Sunday, April 20, 2008

Laws are just nuisances anyway

I ran across this political cartoon, which addresses the problem of the Bush Administration voiding laws it doesn't like in order to build a border wall.

There is now a suit to end that process, arguing that it is unconstitutional. But you have to read this to believe it:

The Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club first brought the suit against the Bureau of Land Management, challenging the legality of border fence construction in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona.

Though they eventually lost the case, the environmental groups won a restraining order from Huvelle in October 2007 that temporarily stopped border wall construction and instructed DHS to investigate the local environmental impacts of the project.

Chertoff responded by using the waiver authority; in November, he circumvented the restraining order by waiving 19 federal statutes. He followed that up this month by authorizing two waivers — involving some 30 laws — in order to complete construction of the fence and other protective measures in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

In other words, if you don't like a restraining order, then you waive federal law so you can ignore it. I am tempted to use the cliché that it "boggles the mind" but in fact with the administration my mind cannot be boggled any further.


Steven Taylor 2:27 PM  

Of course, Congress (granted, a GOP controlled version three years ago) gave this power to the DHS Sec, so it goes beyond simply an issue of the administration asserting this power.

Still, I concur that it is an utterly unacceptable situation--and one I wish that Congress would rectify by rescinding the power in question.

Greg Weeks 2:32 PM  

True. One of those "We gave you all this power, and thought we could trust you to use it wisely" types of things.

Steven Taylor 2:59 PM  

It does make one wonder as to how the waiver power allows him to ignore a court order, which is a different thing than waiving a a statute-based requirement.

If you haven't, you should read the piece on Chertoff in yesterday's (I think it was yesterday) LAT, it which he asserts his stubbornness on the subject of wall construction.

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