Author Topic: NY Times editorial supports President Obama, and its readers appear to disagree  (Read 4550 times)

Seriati

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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/20/opinion/the-supreme-court-the-nativists-and-immigrants.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

I have to say, I'm impressed.  Unsurprisingly, the NY Times editorial board ignores the actual law to come down firmly in the Obama camp on his abuse of executive authority to change our immigration laws.  What is surprising is the overwhelming negative response of the readers on its message board.  I've read many comments on the NY Times and they are often overwhelming supportive of the left, but on this thread even those on the left are expressing concern about a President overstepping his authority and re-writing the law.

Happy to hear any thoughts on the actual subject matter, ie the Supreme Court's taking on the case, or on the NY Time's arguments about it, or even on my surprise with respect to the reader opinions.

AI Wessex

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I was surprised to hear that in accepting the case, the SC expanded their review of the case to include the "take care" clause of the Constitution.  Neither the complainant, the lower courts nor the Appeals Courts thought that was relevant or included it in their arguments.  I heard a legal analyst say this morning that this is the first time in history that the SC has done something like that.  Here is the full text of Article II, Section 3:
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He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

NobleHunter

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I should probably look into it more, but I'm not sure how the States have standing to sue. On the face of it, I agree with the article's point that it sounds like permission for the States to use the Courts to meddle in Federal jurisdiction. It seems unwise.

On the other hand, there does seem to be a legitimate question of constitutional authority. Namely, how much leeway does the Presdient have to accomplish a task which Congress requires but has not funded. Is the Executive obliged to maintain the appearance of enforcement even though there are insufficient resources to carry out that enforcement. My understanding of the situation Obama was just giving consistency and direction to what limited resources were already causing to occur.

On the tentacle, it'd be nice to make explicit to Congress that they either have to see that sufficient resources are made available to the Executive so that it can carry out its assigned tasks or modify those tasks. Saying "do this" but then not make enough money available is essentially giving the Executive the authority to decide which parts of "this" get done.

On the other pseudopod, it might be nicer to smack the Executive down for using a shortage of resources to make explicit policy. It's one thing to assign priorities, it's another to say "these are the parts of the law we're going to ignore because **** you Congress." Without some sort of change in process, there's too many things which will never be completely funded to allow the Executive this kind of manuvering room.

AI Wessex

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I should probably look into it more, but I'm not sure how the States have standing to sue. On the face of it, I agree with the article's point that it sounds like permission for the States to use the Courts to meddle in Federal jurisdiction. It seems unwise.

On the other hand, there does seem to be a legitimate question of constitutional authority. Namely, how much leeway does the Presdient have to accomplish a task which Congress requires but has not funded. Is the Executive obliged to maintain the appearance of enforcement even though there are insufficient resources to carry out that enforcement. My understanding of the situation Obama was just giving consistency and direction to what limited resources were already causing to occur.
I tend to agree.  It would seem that if the Congress passes a law and they believe the President has not "faithfully executed" it, that Congress should sue.  But, does Congress really have that standing, either?  I've always thought that the only thing Congress can do is impeach the President.  The Constitution lays impeachment out as the only remedy available for crimes committed by the President while in office.  This may turn out to be the most activist thing any SC has ever done, where they are superseding and usurping the power of Congress to measure the President's performance against his (her) responsibilities.

NobleHunter

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Impeachment is a clumsy tool for restricting Presidental power, especially given its recent uses.

It also under dispute if there has been a crime. Congress is not well equipped to make that determination. The SC may not be either but most people can pretend that it is.

D.W.

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On the tentacle,
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On the other pseudopod,
I think I'm going to steal these like an apathetic teen doing a last minute book report.  :)

D.W.

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It seems a little shady to see large gains in executive power, or at least attempts to consolidate that power, then see the genie put back into the bottle before the opposition gets the chance to take their wishes...

Seeing PotUS flipping the bird to the "do nothing congress" did feel good in the short term, but right away I worried this would cause more grief that it was worth down the road.

Seriati

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I was surprised to hear that in accepting the case, the SC expanded their review of the case to include the "take care" clause of the Constitution.  Neither the complainant, the lower courts nor the Appeals Courts thought that was relevant or included it in their arguments.  I heard a legal analyst say this morning that this is the first time in history that the SC has done something like that. 
I thought that was interesting myself, can't say I know enough about SC procedure to know if it's the first time they've done it, usually more interested in the finished products.  They have on plenty of occasions ordered a lower court to reconsider an issue after they heard it when they decide the court didn't resolve the case on the correct grounds and want to see the arguments played out.  I'm guessing that both sides request for haste in the resolution called for them to make this request so the issue can be resolved now rather than returned to the federal circuit court and then sent back.

