Tag: Executive Action

First Principles: When Is Executive Action Acceptable?


On Friday, President Trump took the step of declaring a national emergency for the purposes of helping build a wall on the US border with Mexico. I do not wish to litigate that decision here. If you want to discuss the merits or details of that decision, we already have a great conversation about that which you can find here.

Rather, I want to discuss the general principles that make one kind of presidential action acceptable and another not acceptable, and where the line should be drawn between the two.

Curb Your Enthusiasm for Immigration Decision


Opponents of President Obama’s immigration policy may want to temper their praise of federal Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision this week, which blocked the administration’s unilateral policy of refusing to pursue the deportation of millions of illegal aliens. Unfortunately, I think it is likely that an appeals court will reverse Judge Hanen’s decision because it tried — too cleverly — to avoid the fundamental issue of the President’s duty to enforce the law by relying instead on a technical aspect of the law governing administrative agencies. But when the case returns to the trial court, the judge will have to face the critical conflict between the Obama policy and the executive’s constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Judge Hanen, who sits in Brownsville, Texas, issued a 123-page opinion explaining why Texas and 25 other states had the right to challenge the Department of Homeland Security. That part of the decision, which showed why the states were harmed by the federal policy, and so had “standing” to sue in federal court, is likely to be upheld on appeal. As I’ve argued before, the same logic that allowed Massachusetts to sue the EPA for failing to regulate greenhouse gases — on the speculative possibility that gases would lead to global warming, which would lead to rising seas, which would reduce the land mass of the state — would more powerfully support states who had to provide services to illegal aliens allowed to remain in the United States by the Obama Administration. Judge Hanen pointed out that Texas would suffer a sufficient harm to sue because it would have to bear expenses to provide illegal aliens with driver’s licenses. Hanen’s opinion straightforwardly rebuts the weak claims of Obama supporters who believed that states had no right to sue in court.

Ted Cruz Updates Cicero for President Obama


In the great sweep of history, President Obama’s executive overreach is nothing new. While it’s a unique threat to the American Constitution, throughout human history vain executives have tried to grab undue power while bold leaders have tried to push them back.

Always one to seize a moment, Sen. Ted Cruz updated a two-millennia old speech by Marcus Tullius Cicero. Considered one of Rome’s greatest orators, Cicero served as Consul when a senator named Catiline attempted to kill him and overthrow the Republic. Cicero exposed the plot with a powerful speech — one that Senator Cruz repackages here, updated with a few modern touches:

Member Post


 Based on the results of the 2014 election, I am puzzled by President Obama’s reaction to it.  The voters indicated their highest priority as they went to the polls was the economy and jobs.  Yet Obama’s policy reaction in the last week was executive action on immigration, support for net neutrality, and an “agreement” with […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.