They come from Georgetown Law guy, Martin Lederman, and others at the Symposium on Administrative Reform of Immigration Law. Writing at Balkinization, Lederman makes ten points. Here are four:
-It’s not “unilateral” executive action because it derives from "statutorily delegated" discretion given by Congress to the Department of Homeland Security.
-Nor does it take a president acting like a "monarch" to accomplish. Instead, it is "'rooted' in the President’s constitutional duty to take care that the law is faithfully executed."
-It neither "cuts out" Congress nor "contradicts" Congress.
-And here's an important consideration for many doubters: It is not an "amnesty," nor does it afford anyone a license to violate any law. That is to say, Lederman writes, "it is not the exercise of a 'dispensation' power that the President does not have. And it does not give the covered aliens any status as lawful immigrants, or provide a means of them obtaining citizenship or permanent resident status."
There's plenty more. The arguments are compelling -- certainly arguments that can demolish the "gotchas" coming from the right. Maybe they can even siphon off the artificial hysteria in the media.
I know, I know. Hysteria is money in the pockets of the media, and a lot of the money finds its way into Republican campaign funds. Maybe we can find some lawyers to break that connection.
Also in the same neighborhood, a reminder from Balkinization and Mark Twain: ""Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
We're talking about the immigration speech. How did that damn man in the White House manage to defy an election outcome in which Republicans liked to think they gave him a whuppin'? Why wasn't he behavinglike a loser, dammit?
It was a quiet meeting on the eve of a political explosion.
At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, 30 or so members of the 2012 GOP freshman class of the House of Representatives gathered in a conference room in the Capitol Visitors Center for what’s become a monthly conclave. For the junior representatives, this was a chance to get some face time with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Everyone knew that the next evening, Obama planned to deliver an in-your-face rebuke to Boehner, who’d warned the president not to “play with matches” and act on his own to suspend deportation of millions of immigrants.
All of those gathered had reason to be angry: Here was the president pretending, absurdly, that he hadn’t just had his butt whipped in the midterms, and defying the biggest GOP House majority-to-come in more than 80 years. ...Politico
In other words, if the Republicans win the Senate in the midterms, that automatically also gives them, effectively, the power to nullify the president? Where do these naive members of Congress come from?
Politico goes on to report that the more flamboyant new Republican members have been persuaded, at least for now, to avoid the traps a seasoned, savvy White House sets for them. They may have learned a lesson or two from earlier government shutdowns engineered by a resentful GOP, shutdowns that voters didn't like...
Call it thoughtfulness — or call it confusion. All in all, the mild, somewhat subdued response to Obama’s immigration move is evidence that the uncompromising GOP insurgency that so paralyzed Washington in 2013 has lost some potency. ....Politico
Instead of getting into yet more trouble over shutdowns, it looks as though Congressional Republicans may use up their anger on each other. Still, given half a chance, they'd love to punish that uppity president for shrugging off the midterms losses and doing his job.
Hysteria doesn't seem to work against a relentlessly cool Barack Obama. So far, he hasn't had to be wired for sound, or to depend on wadded up socks in his pants.
The common wisdom now seems to be that the Wilson has been exonerated by the grand jury and that the decison will be announced soon. Or maybe it's that the decision will be announced just as soon as human and other barriers are in place. Or maybe -- and this sounds realistic -- the jury is hung, unable to reach a decision.
Police and protest organizers painstakingly laid the groundwork this weekend to avert street violence in Ferguson, Missouri, and the FBI sent in nearly 100 extra agents as a St. Louis-area grand jury was expected to soon announce its decision on whether to indict the white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August.
In a possible sign that an announcement on the grand jury’s decision is imminent, prosecutors told media organizations that they were making plans for a news conference to announce the outcome — but the date, time and location remained undetermined. ...AlJazeera
All this evidence of an almost military response probably does reflect the dread on the part of law enforcement that the public isn't going to like what the grand jury has decided.
