In her confirmation hearing last week, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch declined to elaborate her views on the president’s power to suspend enforcement of federal law. Obama has not only done so with respect to immigration law, he has established an administrative apparatus to implement the regularization of millions of illegals. Once upon a time, the illegality of such conduct would have been widely understood, relentlessly condemned and intensely resisted.
The acceptance of Obama’s action might be thought to open up previously undreamed of possibilities for a conservative president. Down with the administrative state! Now it can be thought and said, if not done. Unfortunately, however, one unalterable verity comes into play here: if it weren’t for double standards, the Democratic Party and its academic/media adjunct would have no standards at all.
Senator Cruz pursued the obvious questions with Lynch. Could a future president lawfully suspend enforcement of the tax law? Lynch dodged every such question that went beyond what Obama has already done. Even then Lynch claimed ignorance to avoid addressing the legality of Obama’s action implementing the royal decree of nonenforcement of immigration law (video below).
Lynch would only grant this: “I think with respect to current or subsequent presidential action there would have to be, as in every case, a thorough review of the relevant law, the precedent, congressional precedent, the statutes at issue, in conjunction with whatever action was being proposed to see if there was in fact a legal basis or whether there was not a legal basis for the action being proposed.” Ms. Lynch, thank you for that non-answer.
Ryan Lovelace notes that Cruz also followed up to ask whether future presidents could disregard labor and environmental laws through the blanket use of prosecutorial discretion, another question to which Lynch also declined to provide a direct response. If a Republican ever again takes office as president, all such matters now seen through a glass darkly will be seen face to face.