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Obama’s Immigration Policy Shift Was Legal, But Was It Proper?

John Yoo, who made a name for himself during the Bush Era by being the guy who came up with legal memos authorizing torture, and who has also advanced the rather pernicious “Unitary Executive” theory as a legal argument in favor of increased Presidential power outside of Congressional review, weighs in today on President Obama’s immigration policy change in a National Review article that is, given that historical context, rather ironic:

President Obama’s claim that he can refuse to deport 800,000 aliens here in the country illegally illustrates the unprecedented stretching of the Constitution and the rule of law. He is laying claim to presidential power that goes even beyond that claimed by the Bush administration, in which I served. There is a world of difference in refusing to enforce laws that violate the Constitution (Bush) and refusing to enforce laws because of disagreements over policy (Obama).

Under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president has the duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision was included to make sure that the president could not simply choose, as the British King had, to cancel legislation simply because he disagreed with it. President Obama cannot refuse to carry out a congressional statute simply because he thinks it advances the wrong policy. To do so violates the very core of his constitutional duties.

There are several problems with this part of Yoo’s argument. First of all, the Obama Administration isn’t refusing to enforce the law, and by “the law,” of course, we mean the entirety of U.S. immigration laws, in this case. What is being done is that a limited and temporary exception is being created for a certain class of people that will give them relief from the threat of deportation (as long as they don’t commit a major crime) for a period of two years. It isn’t a path to citizenship. It won’t allow anyone who isn’t a citizenship to vote. And, anyone who is covered by this policy will still have to go through the same process as everyone else to receive a work permit. This isn’t even the only such exception that has been implemented by an American President. There’s one that applies to certain refugees from Central America that has been in place for more than a decade now, and another that applies to immigrants from China that was put in place under George W. Bush.

More importantly, though, what we’re talking about here isn’t amnesty, it isn’t a special favor, it isn’t cheating. As Utah’s Republican Attorney General explains, it’s nothing more than the same kind of discretion that the law gives to the Executive in many different areas:

In an interview with me just now, Mark Shurtleff, Utah’s conservative Republican attorney general, dismissed those objections, arguing the move was perfectly within Obama’s powers, good law enforcement policy, and even a “conservative” solution.

“This is clearly within the president’s power,” Shurtleff said. “I was pleased when the president announced it.”

Shurtleff, a Mitt Romney supporter who is a diehard conservative on many other issues, is perhaps the nation’s most prominent Republican staking out an alternative to the GOP’s hard line on immigration. His support for the president’s policy represents a larger split within the party, between those who see Arizona as a model for the nation and those who want the party to adjust to demographic (and related political) realities with another approach.

Republicans and conservatives have argued either that Obama did this by executive order or more broadly that ignoring Congress represents dictatorial rule by fiat. But Shurtleff rejected that view, noting that this decision was not made via executive order and that the administration has the discretion to decide whom to prosecute.

“Law enforcement makes decisions based on the resources available to them — until Congress acts, we’ll be left with too many people to deport,” Shurtleff said. “The administration is saying, `Here’s a group wecould be spending our resources going after, but why? They’re Americans, they see themselves as Americans, they love this country.’”

The Obama Administration, which has maintained a pace of deportations that far exceeds that of the Bush Administration, exercised similar discretion last year when it announced that it would concentrate its limited proprietorial resources on deportation cases involving violent criminals and threats to national security, a shift which seemed to me at the time to make eminent sense. That decision was also denounced as amnesty by Republican politicians and conservative bloggers, but then, as now, the argument was utter nonsense. Just as a prosecutor in a large metropolitan area must decide which cases to prioritize and which cases to plead out, the United States Government has to decide how to handle all of the deportation cases it could potentially bring given the limited resources that it has. In addition to the humanitarian issues involved, which even many Republicans obviously recognize, that is exactly the situation that the Administration was faced with when it made the policy shift yesterday. Just as that first decision was a permissible use of prosecutorial discretion, the policy shift announced yesterday is as well.