Too much of what actually happened when Wilson shot Brown over and over again will have been left in doubt. Think of the implications for our justice system if the final decision is handed out to a suspicious community -- a community surrounded by local, state, and national law enforcement -- from a closed court. That Wilson could emerge from the grand jury without an indictment and without having to face an open trial leaves the community in limbo.
"Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done."
Maybe we'll get to see some records of the grand jury's proceedings ... They could be released at least in part ...But there are some if's.
Not a single child in my state of Texas will have Islam shoved down his throat. (Okay, her throat either, if you must.)
Nor will a single child graduate unless they are able to affirm that Ronald Reagan was, without a doubt, the best president we've ever had.
Got it? The corruption of America's history by people who treat Thomas Jefferson like a hero or try to make slavery look like some sort of scandal will not be tolerated.
We are a big state. We buy a significant percentage of textbooks. The history our state wants to teach is what other states will get as well. Don't complain. It's called "free market capitalism" and we're all for it in Texas. Thanks to us, your children will learn the importance of Moses in American history.
Well, not so much a plan as a somewhat interesting, largely nutsy and time-wasting, lawsuit directed at President Obama and involving (attacking) the Affordable Care Act. I'm not going to spend much time on this. Watching paint dry has become a lot more interesting than checking into God's Army's latest attack on the Black House.
It's that Kevin Drum catches the flavor of this legal action nicely. He explains: "Republicans are arguing that a provision of the law called Cost Sharing Reduction wasn't automatically funded, as were most parts of the law. The law authorizes CSR, but no appropriation was ever made, so it's illegal to actually pay out these funds."
Snore? Will the suit survive? Is it Benghazi or is it a real stain on a real dress?
Do they have a case? This is a brand new allegation, so I don't think anyone has yet had a chance to look into it. But if I had to guess, I'd say it's probably about as specious as every other allegation against Obamacare. Unfortunately, though, that doesn't mean the Supreme Court won't uphold it. You never know these days. In the meantime, conservatives are likely to be dizzy with excitement over the whole thing since (a) it involves a clear constitutional question about appropriating funds, and (b) it would hurt poor people. That's quite a twofer.
Of course, the suit still has to survive challenges to Congress' standing to sue in the first place, and that might kill it before any court even begins to judge the merits of the case. Wait and see....Drum,MoJo
Gosh. It's all so exciting.
BTW. It has occurred to me that some genius out there might want to take on a tiny bit of research. Every time Republicans do something ridiculous, a wide variety of news organizations (corporations) make huge bucks from messaging the news on to us. We're talking big profits from 24/7 news and talk, some of which profits trickle back into campaign funds. Tracking that path -- following the money closely -- might jolt us average citizens into understanding the extent of the damage done by our passion for minute-by-minute news. The Republicans seem to have a tight grasp on that powerful weapon and use it daily in national and local politics.
A whole bunch of them, according to Karthick Ramakrishnan of the University of California, are, in fact, Asians. One in eight "undocumented aliens" in the US come from the other side of the world, not Mexico and Central America. That's 1.5 million of the total.
Then, too, "most Latinos in the US," Ramakrishnan reminds us, are not immigrants. They are native-born. Here in Texas that's perhaps more obvious than in, say New Hampshire.
When a president gives several million undocumented aliens a chance at legitimacy, his targets aren't just Mexican immigrants, seeking economic opportunity, who crossed the southern border. Many other nationalities have contributed to our system for years and will tend to be affected by President Obama's speech.
Asians are the most heavily immigrant group. And when it comes to a major piece of immigration policy like what the President just announced, Asian immigrants are potentially very affected. That said, most of the attention is being given to enforcement priorities and much less to other aspects of what the President announced including things related to higher-skilled immigrants... But also other things the President did not announce like trying to substantially reduce the backlog in family visas. That's something that Asian Americans and their organizations care intensely about. They have not seen much discussion of that, either in public discourse or in the President's announcement. ...Karthick Ramakrishnan,NPR
I think it's important to add this little-discussed fact when talking about "illegal immigrants." It became part of the news in 2010, when the Washington Post ran this a article on Social Security. Excerpt:
In response to a research inquiry for a book I am writing on the economics of immigration, Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.
