Blackrocks wrote:Lisa,to answer your question please research these cases: Meyers v. U>S.272 U.S.52 from 1926 or Freytag v.Commissioner 501 U.S. 868 from 1991 or Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.v. Sawyer 343 U.S. 579 I could go on but i wont .You will see that he not only has the power, but the obligation not to defend a law he feels is unconstitutional until the matter is decided in a court of law.That is the law under the Constitution that you know so well. BTW Tom Jefferson was the first to refuse to defend a law (Sedition)
This post is in direct response to Blackrocks. It is not intended to reopen this thread or to begin a thread on the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
So... I finally found some time to do a little research and I'm not going to retract my stand that as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer the President has the duty to enforce all laws duly passed by the Congress and signed by the President; even those he personally feels are unconstitutional or personally doesn't agree with. His feelings don't count for very much. Oh and just for the record I'm not embarrassed by my position on this.
That being said I understand that there is precedent for the President choosing not to enforce laws that he feels are unconstitutional. That doesn't make it right; the President doesn't have the authority to decide a law is unconstitutional. That's up to the courts and until such time as they make a ruling, he should be enforcing the law. If he feels it is unconstitutional let him fight that question in the courts. I'm not a constitutional scholar but I can read and think. I know the Constitution is the foundation for which our rule of law is based. I know that no one is above the law, not even the Presidenthttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/weeki ... .html?_r=1http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/olc110294.html
(this is a white paper prepared for the President's counsel providing guidance for NOT enforcing laws the President feels are unconstitutional.)
The one recurring theme in everything I've read is that only if the President has reasonable belief that the Supreme Court would ultimately agree that the Law was unconstitutional would he have a responsibility to take such a stand. That's why your Jefferson argument doesn't fly. Jefferson knew that the Supreme Court he was dealing with was stacked with his fellow Federalist and without question they would back him that the Alien and Sedition Laws were constitutional. Charges were never even brought against him.
So that brings us to Obama and his non defense of DOMA. Does Obama feel this law would be ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court? What is does he base this opinion on? The current Supreme Court has a majority of conservative Justices and the law was passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress in 1996; 85-14 in the Senate and 342 to 67 in the house. That's all documented fact. 37 of the 50 states already have DOMA laws in place. The vocal members of both parties are split about 50/50 on this question. How will the independents vote? I couldn't find where Obama has said what he based his decision on other then his feelings. The White Paper referenced above is quite clear on what the process should be - did Obama cross his Is and dot his Ts? Obviously, I don't think so nor does some of the Democratic leadership.
The fact that Obama sent his DOJ to court, to make an appearance but not to defend the law shows me that Obama isn't so sure of himself on this matter. If he was certain that the law will be found unconstitutional why not just ignore the lower court date and let it go to the Supreme Court sooner rather then later. It looks to me that once again Obama is trying to have his cake and eat it too. He is pandering to a small but very vocal segment of his political base.
So that's my answer. In my opinion, the President always has the duty to enforce any law which has been duly passed by Congress and signed by the President until such a time as it is deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. That remains true even though many Presidents have tried to get around that by simply not enforcing the law and Congress has allowed them to do that. It's wrong and that's how we have arrived at the two tier rule of law we see today.
You don't have to agree with me and I can already hear the snide and snarky remarks about how I know better then the Supreme Court but that's ok. As a matter of fact, I disagree with many of the Supreme Court rulings - Plessy vs Ferguson, which codified the concept of "Separate but Equal," Roe vs Wade and more recently Kelo vs New London to name a few. This is still America - at least a while longer - and it's my right to disagreed with the current administration, Congress or the Supreme Court and even you. And you know what? No one should think my doing so is embarrassing or wrong. Respectfully, Lisa