell Congress that a given subset of illegal immigrants are terrorists working to destroy America;
- Refuse to say how or why this is the case;
- Round up given subset of illegal immigrants and hold them indefinitely without charge;
- Define the area in which they are to be confined to as the entire country.
(To be serious for a moment, I'm not entirely sure what Obama's proposed is actually legal, though that's my obvious lack of specialist knowledge talking, not informed doubt. Either way, I',not willing to accept Yoo as an authority here, nor am I remotely persuaded by his argument (echoed by others) that this is setting a dangerous precedent, mainly because this sort of thing has already been done. And by Republican presidents, no less. Which reminds us once again that there's nothing the Republican Party screams about longer and louder about than the Democrats adopting their tactics.)
Update: My thanks to Dan for pointing out my idiotic mis-spelling of Yoo's name for the first half of the post. I've fixed it now.