That represented an astounding 5.4 percent to 10.7 percent of the trust fund's total assets of $2.24 trillion that year. The cumulative contribution is surely higher now. Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion in 2007 alone, Goss said.
Previous estimates circulating publicly and in Congress had placed the annual contributions at roughly half of Goss's 2007 figure and listed the cumulative benefit on the order of $50 billion.
The Social Security trust fund faces a solvency crisis that would be even more pressing were it not for these payments.
"If for example we had not had other-than-legal immigrants in the country over the past," Goss e-mailed me, "then these numbers suggest that we would have entered persistent shortfall of tax revenue to cover [payouts] starting [in] 2009, or six years earlier than estimated under the 2010 Trustees Report." ...WaPo
Keep in mind that, as illegals, these contributors paid in but received no benefits from their payments. We're the ones who got the bennies.
Apparently Darren Wilson's exoneration by grand jury is a done deal.
It is widely believed by those that have followed developments in the case that Wilson will not be indicted on any serious charges in the Brown killing. ...AlJazeera
So, of course, America wants to know who's going to be in charge when the demonstrations start. "In charge!" That's a laugh, apparently. Greg Levine writes in Al Jazeera:
Nothing says authority like “Well I mean, we’re, um, it, uh, it, uh, you know.”
That was the response from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon when asked where the buck stops (to use the term popularized by the Show Me State’s favorite son, Harry Truman) when it comes to policing any demonstrations that might arise after the announcement of a grand jury decision on whether to indict Ferguson Police Officers Darren Wilson. Wilson shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown in August, sparking weeks of protests in the St. Louis suburb.
And the likelihood of an indictment seems to be in the realm of "not much chance."
“Well I mean, we’re, um, it, uh, it, uh, you know — our goal here is to, is to, is to — you know, keep the peace and allow folks’ voices to be heard,” Nixon said in his Monday press call. "I don't spend a tremendous amount of time personalizing this vis-a-vis me,” adding, “I’d prefer not to be a commentator on it.”
Governor Nixon seems to be one of those people who believe that "personalizing this vis-a-vis me" singles you out as a clear, educated leader in full command. But he's out the door now, rushing off to shoot and skin a couple of squirrels for dinner. He'd be handy to have in my yard. But I think Missouri deserves a better governor and, for crying out loud, a disciplined and humane law enforcement team.
It's come down to this: Congressional Republicans recognize -- eyes wide open -- that they have a mess on their hands. More than half their party in Congress is made up, effectively, of critters who've lived all their jungle lives way up in the canopies of tall trees and who have no idea about how life is managed down here on the ground where rivals and other hazards are waiting for them.
When it comes to unruly conservatives in Congress, House GOP leaders know they can’t control them — they can only hope to contain them.
This explains why party leaders are proceeding with extreme caution as they figure out how to respond to President Obama’s unilateral actions that would shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Top Republicans learned painful lessons from last year’s 16-day government shutdown and this summer’s messy, intraparty battle over how to respond to a surge of young immigrants from Central America — and they don’t want to repeat past mistakes.
How Republicans respond to the latest political crisis represents the first, big test for the party since it captured control of the Senate and boosted its House majority in this month’s midterm elections. ...TheHill
"Owning" Congress isn't going to be all that much fun for the Republican leadership. They may find themselves depending on the mellow good sense of remaining Democrats more than on their own caucus. The White House is now a declared enemy, and no wonder!
GOP leaders are working hard to get their own members on board the no-shutdown train.
They don’t want to be caught in a trap the White House sets to goad Republicans into shutting down the government or impeaching the president. ...TheHill
Republicans have now embarked on both roads to bringing down President Obama: impeachment and a law suit. Law professor Peter Schuck writes in the Times that the case for impeachment is fuzzy at best and that, in the end, impeachment is no legal remedy.