Though not responding directly to Shurtleff, Yoo attempts to knock down the prosecutorial discretion argument, but in end just finds himself going down a rhetorical rabbit hole with an argument that makes little sense:

[P]rosecutorial discretion is not being used in good faith here: A president cannot claim discretion honestly to say that he will not enforce an entire law — especially where, as here, the executive branch is enforcing the rest of immigration law.

Imagine the precedent this claim would create. President Romney could lower tax rates simply by saying he will not use enforcement resources to prosecute anyone who refuses to pay capital-gains tax. He could repeal Obamacare simply by refusing to fine or prosecute anyone who violates it.

Yoo’s argument is incredibly weak here. First of all, as noted above, this policy shift is not a matter of the Administration saying that they are refusing to enforce the law, and it is absurd to say that choosing to exercise prosecutorial discretion in a specific category of cases constitutes ignoring the law. Under Yoo’s logic, a District Attorney who decides that, say, non-violent drug possession cases where the amount found on the person is relatively small will be plead out into some form of pre-trial diversion program that includes drug counseling, a disposition that is not uncommon in many jurisdictions, constitutes refusing to enforce the drug laws. It doesn’t, of course, and teh Administrations decision here to handle a certain class of deportation cases a certain way isn’t any different than what that hypothetical District Attorney is doing. As for the actions of Yoo’s hypothetical President Romney with respect to the Tax Code or the Affordable Care Act are simply absurd and silly examples. The Tax Code does not give the President the authority to decide not to collect a specific tax, though it does give the IRS the discretion to determine how to enforce claims against delinquent taxpayers. A President who chose to ignore the law the way Yoo suggests would be far more clearly acting extra-constitutionally than Obama allegedly is in this situation.

My comments about the August 2011 shift toward deporting violent criminal aliens apply equally today:

As it stands now, the law gives Immigration Judges, and ultimately the head of the Department of Homeland Security for whom they work, significant discretion in deportation proceedings, especially when the person involved has lived in the United States continuously for a long period of time and has no criminal record. (A fairly good summary of the processcan be found here.) Given the tremendous backlog in immigration deportation cases, a backlog that continues to grow year-by-year as Congress continues to refuse to provide sufficient funding to the Immigration Court system, it seems to me to make eminent sense to concentrate resources on cases that deal with people who have a criminal record, who have continually flouted immigration laws, or who may pose a threat to national secutrity.

Similarly, it makes sense from a policy and a humanitarian point of view to grant some kind of relief against deportation, using the discretionary authority that the Immigration laws already grant to the Executive Branch, to the class of people covered by yesterday’s policy shift. Yes, there’s a political motive behind it as well, but that’s true of everything that happens in Washington, and it’s also the reason that some Republicans, like Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, are being decidedly muted in their response to the President’s announcement. The fact that there’s a political component to this, though, is largely irrelevant in answering the question of whether or not it falls within the authority of the Executive Branch and, not withstanding the arguments advanced by Yoo, it seems quite apparent that it does.

Notwithstanding all of this, though, I tend to agree with the point James Joyner made yesterday in his post about the policy shift that there’s something at least inappropriate about the President using Executive authority to achieve at least part of a policy goal that could not be achieved legislatively:

[T]he key issue here is one of the Constitutional balance of power. Presidents, of course, push the envelope all the time. Typically, though, it’s done in the arena of national security policy, where the Constitution creates “an invitation to struggle” and where the stakes of dawdling can be quite high. In the matter of border policy, however, there’s simply no question where the power lies and no exigent circumstances to justify flouting the law.

