In an August 5 editorial, the Post insisted that the president's "understandable" frustration at being "stymied by congressional paralysis" does not give him license to exceed his constitutional authority by invading the domain of the legislative body.
"Obstinate, hopelessly partisan and incapable of problem-solving, Congress is a mess," the Post declared. "But that doesn't grant the president license to tear up the Constitution." The editorial board quoted Obama's words of nearly a year ago in rebuttal to his more recent claim that he would have to act to fix the nation's immigration laws "on my own, without Congress." Regarding what he often describes as a "broken immigration system," the president said last fall: "If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we're also a nation of laws."
That was then. Now the president seems less inhibited by laws, the Post observed:
Mr. Obama now seems to be jettisoning that stance in the name of rallying his political base. He is considering extending temporary protection from deportation to millions of illegal immigrants, including the parents of U.S.-born children and others who have lived in the United States for years. Conceivably, this would give Democrats a political boost in 2016. Just as conceivably, it would trigger a constitutional showdown with congressional Republicans, who could make a cogent argument that Mr. Obama had overstepped his authority.
Obama is no stranger to the charge of exceeding his constitutional authority — a complaint often heard in the past few years from Republicans voicing alarm at actions the president has taken on his own without authorization by Congress. They include conducting an air war against the Libyan government in 2011, and ordering an increase in the minimum paid by federal contractors. In June, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the president had exceeded his constitutional authority in making a "recess appointment" to the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate was not in recess. Last week the House of Representatives voted to sue the president over twice postponing the implementation of the employer mandate in ObamaCare, though the effective date is in the law that Congress passed and Obama signed in 2010.
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Photo of President Obama: AP Images