cross-posted from huffingtonpost
Unfortunately, in response to this right-wing attack, I have heard no rebuttal, no riposte, no rejoinder, no repartee, and no reprisal. And that is unfortunate, because what they’re saying just isn’t how it works. It is true that Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution says that the president shall “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” But that doesn’t make the president some kind of enforcement-bot. The president, like a prosecutor, has prosecutorial discretion. Under the principle of prosecutorial discretion, not every case of enforcement that might be brought can be brought, or should be brought. Officials with executive authority can and should establish enforcement priorities, and act on those priorities. Which exactly is what President Obama has done. When Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson was Attorney General, he explained it this way:
“Law enforcement is not automatic. It isn’t blind… What every prosecutor is practically required to do is to select the cases for prosecution and to select those in which the offense is the most flagrant, the public harm the greatest, and the proof the most certain.”In the case of Oyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448 (1962), the U.S. Supreme Court specifically held that “reasonable selectivity in enforcement” is constitutional. Not dictatorial; constitutional. What Hate TV/Radio is doing is following the instructions laid down by Newt Gingrich in 1990, in his Orwellian essay “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.” Gingrich told Republicans to vilify Democrats with vituperative words and phrases, one of which was “abuse of power.” The right-wing is accusing President Obama of abuse of power regarding the Dream Act because that term is on Newt’s list of magic evil words. (Newt Gingrich is sort of like abolitionist John Brown in reverse; even after defeat, Newt’s lies go marching on.) But on this one, Hate TV and Radio are wrong, totally wrong, and the president is right. Someone should say that. And I just did.
Courage, Alan Grayson