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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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March 12, 2014 - 12:30 pm

The White House issued veto threats on Wednesday for a pair of bills reining in executive overreach that debuted and were debated on the House floor.

The Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law (ENFORCE the Law) Act of 2014 puts in place a procedure that would expedite the ability of the House or Senate to sue the executive branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a former prosecutor who introduced the bill, said a three-judge panel at the federal district court level followed by direct appeal to the Supreme Court is necessary so that the president can’t stall litigation until his term is up.

The Office of Management and Budget said in the veto threat that it “strongly opposes” the bill “because it violates the separation of powers by purporting to permit the Congress to challenge in court the exercise by the President of one of his core constitutional functions – taking care that Federal laws are faithfully executed.”

“Congress ordinarily has the power to define the bounds of the Executive Branch’s enforcement authority under particular statutes, and persons who claim to be harmed by the Executive Branch’s actions may challenge them as inconsistent with the governing statute,” the veto threat continues. “But the power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations. Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.”

Gowdy responded to the threat by citing a quote Obama said at a forum in 2008: “One of the most important jobs of the Supreme Court is to guard against the encroachment of the Executive Branch on the power of the other branches,” Obama said. “And, I think [the Chief Justice] has been a little bit too willing and eager to give an administration, whether it’s mine or George Bush’s, more power than I think the Constitution originally intended.”

“What’s changed?” Gowdy said. “How do you get before the Supreme Court if you don’t have standing?”

On the House floor, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said the intent of Gowdy’s bill is to “abolish the powers of the presidency because you disagree with policy.”

“Although I never attribute any malfeasance” to Republicans in the House, she said, “…we never did this with President Bush.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) reminded Democrats that they sued George W. Bush in 2008 over onetime Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers when they wanted to call her before the committee.

The second bill, the Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014 from Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), focuses on the Justice Department and expands the number of circumstances when the attorney general is required to report non-enforcement of the law to Congress.

“The bill would inordinately expand current law, which already requires reports to Congress when non-enforcement of Federal law is based on constitutional grounds. H.R. 3973 would further require reporting to Congress each time any Federal officer establishes or implements a formal or informal policy to refrain from enforcing or administering any provision of a Federal law, rule, regulation, program, or policy on any grounds,” the OMB said in a veto threat.

“Federal agencies are continually engaged in the process of determining how to concentrate limited enforcement resources most effectively. The vastly expanded reporting scheme required by the bill would be unduly burdensome and would place the Attorney General in the unprecedented position of having to be kept informed of and report on enforcement decisions made by every other Federal agency.”

Democrats on the floor expressed concern that this would dial back deferred immigration enforcement against young illegal immigrants. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said there is a “well-established use of prosecutorial discretion” in immigration cases and accused GOPs of a “voracious” urge to deport young people.

Gowdy used drug cases subject to selective prosecution as an example of how Eric Holder was not using prosecutorial discretion, but “anarchy.”

Propping a picture of the Constitution up on the floor, Goodlatte argued that the bills are necessary as the administration has been tweaking or subverting the laws through blog posts and letters, circumventing congressional authority.

Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) compared the debate to the Emancipation Proclamation. “President Lincoln made a decision to not enforce existing laws,” Conyers said, which was “not only legal and a military turning point but morally correct.”

Conyers said passage would “make it far more difficult to protect our citizens’ rights.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Tyranny must be opposed by any means possible.
Patriots to the streets!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) compared the debate to the Emancipation Proclamation. “President Lincoln made a decision to not enforce existing laws,” "

Get back to us, Johnny, when we have a Republican President behaving in the manner of obama...you Dems are just begging for it.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) compared the debate to the Emancipation Proclamation. “President Lincoln made a decision to not enforce existing laws,” Conyers said, which was “not only legal and a military turning point but morally correct.”"

