Appeals Court Upholds Decision on Obama Amnesty Ploy

Editor’s Note – It’s the rule-of-law Mr. Obama! Okay, maybe not for the Obama and Clinton types who rule by fiat and expect you to take the punishment and just ask for another one.

Fortunately we have Texas, a state none-to-pleased with Obama’s unilateral executive orders, especially on illegal immigrants and numerous suits and attacks on that state’s government and a court system with a spine. They had Judge Andrew Hanen, a sober and sane judge who ordered Obama’s DHS to stop its unilateral deportation amnesty and support scheme.

In December, 2014, Texas and 25 other states, including North Carolina, filed a lawsuit in the  Southern District Court of Texas seeking to block both DAPA and expanded DACA. The main grounds for their suit were the costs of issuing driver’s licenses and other associated costs of giving the undocumented immigrants legal status. Other issues being considered included exceeding executive power, failure to adhere to rulemaking procedures, and standing — the right of the states to challenge federal immigration policies.

On February 16, 2015, Judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction blocking both programs from going into effect. Current DACA requirements and two-year terms were supposed to remain unchanged and DAPA has not been implemented. (Read more here at the National Law Review.)

And then the judge had to reprimand the DOJ lawyers:

A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday angrily denied the federal government’s request to allow President Obama’s immigration executive actions to proceed, even as an appeals court signaled that it might disagree with the judge when it takes up the issue next week.

Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Brownsville, refused late Tuesday night to lift the injunction he had placed in February on the president’s program, saying that to do so would cause irreparable harm. (Read more here.)

Then, that ruling was upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, so now what is Obama and his Department of Justice (for friends only, weaponized for enemies) want to appeal to the Supreme Court:

President Obama will ask the Supreme Court to clear the way for his long-delayed immigration overhaul, administration lawyers said Tuesday, setting up another high-stakes legal contest in the nation’s highest court over the fate of one of the president’s signature achievements.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that it will appeal a federal appeals court ruling that blocked Mr. Obama’s plan to provide work permits to as many as five million undocumented immigrants while shielding most of them from deportation.

“The Department of Justice remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow DHS to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children,” said Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Justice Department. “The Department disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s adverse ruling and intends to seek further review from the Supreme Court of the United States.” (Read more here at the NY Times.)

We hate to break it to you Mr. Rodenbush, what your team is trying to do is anti-constitutional…but you really knew that already didn’t you? It’s called Article I, Section 8, Clause 4: Naturalization and was confirmed as follows in 1795:

Congress claimed exclusive authority over naturalization by establishing new conditions—”and not otherwise”—for aliens “to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them.” In Chirac v. Lessee of Chirac (1817), the Supreme Court affirmed that “the power of naturalization is exclusively in congress,” notwithstanding any state laws to the contrary. (Read extensive summary here at the Heritage Foundation.)

Once again, a co-equal branch of our federal government had to intervene and set the Obama administration straight. In fact, the appeals court used Obama’s very own words from the many times prior in which he said he could not do what he eventually did anyway – another end run around Congress. Read more here at Politico’s “Appeals court keeps block on Obama immigration actions.”

So much for the imperialism of this Presidency, welcome back rule-of-law! SCOTUS must continue to find for the constitution in this latest appeal as well.

Judges use Obama’s own words to halt deportation amnesty

A federal appeals court said President Obama’s own words claiming powers to “change the law” were part of the reason it struck down his deportation amnesty, in a ruling late Monday that reaffirmed the president must carry out laws and doesn’t have blanket powers to waive them.

ObamaFifthCircuit

The 2-1 ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals punctures Mr. Obama’s immigration plans and is the latest in a series of major court rulings putting limits on the president’s claims of expansive executive powers to enact his agenda without having to get congressional buy-in.

In an opinion freighted with meaning for the separation of powers battles, Judge Jerry E. Smith, writing for himself and Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, singled out Mr. Obama’s own claim that he acted to rewrite the law because Congress wouldn’t pass the bill he wanted.

The key remark came in a speech in Chicago just days after his Nov. 20, 2014, announcement detailing his executive actions. Fed up with a heckler who was chiding him for boosting the number of deportations, Mr. Obama fired back, agreeing that he’d overseen a spike in deportations.

“But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” the president said.

The two judges said the Justice Department failed to explain away Mr. Obama’s remarks.

“At oral argument, and despite being given several opportunities, the attorney for the United States was unable to reconcile that remark with the position that the government now takes,” Judge Smith wrote.

Whether Mr. Obama acted within the law is the crux of the case.

Texas and 25 other states, which sued to stop the amnesty, argue Mr. Obama went beyond the boundaries set in the Immigration and Nationality Act, which sets out specific instances where, on a case-by-case basis, the Homeland Security secretary can waive penalties and allow illegal immigrants to stay, granting them work permits which then entitle them to Social Security cards, tax credits and state driver’s licenses.

A federal district court in Texas agreed with the states, halting Mr. Obama’s policy, and now an appeals court has also sided with the states.

Writing in dissent on Monday, Judge Carolyn Dineen King dismissed Mr. Obama’s claim that he changed the law, saying presidents often use imprecise language when talking about laws. She said Mr. Obama wasn’t making a legal argument in his response to the heckler.

Mr. Obama’s plan, known officially as Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals, or DAPA, was intended to grant up to 5 million illegal immigrants a proactive three-year stay of deportation and to give them work permits, allowing them to come out of the shadows and join American society — though they were still considered to be in the country illegally. To qualify, illegal immigrants had to be parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident children.

The president characterized his plan as a use of prosecutorial discretion, reasoning that he was never going to deport them anyway, so they should be granted some more firm status.

But the court ruled that he not only didn’t follow the usual rules in making a major policy change, but that his claims of power to grant tentative legal status to a massive class of people went beyond the waiver powers Congress granted him in the law.

Monday’s decision is already reverberating across the presidential debate, with Hispanic-rights activists insisting Mr. Obama file an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court, and vowing to make immigration an issue in the 2016 election.