This is a fair point, and it’s one I made in the long discussion about this matter yesterday in the comment thread to James’s post. The DREAM Act was submitted to Congress and it failed to pass. Now, President Obama has decided to use Executive Power to implement parts of the act without Congressional approval. It’s legal, but it strikes me as inappropriate and potentially creating the kind of precedent that will come to be regretted in the future. It’s also worth noting that there has been work going on behind the scenes on Capitol Hill for weeks now to put together a revised DREAM Act that could pass both Houses of Congress. It would be superior to what the President announced in that it would be enshrined in law, and would give the people effected by it far more certainty than they will have under the new policy. Matt Lewis argued persuasively yesterday that this policy announcement makes it far less likely that the revised act will make it through Congress this year. Given the fact that Marco Rubio, who was involved in those negotiations, is now apparently doubtful that the bill could pass because of the President’s decision, it looks like he’s correct.  So, while the President may get some short term political gain from this announcement he’s likely done harm to the chance for immigration reform in the near future.

As James noted, of course, this action was made somewhat inevitable by Congress’s failure to act on immigration reform for at least the past six years. When there’s a power vacuum, someone will move in to occupy that space. Unfortunately, that’s what the President has done and, in the process, he’s done real damage to the Separation Of Powers.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James H says:

    Isn’t John Yoo legally barred from arguing that the executive has overstepped his bounds?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  2. mattb says:

    Thanks for the excellent legal analysis (and taking Woo to the woodshed).

    I wish there was better political analysis on this one item:

    Given the fact that Marco Rubio, who was involved in those negotiations, is now apparently doubtful that the bill could pass because of the President’s decision, it looks like he’s correct. So, while the President may get some short term political gain from this announcement he’s likely done harm to the chance for immigration reform in the near future.

    I’ve heard this wisdom repeated by a number of people, but without explanation. Is the thought that voting for the Rubio bill would somehow be seen as a vote to support Obama and that’s why this kills that bill?

    Or is it that this order removes pressure from law makers and gives them an excuse to punt it to after the elections?

    More broadly, applying that same logic, why should the administration be chastized for staying hands off during the period when the most recent iteration of the DREAM act was making it’s way through a congress he already wasn’t particularly popular in? Given that this bill was moving through Congress at a time when it was already becoming clear that Obama’s name on anything was becoming toxic due to partisanship and the rise of the Tea Party, would his support have been an asset or a problem?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  3. @mattb:

    Matt Lewis explains that argument fairly well in the article I linked to but the basic argument is that getting a modified DREAM Act through the Congress was going to be difficult work at best even before yesterday. Now that it’s essentially become an election issue, neither Republicans nor Democrats are going to be willing to put their necks out much further.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. mattb says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I did read the Lewis article, and I saw that hinted at between the lines (or maybe I just read it to fast and he explicitly said that).

    I still have a hard time believing that Rubio would have gotten this through the Senate (or the larger act through Congress) ahead of the election. But maybe he could have.

    Which, arguably gets to an interesting (and exceedingly cynical) political calculus — could this move have been to specifically block Rubio’s work, ensuring that between now and November, the Republicans would have any legislative victories that might strengthen their support among Latinos?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. merl says:

    Do you think it’s proper to punish someone because their parents committed a crime?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    The deportation moratorium is legal. But issuance by DOJ of work permits is not. Suspending those deportations is proper. An extra-statutory, extra-regulatory guest worker program is not. Both are examples of good politics. A hint of Machiavelli, to be sure, but definitely an indicia of major cojones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. bk says:

    @merl:

    Do you think it’s proper to punish someone because their parents committed a crime?

    No, but as I read somewhere earlier today, Woo should waterboard himself for about 30 minutes as punishment for his having the “choots-pah” to make this argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  8. So if the policy shift was both legal and a good idea, what exactly is improper about it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  9. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Notwithstanding all of this, though, I tend to agree with the point James Joyner made yesterday in his post about the policy shift that there’s something at least inappropriate about the President using Executive authority to achieve at least part of a policy goal that could not be achieved legislatively:

    I really fail to see this point. It might make sense in a parliamentary system where the executive is selected by the legislative body or the winning party. But the US elects their presidents directly.

    As a result both branches have equal claim to representing the will of the people. As long as they act within their legal boundaries, the will of the other branch is irrelevant both practically and ethically.