On the substance, using prosecutorial discretion to chose to stop enforcing the law is not within the intent of the "take care" clause.  Every level of the state and federal government wastes time today on minor violations notwithstanding that they are more concerned with big ticket items.  There's no validity to the idea that low priority cases should be halted to preserve resources for high priority cases.

I'm also fascinated by the apparent propaganda back fire of the current administration.  As a result of a change in how deportations are counted, the Obama administration has presented itself as deporting more people than prior administrations, notwithstanding that they have virtually ceased deporting anyone from the interior of the country.  So notwithstanding the administration is deporting less people than others, it has managed to get its President labeled the Deporter-in-Chief and cause dissatisfaction among Hispanic voters.
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Originally posted by NobleHunter:

I should probably look into it more, but I'm not sure how the States have standing to sue. On the face of it, I agree with the article's point that it sounds like permission for the States to use the Courts to meddle in Federal jurisdiction. It seems unwise.
Honestly, the states should have standing to sue when the federal government is not enforcing its own laws to their detriment.  Here their standing comes from the increased costs that they are required to incur based on the "legal" status grant to those whose immigration status is being altered.  Honestly, I think we are at the point where we may need an amendment to allow the states to act when the federal government is being deliberately negligent.  It's one thing to argue pre-emption doctrine when the federal government is taking an active role on these matters, but it's quite another to argue for it when the federal government is not enforcing the law.  You don't have to go much further than looking at the federal governments active attack on Arizona versus its completely ignoring "sanctuary" cities to see its real intent is to ignore its own laws.
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On the other hand, there does seem to be a legitimate question of constitutional authority. Namely, how much leeway does the Presdient have to accomplish a task which Congress requires but has not funded. Is the Executive obliged to maintain the appearance of enforcement even though there are insufficient resources to carry out that enforcement. My understanding of the situation Obama was just giving consistency and direction to what limited resources were already causing to occur.
Lol.  Congress has funded how many officers and agents for immigration enforcement?  How many attorneys in the justice department?  How many federal agents that could arrest and detain illegal immigrants if they chose?  How many that could audit and punish employers?  When the IRS audits someone could they not report them to justice for hiring illegal immigrant housekeepers?

It's a lie to claim this is about prioritizing limited resources.  This is about deliberately choosing not to enforce the federal laws in good faith.
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On the other pseudopod, it might be nicer to smack the Executive down for using a shortage of resources to make explicit policy. It's one thing to assign priorities, it's another to say "these are the parts of the law we're going to ignore because **** you Congress." Without some sort of change in process, there's too many things which will never be completely funded to allow the Executive this kind of manuvering room.
The executive has sufficient resources to enforce this law, every previous administration managed it with less resources.

We're getting to the point where we're choosing to empower a King to "get things done," without considering that the things they get done may not be in our interests.  That's always been the problem with Kings, they aren't terribly accountable.

AI Wessex

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On the substance, using prosecutorial discretion to chose to stop enforcing the law is not within the intent of the "take care" clause.  Every level of the state and federal government wastes time today on minor violations notwithstanding that they are more concerned with big ticket items.  There's no validity to the idea that low priority cases should be halted to preserve resources for high priority cases.
Are you saying that the federal government has to process work strictly based on the chronological order it shows up in their inbox?  They never get to decide which things to focus on or set priorities based on a variety of different criteria?
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Honestly, the states should have standing to sue when the federal government is not enforcing its own laws to their detriment.
I can't think of any law to which that criteria would not apply.  It's a useless qualification.
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Lol.  Congress has funded how many officers and agents for immigration enforcement?  How many attorneys in the justice department?  How many federal agents that could arrest and detain illegal immigrants if they chose?  How many that could audit and punish employers?  When the IRS audits someone could they not report them to justice for hiring illegal immigrant housekeepers?

It's a lie to claim this is about prioritizing limited resources.  This is about deliberately choosing not to enforce the federal laws in good faith.
But you just explained how the exact opposite is in fact the case.  Thank you :).

