Turley And Rosenkranz: The President Has Crossed A Line

People of good faith can clearly disagree on where the line is drawn over the failure to fully enforce federal laws. There is ample room given to a president in setting priorities in the enforcement of laws. A president is not required to enforce all laws equally or dedicate the same resources to every federal program. Even with this ample allowance, however, I believe that President Barack Obama has crossed the constitutional line between discretionary enforcement and defiance of federal law.

—Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, George Washington University The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws, “Committee on the Judiciary United States House of Representatives, December 3, 2013.

The President has a personal obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The word “faithfully” is, perhaps, a broad grant of discretion, but it is also a real and important constraint. The President cannot suspend laws altogether. He cannot favor unenacted bills over duly enacted laws. And he cannot discriminate on the basis of politics in his execution of the laws. The President has crossed all three of these lines.

—Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, The Cato Institute, “The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,” Committee on the Judiciary United States House of Representatives, December 3, 2013. (HT: LegalInsurrection)

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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One comment

  1. I am shocked, shocked to find out that, at long last the president is breaking the law.
    While I might have suspected it, I had no idea, no idea at all that this was going on.
    It’s a travesty, I tell you, a travesty.

    Of course there is no mention in the above from LI (2K or no) of the 9th commandment or that the gentleman in question professes to be a Christian, yet sat for twenty years in the black version of a KKK church. Black Liberation Theology is after all, a racist Christian heresy.

    Likewise the flip side of BLT’s denial/politicization of original sin is the utopian Enlightenment myth regarding the perfectibility of man. And it’s not like we haven’t seen that before beginning with the French Revolution, and proceeding through the respective flavors of the Russian, Nazi and Red Chinese glitches in the grand and inevitable progress of History.

    But hey, no big deal. Geo. W. Obama is merely following in the lawless footsteps of his illustrious namesake who started unconstitutional wars to bring Democracy to the Mideast and legalized torture, both of which seem to be quite popular with Evangelical flag waving right.
    (You know, the same who trample on the 4th commandment all the while schizophrenically they are upset with secular perversions of the 7th.)

    Rant? Tirade? Why I’m just getting started.
    Hey, what happened to the micropho . . .

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