U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab issued the first-of-its-kind ruling Tuesday in the case of Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, a Honduran immigrant charged in federal court with unlawful re-entry after being arrested earlier this year in Pennsylvania for drunk driving.Of course, as we've noted here at VDARE.com, Obama's own Justice Department more or less admits that what the President is doing is unconstitutional. It just asserts that it has the power to do it anyway. And it does this despite the President's own past statements, which the court clearly took notice of.
"President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional," Schwab wrote in his 38-page opinion (posted here). "President Obama’s November 20, 2014 Executive Action goes beyond prosecutorial discretion because: (a) it provides for a systematic and rigid process by which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others based upon arbitrary classifications, rather than case-by-case examination; and (b) it allows undocumented immigrants, who fall within these broad categories, to obtain substantive rights."
The Pittsburgh-based judge rejected a Justice Department legal opinion arguing that Obama's actions fall within the traditional realm of the executive's discretion about which cases to pursue and which to overlook. Schwab, a George W. Bush appointee, also quoted in detail from a series of public statements Obama made in recent years about the limits on his executive authority to make sweeping changes in immigration enforcement.
A Justice Department spokesman rejected the judge's legal rationale and his decision to opine on the legality of Obama's actions.
"The decision is unfounded and the court had no basis to issue such an order," said the official, who asked not to be named. "No party in the case challenged the constitutionality of the immigration-related executive actions and the department’s filing made it clear that the executive actions did not apply to the criminal matter before the court. Moreover, the court’s analysis of the legality of the executive actions is flatly wrong. We will respond to the court’s decision at the appropriate time.”
[Obama's immigration actions ruled unconstitutional, by Josh Gerstein, Politico, December 16, 2014]
The judge in this case is a George W. Bush appointee, so the media won't take this court ruling very seriously — indeed Gerstein suggests that the ruling is somehow unimportant because Schwab is a Republican appointee and therefore it is simply political. However, Gerstein also notes,
[T]he judge's opinion raises a question that some advocates of more liberal immigration policies will not be able to dismiss so easily: why don't Obama's actions apply to criminal prosecutions as well as deportations? Indeed, what is the point of protecting immigrants from being expelled from the country if they can still be sent to prison for having illegally entered the country in the first place?Good point. And this suggests a strategy for sheriffs and state officials who want to do the job our President refuses to do — enforce the laws and protect the country.