    If the legislative is adamant about enforcing their vision they are always free to enact a law that forces the president’s hand by removing discretion. On the other hand a “will” not acted upon is not a proper will as envisioned by constitutional law unless you want to subscribe to the idea of “ultra-living laws”.

    The only exception I can see would a president who acts quickly to pre-empt a law that is under consideration by the legislature and that is clear to pass later on (Which is not the case here. The only act under consideration is a carbon-copy of the presidents interpretation and thus strengthens rather than weakens the president’s case).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. PD Shaw says:

    There were three things announced yesterday:

    (1) Selective enforcement of deportation laws for the class of Dream Act kids;
    (2) An immunity/deferral status to be given that class;
    (3) Work permits/visas to be issued that class.

    I don’t think the first one is legally controversial; the second two might be. Congress is charged with responsibility to create uniform immigration laws. Its not reasonable to assume that the President has discretion to identify a class that receives preferential treatment under these laws, or that this class would still not have to adhere to the protections U.S. labor has imposed on alien work. For instance, I doubt the President would have the discretion to give immunity/deferral status to Kenyans solely on that basis, as opposed to discretion to find that individual Kenyans might be subject to human rights abuses if deported or that some of them have skills that the American economy needs.

    I don’t think much of Yoo’s piece, but I’ve not read anything that convinces me that (2) or (3) are legal or ilegal; perhaps because I’ve not seen anything formal from Obama on (2) or (3).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. @Ebenezer Arvigenius:

    If the legislative is adamant about enforcing their vision they are always free to enact a law that forces the president’s hand by removing discretion. On the other hand a “will” not acted upon is not a proper will as envisioned by constitutional law unless you want to subscribe to the idea of “ultra-living laws”.

    Indeed. This was much of my point about the “expressed will” of the Congress on James’ post yesterday. The only actual “will” we officially know about is the law as passed. If Congress believes that the President is misunderstanding that law it can a) pass a new law, or b) even take the President to court. Otherwise we are talking about vague and ultimately ephemeral concepts. That’s why I don’t get, save in terms of personal preferences, the applicability of proper/improper in this context.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  12. mattb says:

    @PD Shaw: I can’t speak to 3, but issue number 2 is why I keep bringing up GHWBush’s 1990 executive order of a blanket four year stay (not repeal) of deportation for Chinese Citizens inside the US illegally.

    The order, given due to things going on with Tienamen Square, in no way mentions human rights reasons as the rational for the order. It simply orders the stay.

    And while Doug reminds that this was not an executive order, I have to think that this past action sets some level of precedent for the current situation (as does my resident con lawyer).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. Ron Beasley says:

    I think the chances of Rubios’ bill getting through the House was nil. That said I think this was political – not to get Hispanic votes but to see if they could get Romney to go full wingnut on the subject.
    I wonder if the people who are razing hell about illegals realize if we sent them all back they would starve to death. It’s not so just that the Anglos don’t have the desire to work in the fields as it is they are physically unable to do so. The asparagus farmers in Eastern Washington had a labor shortage this year and brought in some unemployed locals. Most of them only lasted a half a day and the farmers lost 50% of their crop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. Tlaloc says:

    weighs in today on President Obama’s immigration policy change in a National Review article that is, given that historical context, rather ironic:

    Careful, you’ve easily exceeded the LD50 for understatement with that one…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. Wayne says:

    Electively not enforcing a law is still not enforcing the law. How anyone can say Obama is not refusing to enforce a law when he is refusing to do is crazy. Yoo point is valid. Using your logic, a President not enforcing collecting capital gain tax would not be refusing to enforce the law since he collects payroll taxes. Which is of course a silly as claiming Obama is not refusing to enforce laws on the books. Next President can refuse to enforce any portion of the law he chooses. EPA regulations, tax collecting, civil rights, voter intimidation. Oh I forgot Holder did that.

