The Corner

Vote for Gridlock?

Mickey Kaus endorses Obama, but in a characteristically counter-intuitive way, part of his rationale being that Obama would be less likely to succeed in getting an illegal-alien amnesty through Congress. His closing graf:

The ideal kausfiles election outcome, when it comes to achieving that end [“preserve salutary gridlock on Obamacare and immigration” — MK], seems  … well, you tell me: We’d need a) Republicans to retain control of the House and at least their current filibuster veto in the Senate while b) Obama loses every state in which Romney has attacked him on his welfare backsliding (Ohio, Colorado) while c) Latinos provide a winning margin nowhere; yet d) Obama somehow wins. Seems unlikely! The actual returns will be less than “optimal,” as Jon Stewart might say. But we can come close.

Specifically on amnesty, Mickey’s both right and wrong. It’s almost certainly true that Romney would be more likely to get some kind of immigration legislation passed, though I think it would be something more limited than he fears. But Mickey is missing the elephant in the room: Obama no longer needs congressional assent to make immigration policy. First, through a series of memos, he simply exempted from immigration enforcement virtually all illegal aliens, except those with non-immigration-related felony convictions. Then, starting in August, Obama unilaterally launched an ostensibly temporary amnesty, complete with work cards and Social Security numbers, for up to 2 million illegal aliens who came here before age 16. Everyone understands the legal status awarded to these illegal immigrants will never be rescinded.

In other words, the reduced likelihood of Congress passing a formal amnesty under a President Obama than a President Romney is not really relevant because Congress is arguably now the least important branch of government when it comes to making law. Important laws are passed either by five justices of the Supreme Court or now by the Caesar president alone, not just on immigration but on a whole range of issues. Congress has acceded to this state of affairs, and if the voters reelect the president, one could plausibly argue that the Constitution’s requirement that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” has been rendered a dead letter. We would have a new constitutional practice, perhaps even a new “regime” in the political-science sense, wherein the princeps determines which of Congress’s “laws” to enforce and even to promulgate new ones contrary to Congress’s wishes, rendering the Congress more an advisory body than a legislative one.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Michael Mann Succeed

I  enjoyed the running joke of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in the great Dickens novel Bleak House, back when I first read it. Little did I know that one day I and the magazine that I love would effectively be caught up in a version of that interminable case, courtesy of a litigious climate scientist with zero regard ... Read More
White House

What Is Impeachment For?

W hat is impeachment for? Seems like a simple question. Constitutionally speaking, it also appears to have a simple answer: to cite and remove from power a president guilty of wrongdoing. Aye, there’s the rub. What sort of wrongdoing warrants removal from power? I’d wager that the flames of ... Read More
Elections

Beto Proposes to Oppress Church with State

Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is within the margin of error of non-existence, but in his failure he has found a purpose: expressing the Democratic id. His latest bid for left-wing love came at a CNN forum on gay rights, where he said that churches that oppose same-sex marriage should have to pay ... Read More