NobleHunter

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Honestly, the states should have standing to sue when the federal government is not enforcing its own laws to their detriment.  Here their standing comes from the increased costs that they are required to incur based on the "legal" status grant to those whose immigration status is being altered.  Honestly, I think we are at the point where we may need an amendment to allow the states to act when the federal government is being deliberately negligent.  It's one thing to argue pre-emption doctrine when the federal government is taking an active role on these matters, but it's quite another to argue for it when the federal government is not enforcing the law.  You don't have to go much further than looking at the federal governments active attack on Arizona versus its completely ignoring "sanctuary" cities to see its real intent is to ignore its own laws.
The States are better plaintiffs than Congress would be and lack other avenues of remedy. Devolving problem-solving to the State would be a decent check on centralized executive, but it raises thorny questions about what to do when/if Congress starts functioning again. The stuff reserved to the Federal government rests there for good reasons.
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The executive has sufficient resources to enforce this law, every previous administration managed it with less resources.
If that were true, there wouldn't be millions of illegal immigrants in your country. Rather the evidence is that executive has almost never had the resources to enforce immigration law.

Seriati

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On the substance, using prosecutorial discretion to chose to stop enforcing the law is not within the intent of the "take care" clause.  Every level of the state and federal government wastes time today on minor violations notwithstanding that they are more concerned with big ticket items.  There's no validity to the idea that low priority cases should be halted to preserve resources for high priority cases.
Are you saying that the federal government has to process work strictly based on the chronological order it shows up in their inbox?  They never get to decide which things to focus on or set priorities based on a variety of different criteria?
Show me where I said that.  I said that there is no validity to the idea that focusing on big ticket items excludes the little ones.  Are you silly enough to honestly believe that every resource the federal government has is best tuned only to chase the big case?  That there literally is no capacity to enforce the other laws?  Fact is, even just partial enforcement of a law deters the activity that it represents.  That's so well understood a phenomena to be beyond debate.  Choosing to not enforce it at all is not a matter of priority its a deliberate choice to undermine the law.
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Honestly, the states should have standing to sue when the federal government is not enforcing its own laws to their detriment.
I can't think of any law to which that criteria would not apply.  It's a useless qualification.
I feel like you're arguing in bad faith.  Name 10 laws the federal government is not enforcing to the detriment of the states.

Seriati

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The States are better plaintiffs than Congress would be and lack other avenues of remedy. Devolving problem-solving to the State would be a decent check on centralized executive, but it raises thorny questions about what to do when/if Congress starts functioning again. The stuff reserved to the Federal government rests there for good reasons.
Agreed it has been devolved to the federal government for good reason. But the federal government has been charged with enforcing a policy, not ignoring it.  This has nothing to do with Congress, the laws are there, the ability and resources to make a difference in enforcement are there, its the Admin's choice to deliberately undermine the law.
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The executive has sufficient resources to enforce this law, every previous administration managed it with less resources.
If that were true, there wouldn't be millions of illegal immigrants in your country. Rather the evidence is that executive has almost never had the resources to enforce immigration law.
Resources?  Or desire and will?  You can ask any partisan why the leadership on the otherside allows illegal immigration to continue and get plausible answers.  It's the majority of the population, not apparently the leaders, who want this to happen.  Doesn't mean its okay to act as this Administration is acting (which is qualitatively worse than previous administrations, who also for the most part acted poorly).

NobleHunter

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Agreed it has been devolved to the federal government for good reason. But the federal government has been charged with enforcing a policy, not ignoring it.  This has nothing to do with Congress, the laws are there, the ability and resources to make a difference in enforcement are there, its the Admin's choice to deliberately undermine the law.
But not to enforce the law against everyone they can reasonably demonstrate broke it. Since they can't deport all illegal immigrants they have to make decisions about which ones they will deport. Until and unless they can enforce the law evenly, the Executive must decide how best to enforce the law unevenly. I don't see how explicit statements of policy are significantly worse than de facto expressions of policy by consistently prioritizing certain actions over others.

Seriati

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But not to enforce the law against everyone they can reasonably demonstrate broke it. Since they can't deport all illegal immigrants they have to make decisions about which ones they will deport. Until and unless they can enforce the law evenly, the Executive must decide how best to enforce the law unevenly. I don't see how explicit statements of policy are significantly worse than de facto expressions of policy by consistently prioritizing certain actions over others.
Because there is a difference between prioritizing and declaring that you won't enforce.  It was posed earlier how this confusion could be abused in other cases.  What would be the result of an administration declaring that it will no longer enforce laws against pick pocketing because it wants to focus on bigger ticket items?  Not putting additional cops in areas with lots of pick pockets because they are sent to areas with lots of rapes is a priority choice, refusing to prosecute pick pockets at all is a completely different issue.

