November 25, 2014

NO AMERICAN PRESIDENT OUGHT ENFORCE AN UNJUST LAW:

THE CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLE IN OBAMA'S REFUSAL TO ACT (James R. Rogers, 11 . 25 . 14, First Things)

While one might disapprove the outcome in this particular case, the principle on which the president acts would seem to tend toward conservative ends: the executive's failure to act leaves private activity alone that would otherwise be governmentally disturbed. Given the increasing penchant for government to meddle in people's lives, I'd guess that a recognized prerogative, under conditions similar to the current dispute, of the executive to refuse to take action where authorized could more often serve conservative ends than the contrary principle.

I frankly do not see the threat to the separation of powers decried by so many conservative commentators. There is a difference between an executive refusing to prosecute when prosecution is authorized by the legislature versus an executive seeking to prosecute when that prosecution is not legislatively authorized. The former is a recognizably executive action, not a legislative action; the latter would indeed be an executive exercise of legislative power. That one does not approve of President Obama's use of executive discretion in refusing to prosecute certain categories of individuals does not perforce make his actions unconstitutionally legislative.

I don't think President Obama's action threatens the separation of powers; the ability of the executive to act independently of the legislature is a consequence of a separation-of-power system not a threat to it.

Posted by at November 25, 2014 5:45 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« BLACK, WHITE & BLUE: | Main | IF DEMOCRATIZATION WAS EASY IT WOULDN'T HAVE TAKEN THOUSANDS OF YEARS TO GET THERE: »