Many people I know - liberal and conservative - are discussing the President's decision to not remove young illegal immigrants in our country who meet certain conditions. Many of these people, both left and right, agree with the concept.
But - there's one small problem.
With our form of government, the President does not have the constitutional authority to do this.
A president cannot claim discretion honestly to say that he will not enforce an entire law — especially where, as here, the executive branch is enforcing the rest of immigration law.
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.
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.
In particular, my liberal friends may applaud what Obama did today. Yet no matter what their beliefs on this particular part of our law, they ought not to at all. Look at the examples that John Yoo gives above. If we think it's OK for this president to do this - then it should be OK for any president, irrespective of the issue and his own beliefs.
We have separation of powers and a balance in our government for good reasons. We do not have a king.
Apparently some of us (ahem) - are not aware of this. Even if they did once teach constitutional law.....