Plenty of low priority cases would be brought as a natural consequence of everyday interaction with minimal cost or effort, unless you choose to deliberately undermine the law.  Heck low priority case are often ideal for training junior level staff.

AI Wessex

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I feel like you're arguing in bad faith.  Name 10 laws the federal government is not enforcing to the detriment of the states.
No need, the implication you gave is that by being selective in enforcement the government is failing in its responsibilities.  My point is that the government (and every organization private or public) has to prioritize according to budget and/or ability to deliver services.

NobleHunter

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Because there is a difference between prioritizing and declaring that you won't enforce.  It was posed earlier how this confusion could be abused in other cases.  What would be the result of an administration declaring that it will no longer enforce laws against pick pocketing because it wants to focus on bigger ticket items?  Not putting additional cops in areas with lots of pick pockets because they are sent to areas with lots of rapes is a priority choice, refusing to prosecute pick pockets at all is a completely different issue.

Plenty of low priority cases would be brought as a natural consequence of everyday interaction with minimal cost or effort, unless you choose to deliberately undermine the law.  Heck low priority case are often ideal for training junior level staff.
Minimal cost and effort adds up, nor is effort or cost necessarily a good metric for the use of an official's time. A department could spend all their resources catching pickpockets for easy convictions or they could go after a serial killer or bank fraud.

Not to mention, which course exposes the decision not to enforce a particular law (if officers don't bother arresting pickpockets because they're busy with more serious crimes, they still aren't enofrcing the law on pickpockets) to public scrutiny? Would you really prefer a de facto policy cloaked in a mountain of details and minutia or a clear statement of intent?

Seriati

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Choosing to ignore a crime, pick pocketing, that occurs directly in front of an officer without a pressing need is undermining the law.  Choosing to chase after an attempted murderer instead of stopping to arrest a pick pocket is a priority choice.  Declaring that pick pockets won't be prosecuted flatly is not a priority choice, as it establishes that even if the officer is just standing around doing nothing else he's not going to enforce that law.  Declaring systematically that millions of people who are  in violation of the law, whom our laws specify should face being deported will not face that risk even when there is little cost or effort required is flatly not a prioritization decision.

I don't feel like I'm being unclear on any of these distinctions.  I grant you minimal is not free and it adds up, but I flatly dispute that there is any practical truth to the claim that the federal government has no economic choice but to ignore these cases.  It's a propaganda claim, nothing more.

And AI, once again you make an unsupportable and ridiculous claim and when challenged on it dodge away.  I wish on you the government you deserve.

NobleHunter

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I don't feel like I'm being unclear on any of these distinctions.  I grant you minimal is not free and it adds up, but I flatly dispute that there is any practical truth to the claim that the federal government has no economic choice but to ignore these cases.  It's a propaganda claim, nothing more.
It must ignore some cases because it can't act on all of them. Unless you're claiming the government has the ability to deport everyone who's in the country illegally.

I feel you're emphasizing the appearance of the law at the expense of practicality. If a law is not being enforced whether from local decisions or habit among the police, the interested parties tend to figure it out pretty quickly. Stating outright that people aren't going to be deported if they don't cause trouble or otherwise gain negative official attention is just telling the country what illegal immigrants already knew.

AI Wessex

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I don't feel like I'm being unclear on any of these distinctions.  I grant you minimal is not free and it adds up, but I flatly dispute that there is any practical truth to the claim that the federal government has no economic choice but to ignore these cases.  It's a propaganda claim, nothing more.
If they had the resources and chose not to do it anyway, you might be right.
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Declaring that pick pockets won't be prosecuted flatly is not a priority choice, as it establishes that even if the officer is just standing around doing nothing else he's not going to enforce that law.
No, because the cop isn't there; he's over *there* investigating a stack of murder cases and there's no one else to put on this beat.  Budget matters.  Priorities.

D.W.

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Messaging matters as well.
Well get to you eventually.
Vs.
We will ignore it until it's not illegal.

AI Wessex

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Messaging matters as well.
Well get to you eventually.
Vs.
We will ignore it until it's not illegal.
IMO, that was the message.  We can't (won't) do X now, because we have to put the resources elsewhere.  We'll come back to X and address it when we are able, perhaps in a different way.  That will be up to President Y or Z to figure out within the constraints of his/her budget and current priorities.

D.W.

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Fair enough.  I read it as the other option.  We disagree with the law, we are unable to change it at present, we'll ignore it because we don't like it.  This came off (to me) as a comedic light bulb over the head moment of, "We've found our loophole!"