Conyers is ignorant of the Constitution and US History, not surprisingly for a progressive Democrat. Lincoln's proclamation applied only in the rebelling states or in areas under their control: http://goo.gl/EZK7U . He had this authority under his Article II powers as command in chief and meant it as a measure to damage the Confederacy's economy. It did not apply in the Union, nor did Lincoln ever think it did, because he knew he didn't have that authority.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
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He should sign it and then just change it the way he has the ACA.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Conflict of interest?" Perfectly ok in government.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The congressional democrats would be content with a dictatorship provided that dictator was Obama.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Call his bluff on it. If he vetoes it, it's time for a revolution.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I want to see the teleprompter tell us why Presidential oath of office is no longer "controlling authority".
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
How will it get through the Senate?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
2015
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The answer to Barry thinking he is Castro, Chivas or one of his other heroes is a two thirds majority for Republicans in Congress next year. Then they can simply tell His Royal Hind-ass "Just spend all not just your traditional 2/3rds of your time on vacation. Move to Hawaii play golf, swim, shoot hoops. The adults are back in-charge.

We will mail you the new reform laws to veto and we will then over-ride and start to fix your mess. If you prefer just ignore them and they will be law without your signature.

If you want to talk with your fellow thugs ie Attorney General Holder et al we we will ask the judge to send them to Federal prisons close by.

We are sorry you got caught in the mess of voters thinking one black parent made you so special you did not need any other qualifications.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.” so saith the kinyun. Well, he's wrong once again. Congress is not assigning power to itself in this instance, it is merely functioning under the pwoers given them under the Constitution.. remember that bit of stuff, Mister Pres? And it is that same document limits HIS power to "faithfully executing the LAWS of the United States". Which he does when it suits him. He has NO authority to sign his own laws by executive fiat. So, dumie, put down your pen and your phone. They are NOT appropriate tools the way you use them. It is the duty of CONGRESS to enact laws (once enacted, and ONLY then, can you use your pen to sign into law or veto them).
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The emperor doesn't like having someone remind him he isn't emperor.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gee, what if the congress simply "went around" the president in typical Obama fashion. How would he like a little taste of his OWN medicine? Never happen, but it's fun to imagine.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The excessive reporting requirements is nonsense from the start. Selective enforcement is a very real issue because of limited resources. Putting aside the fact that the real answer is to reduce the amount of enforcement required by getting rid of extra-constitutional laws, all they would have to do is forward a copy of whatever document they use internally to determine enforcement priorities. For a department to have enforcement priorities is natural but would require publishing them to employees so they could be followed. There's your notification to Congress right there, CC Congress...problem solved.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The long anticipated and promised "Shot Across The Bow" from the Executive to the Legislature and Judiciary of the Constitutional Republc of the USA once upon a time aka A Country of Law?

The "transparent" glove in the face?

What might we expect from the chest beating lions in Congress and Judiciary as CO- Equal to the Executive for the LAWFUL Administration of the government of that Republic of the USA?

In which the Supreme Law of the Land LIMITS THE POWERS of the "holders" of ALL Offices of that government.

To assure which organised into three branches with Co - Equal powers AND responsibilities for government administration of that Republic.

As "Constitutional Schoiar" we assume BH Obama,/ "educated" in the foremost institutions of "higher learnning" and even the Law, knows this.

And that HE, BH Obama, in full view of the world swore/affirmed on oath administered by the Chief Justice of that Republic's Supreme Court to UPHOLD and Defend that Supreme Law of the Land..

Despite which it has been recently reported even by his obeisant /compliant Media that he need not concern himself with laws as he can always sign an Executive Order to get what he wants.

AS He did on first taking up the Executive Chair. Executive Order SEALING unspecified documents from public review. Does that public include members of those Co- Equal Branches for the LAWFUL Administration of the government?

YET no single member of those central agencies has showed the slightest curiosity about WHAT documents and WHY Sealied. Nor the TIMING of that Sealing.

INSTEAD dismissed those citizens uneasy about the entire provenance of BH Obama as disgruntled losers. racists, or simply lunatics and "right wing fruitcakes" withi the catchall "birthers".

BUT are there more things in those sealed documents than are dreamed of in their philosophies. Which to date no member of the Co-Equal branches has deigned to examine or investigate.

AS IF so inconsequent to be not worth a moment of their exalted time.

Olde tyme teaching? Caution when buiying a pig in a poke, or a cat in a bag. And give them an inch and they'll take a mile.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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