By constitutional design, impeachment for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” is a political accusation and initiates a political remedy, not a legal one. It is pretty much up to Congress to define and apply “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and no court would second-guess it. The next Congress could find that the president had violated his oath to “faithfully execute” the laws by refusing to enforce important provisions of the Affordable Care Act, No Child Left Behind and, now, the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The president surely has some power to withhold prosecution, but granting legal status and work permits to millions of people most likely exceeds his discretion. No judge can decide the precise scope of his discretion because no one, including Congress, has legal standing to challenge his order in court. ...NYT
It would be foolish for anyone to assume that a president -- a constitutional law professor and is surrounded by strategists and fellow lawyers -- hasn't worked through all the angles before "refusing to enforce important provisions of the Affordable Care Act, No Child Left Behind and, now, the Immigration and Nationality Act."
We are forced to return to the matter of judgment -- political and moral. And it becomes clearer and clearer that the Republicans who insist on law suits and impeachment are at best wasters of time and scarce resources while they continue to do way more harm than good.
The new Congress would accomplish nothing of consequence despite urgent national needs and voters’ demands for cooperation. This would deepen the public’s growing disgust with our government, a disgust that, properly directed, can spur needed reform, but if taken too far erodes the government’s capacity to do what only government can and must do. Perhaps most dangerous, impeachment of an already lame-duck president would further disable him for the next two years from defending American security and interests in a remorselessly turbulent, perilous world. All Americans should fervently pray that it doesn’t come to that. ...NYT
What remains intriguing (to me, anyway) is how smart the Constitution builders were when they left us with a set of standards and rules that force us to think for ourselves rather than be handed all the answers. The American solution is irritating but realistic: if members of Congress persist in being assholes, no rule book is going to set them on another path. That's our job.
Of course, we're the first and worst assholes. America itself sent these spit-'n'-cardboard losers to populate what we call a "Republican Congress." Believe me, there are Republican voters out there who are just as horrified as the generally more sensible (but culpable, non-voting) left.
The verdict of the grand jury in the matter of Officer Darren Wilson's shooting of Michael Brown may come this weekend, but in the meantime Wilson has let it be known that he won't be returning to the police department where he worked. At least one school in Ferguson will remain closed early next week in expectation that the jury's decision is about to be announced.
Discussions between Ferguson officials and Officer Wilson’s lawyers had begun in the last two months, some involved said, but tapered off without resolution. On several occasions, Ferguson officials have urged him to resign, but he has not agreed on the timing of his departure, an official with knowledge of the talks said Friday. The city does not plan to offer Officer Wilson, who says that he feared for his life when he encountered Mr. Brown and shot him, severance pay or any compensation in exchange for his resignation, an official said.
Ferguson personnel rules require that an investigation be completed in order to fire an employee. That has not yet happened, the official said. If Officer Wilson is indicted in Mr. Brown’s death, city officials have said, he will be fired. ...NYT
Whatever the jury's decision may be, the Justice Department will continue its investigation into the civil rights aspects of the killing as well as a pattern of civil rights violations on the part of the Ferguson police department.
What do we know about Darren Wilson, who he is and what kind of future he'll have? Not much. Just enough, maybe, to think, "Oh, okay. That's kind of sad."
What little is known about Wilson comes mostly from public records uncovered in the aftermath of the shooting. He comes from a fractured family, his mother marrying three times and then dying at 35 after being convicted of financial crimes. Wilson himself divorced last year. He began his police career in another St. Louis neighborhood, Jennings, whose department was disbanded over racial relations problems and a corruption scandal. Wilson then latched on at Ferguson. ...WaPo
That article in the Post got this reaction from a reader, "pascal64":
Thank you Washington Post, Barack Obama and most of black America. Thank you for ushering in the racial enmity that had faded to near insignificance in America since the 70s. Thank you for a daily crusade that stirs the resentments and distrust in a country that once gave half a million lives in the Civil War and trillions of dollars thereafter as an expression of love and fairness for a race that has failed to rise above the most backward behaviors in the human species.