Pete Williams: No Legal Recourse For Obama's Executive Action on Immigration, "Untested" In Courts


JOSE DIAZ-BALART, MSNBC: For all this talk that maybe there will be lawsuits, can anyone even entertain such a lawsuit?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well they can certainly try. Here's the constitutional issue. The constitution says that among the president's duties is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. And what the opponents of the president's plan are saying is if you're basically going to turn a blind eye to 5 million people who are here illegally and not enforce the law against them, you're not taking care that the law be faithfully executed.

The supporters of the administration, though, say that the Congress has not given the immigration authorities enough money to go after all the 11 million people who are here illegally so the government has to make decisions and that the administration has the same kind of discretion in enforcing the law as a police man does on deciding who to arrest or as a prosecutor does on to who to file charges against. And it's that discretion that gives the president the ability to do what the administration's going to announce tonight. That's the question and it's a relatively untested issue in the courts. No court has ever struck down a president's executive authority by saying it violates the take care clause of the constitution. But of course no president has done anything like this that affects 5 million people.

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