    The plead argument is weak as well. Prosecutors don’t use plead deals to ignore the laws but to maximized enforcement of laws. It is a red herring to claim Obama was using the policy to maximized enforcement. I doubt if any really believe it. If there were programs that particularly target these groups, maybe but there is not. How is ignoring those already caught maximizing enforcement? It is not moving resources from one enforcement area to another. Many are trying to pretend they are make the claim that it is like moving patrol officers from highway one to highway 96. What they really are claiming is throwing out tickets of speeding on highway one helps enforcement of speeding on highway 96. It free up resources right. No it call letting your buds on highway one get away with breaking the law.

    Re Sins of the parents.

    So if my parents gave me million dollars of stolen money and law enforcement finds out about it, should I be able to keep it since I wasn’t the one that stole it? Why punish me right? Parents’ decisions and actions affect their kids for good or bad. Are they not responsible for putting their kids in that situation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  16. Scott O. says:

    From a New Yorker article:

    “The White House is so convinced of the centrality of Hispanics to the current election and its aftermath that Plouffe told me he has been preparing for months for an onslaught of advertisements from a pro-Romney group attacking Obama from the left on immigration, arguing that Obama’s deportation and border-security policies have been too Draconian.”

    “Romney understands this. “We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party,” he recently said at a private fund-raiser, unaware that reporters could hear him. Failure to do so “spells doom for us,” Romney said.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/06/18/120618fa_fact_lizza#ixzz1y0NmozPA

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. nightrider says:

    Did we really spend money on that sign and make it in English only? I hope it is on the Canadian border then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Steve V says:

    Were prosecutorial resources ever directed at going after law-abiding, educated illegals (especially those who were underage when they came here) over other types of illegals? If so, why? Isn’t this policy (the “moratorium,” at least) woefully overdue?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  19. Herb says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    “So if the policy shift was both legal and a good idea, what exactly is improper about it? “

    Improper procedurally. Obama didn’t let Congress do their incompetent magic, so….

    Also this:

    “Matt Lewis argued persuasively yesterday that this policy announcement makes it far less likely that the revised act will make it through Congress this year. .”

    I guess that depends on what you mean by “persuasively.” Maybe I’m being unfair, but his “argument” seems to be that Republicans got their feelings hurted, so they’re not going to cooperate. (It’s been a running theme since Obama’s election…)

    That doesn’t persuade me that this policy announcement hurt immigration reform. Rather, it persuades me that my conservative neighbors should consider electing better people to Congress.

    Right above Matt Lewis’s article is a Google ad that says “Support the Tea Party. Help Defeat the Liberal Agenda by Supporting the Tea Party Patriots.” Um….no. I said better people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. Me Me Me says:

    Could you explain where the President gets his authority to order prosecutorial discretion (or whatever you want to call it) for immigration issues, but why he doesn’t have the equivalent power for taxation, as in Yoo’s capital gains hypothetical? Not being troll, just trying to understand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Yoo isn’t talking about prosecutorial discretion in the tax example. He’s talking about a President announcing that the IRS wouldn’t collect a certain tax. There’s no authority for that. Can the IRS choose how to enforce its claims against delinquent tax payers? Of course it can, and it does that on a regular basis. That’s different from refusing to collect a tax due and owing under the law to begin with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. Me Me Me says:

    Thanks Doug. I’m not being a troll – I’m getting reading to do battle with my wingnut father-in-law this evening. He will say “if the President can announce he isn’t going to enforce an immigration law against a group if illegal immigrants, then the President can announce he isn’t going to enforce a tax law against a group of tax payers.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  23. anjin-san says:

    “Romney understands this. “We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party,”

    The GOP recently launched a website designed to reach out to Hispanic voters. It featured a stock photo of Asians on the homepage. Guess those foreign types all look alike.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  24. Eric Florack says:

    The answer to the question was the move proper is “of course not”. I suppose, however, that it’s easy enough to understand. Desperate times required desperate measures. The democrats are nothing if not desperate.

    As a measure of that desperation, I suppose that we now have at least some idea why the Democrat Party are always so keen on insisting people not have to produce identification for voting. Clearly this move of Obama’s is designed to kowtow to a potentially large voting block… Illegals. and of course, the only way they can vote as if they’re not identified as such.

