Sunday, October 28, 2007

Abuse of executive power

A few days ago I mentioned the laws being circumvented in order to build a border wall, since the REAL ID Act allows the Department of Homeland Security to bypass laws and court orders whenever it wants. Here is the official statement in the Federal Register, whereby Michael Chertoff announced the need to build 4.75 miles of wall.

SUMMARY: The Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, pursuant to law, that it is necessary to waive certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements in order to ensure the expeditious construction of physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the international land border of the United States in Arizona.

The number of such “laws, regulations and other legal requirements” is astounding and depressing. Take a look at what the federal government is choosing to ignore:

The National Environmental Policy Act (Pub. L. 91–190, 83 Stat. 852 (Jan. 1, 1970) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)), the Endangered Species Act (Pub. L. 93–205, 87 Stat. 884 (Dec. 28, 1973) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.)), the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act) (Act of June 30, 1948, c. 758, 62 Stat. 1155 (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.)), the National Historic Preservation Act (Pub. L. 89– 665, 80 Stat. 915 (Oct. 15, 1966) (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.)), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), the Archeological Resources Protection Act (Pub. L. 96–95, 16 U.S.C. 470aa et seq.), the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300f et seq.), the Noise Control Act (42 U.S.C. 4901 et seq.), the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (Pub. L. 94–579, 43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (Pub. L. 73–121, 48 Stat. 401, 16 U.S.C. 661 et seq.), the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act (Pub. L. 86– 523, 16 U.S.C. 469 et seq.), the Antiquities Act (16 U.S.C. 431 et seq.), the Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act (16 U.S.C. 461 et seq.), the Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100–696, 16 U.S.C. 460xx et seq.), the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (Pub. L. 90–542, 16 U.S.C. 1281 et seq.), the Farmland Protection Policy Act (7 U.S.C. 4201 et seq.) and the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.).

h/t Bender's Immigration Bulletin


Michelle 2:17 PM  

My initial reaction: Wow, that's a lot of bypassing of laws.

My 5 second-follow-up: Wait, but is it unusual? How rare/common is it for the executive to ignore so many laws?

Greg Weeks 3:39 PM  

That is a good question, for which I have no answer. Something tells me the answer might depress me even more.

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