Barack Caesar signed a bill unanimously passed by Congress last week, and promptly announced that he is not bound to pay it any mind.
President Obama on Friday signed into law a bill authored by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that would bar an Iranian diplomat from entering the United States, but immediately issued a statement saying he won't enforce it.A law enacted according to constitutional procedures is, to His Supreme Authority, a suggestion that he can file and forget.
Obama decided to treat the law as mere advice. ... "I shall therefore continue to treat section 407, as originally enacted and as amended by S. 2195, as advisory in circumstances in which it would interfere with the exercise of this discretion."
Presidents have outflanked Congress before to scratch their itches. The most famous case in modern times was Franklin Roosevelt's "lend-lease" deal to send ships to Britain when it was faced with a German blockade early in World War II, despite the United States being officially neutral. He got his way because most Americans were sympathetic to the U.K.
Since then, presidents have sent U.S. forces to fight in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and smaller operations without a declaration of war. George W. Bush sent word via the Bush telegraph that illegal immigration was to be tolerated.
According to the Washington Post's brief notice, "W" had also insisted that laws in such matters “could constrain the exercise of my exclusive constitutional authority to receive within the United States certain foreign ambassadors to the United Nations.”
Article II, Section 3 says that the president "shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers." Courts are notoriously liable to interpret constitutional language in loony ways. But unless there is specific evidence of what the constitutional convention delegates meant, common sense suggests that "receive" simply describes protocol, and the word "exclusive" is lacking. The same sentence says that the president shall "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."
Bush or Obama could have vetoed the bill and sent it back to Congress. Instead they used bad judgment in openly proclaiming their signatures on a bill to be a meaningless formality they were at liberty to observe or not, as the spirit moved them.
Was the country outraged by Obama's high-handedness? Hell, no.
Did the mainstream media, guardians of our freedom, raise the alarm? As far as a Google search could determine, the Washington Post ran a brief, bare bones story by a guest columnist.
The New York Times had this to say:
The rest of the print media had this to say:
I don't watch TV, but I would bet money the subject didn't come up on any news programs or Sunday chatter shows.
It used to be said that the president proposes, Congress disposes. Under today's regime, Congress proposes and the president disposes.
We are in deep waters.