    @Steve V:

    …law abiding illegals …. You apparently have no sense of irony.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  25. Herb says:

    @Eric Florack: “You apparently have no sense of irony.”

    Says the guy who’s never broken a law in his life….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  26. Eric Florack says:

    All that said, let’s consider the precedent that is being set here. If a republican president decided to use the legal precedent being said here by Mr. All Bama we could have much good dime. For example by refusing to enforce some UPI regulations, we could finally remove barriers to economic growth. We wouldn’t have employment issue.. people would be working again by simply ignoring the EPA regs. By deciding unilaterally not to fill a lot of government positions, we could have been saving millions if not the trillions of dollars, by shrinking government by attrition.

    Then again, the history of the thing is that liberals tend to ignore precedent when it doesn’t flow toward their agenda , don’t they?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  27. Eric Florack says:

    @Herb: The equation is rather simple; if you’re an illegal, you are by any reasonable definition not “law abiding”. Is that equation not nuanced enough for your taste? Or is it simply that it doesn’t advance the leftist agenda?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  28. Me Me Me says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Eric, the penalty for voter fraud is a 3.5 year felony jail term, a $10,000 fine, and then deportation.

    Why would someone risk it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  29. Eric Florack says:

    @Me Me Me:You’re not suggesting that vote fraud doesn’t exist, are you?

    In any event the answer to your question is because the chances of getting caught, much less convicted, particularly given the lack of ID requirement, are astoundingly low

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  30. Me Me Me says:

    @Eric Florack: No, Eric, I’m suggesting that the incidents of voter fraud are so very low as to be meaningless to the outcome of elections but I think it is outrageous that you are willing to disenfranchise tens of thousands of legal voters on this flimsy pretext.

    And you didn’t answered my question. I think I could probably hold up a certain gas station I know of with very little chance of getting caught, but I’m still not going to give it a try, as the risk/reward equation is all wrong. And so it is with voter fraud.

    Also: if, as you say, the detection rate for voter fraud is “astoundingly low”, then where is your evidence that there is an actual problem that needs to be addressed?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  31. anjin-san says:

    Mr. All Bama

    Go F**k yourself. Seriously. What a douchbag you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  32. Eric Florack says:

    @Me Me Me:

    No, Eric, I’m suggesting that the incidents of voter fraud are so very low as to be meaningless to the outcome of elections but I think it is outrageous that you are willing to disenfranchise tens of thousands of legal voters on this flimsy pretext.

    I’ve yet to see any implications, much less any proof of disenfranchisement simply because of asking for identification.

    But let’s go with this process for just the sake of laughs. As an example are my second amendment rights infringed one I’m asked for ID when purchasing a firearm? Are my rights infringed one I’m required to produce an ID one paying my taxes by check? Somehow I suspect that your concern about disenfranchisement doesn’t quite extend that far.

    And you didn’t answered my question. I think I could probably hold up a certain gas station I know of with very little chance of getting caught, but I’m still not going to give it a try, as the risk/reward equation is all wrong. And so it is with voter fraud.

    I suppose that to depend on exactly what you consider to be at stake. There are enough incidents of that occurring, to suggest that somebody thinks it’s worthwhile. Enough in fact to cause the supreme court justice John Paul Stevens to comment :on it;

    John Fund, recently:

    “Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of voter fraud that has been documented by historians and journalists,” Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in 2008, upholding a strict Indiana voter-ID law designed to combat fraud. Justice Stevens, who personally encountered voter fraud while serving on various reform commissions in his native Chicago, spoke for a six-member majority. In a decision two years earlier clearing the way for an Arizona ID law, the Court had declared in a unanimous opinion that “confidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised.”

    Fund in his article indicates that the majority of Americans are inclined to agree with Stevens on the matter.

    Indeed, a brand-new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that 64 percent of Americans believe voter fraud is a serious problem, with whites registering 63 percent agreement and African-Americans 64 percent. A Fox News poll taken last month found that 70 percent of Americans support requiring voters to show “state or federally issued photo identification” to prove their identity and citizenship before casting a ballot. Majorities of all demographic groups agreed on the need for photo ID, including 58 percent of non-white voters, 52 percent of liberals, and 52 percent of Democrats.

    Catherine Englebrecht, the Houston businesswoman and mother who founded True the Vote in 2009 after witnessing an ACORN-style group registering thousands of illegal or nonexistent voters in Houston, told the voter observers from 32 states gathered for the summit: “There is nothing more important this year than your work in making sure legitimate votes aren’t canceled out by fraud.”

    Liberal groups ranging from the ACLU to the NAACP oppose voter-ID laws, claiming that voter fraud is almost nonexistent and that an ID requirement would amount to voter suppression. It’s certainly true that in-person voter fraud — the type of fraud most easily fought with voter-ID laws — isn’t the whole picture. Voter-ID laws must be combined with tighter controls on absentee ballots, the tool of choice of fraudsters. But filmmaker James O’Keefe demonstrated just last month how easy — and almost impossible to detect — voter impersonation can be:

    heheheh… Yeah, that’s a name that should trigger a memory or two, huh?
    The concern about individuals randomly committing voting fraud is one thing. And I’m inclined to agree that the incidence of that is not all that high. That said organized fraud, particularly from Liberal leaning groups such as acorn, seems to be far more rampant than you’re willing to accept. And I wonder why.

    No, make that… I have a pretty good idea why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  33. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san:

    Go F**k yourself. Seriously. What a douchbag you are.

    That’s one of the more intelligent comments to come from you on a long time. And no, that’s not a compliment.

    That said, that’s an error my dictation software makes occasionally. You caught it before I did.

    Funny, though, how you didn’t make any cogent comments on the actual points being made. You clearly don’t have an answer, and just as clearly, you see it all falling apart on you.

    Your desperation is starting to show, Anjin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  34. Me Me Me says:

    I think the same percentage believe our ancestors rode pet dinosaurs but that isn’t true either.

    In short, your theory that this is all about organized voter fraud has been demolished.

    Good night.

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  35. Eric Florack says:

    Not even close, me me me… In a choice between taking the opinion of justice Stevens or yours as fact, why, that seems a rather easy choice for me to make.

    You made the rather bald claim that fraud doesn’t exist in any substantial way, and yet when presented with evidence of thousands upon thousands of applications which were fraudulent being generated by liberal organizations, you respond by grabbing your marbles and going home. Am I really supposed to take this nonsense seriously from you?

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  36. mattb says:

    @Eric Florack:

    You made the rather bald claim that fraud doesn’t exist in any substantial way, and yet when presented with evidence of thousands upon thousands of applications which were fraudulent being generated by liberal organizations, you respond by grabbing your marbles and going home.

    Just to point out, there is a fundamental difference between *Fruadulant Voting* (aka Illegal Voting) and *Voter Registration Fraud.*

    And on the second category, Voter Registration Fraud examples are found and removed before the election. Further the very rules of voter registration require organizations (both Liberal and Conservative) to turn in all filled out applications, regardless of whether the organization believes them to be accurate or not.

    There are numerous examples of Voter Registration Fraud. There is still little evidence of actual illegal voting, and when it does appear, it is typically ballot box stuffing in local races (and as often done by GOPers as Dems).

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  37. mattb says:

    @mattb:

    There are numerous examples of Voter Registration Fraud. There is still little evidence of actual illegal voting, and when it does appear, it is typically ballot box stuffing in local races (and as often done by GOPers as Dems).

    And just to be clear, ballot box stuffing usually is clerical fraud versus having people show up and vote illegally.

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  38. Eric Florack says:

    Why would one generate fraudulent applications absent a desire to commit fraud?

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  39. Trinityore says:

    @merl: @ merl – no I think their parents should be punished. But were they? No, not in the last 20 years. So are these children who were brought here illegally going to rat out their parents? I doubt it.

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