"Constitutional Scholar", my ass....
I guess Mr. Obama thinks that he is the King of America, rather than the President. Because the last time I checked, the Chief Executive of the United States of America does not have the power to do an end-run around Congress, just because they aren't doing what he wants them to do.
It matters not to Mr. Obama that Congress already took up the issue of the DREAM Act (in 2001, 2009, 2010, AND 2011), but no legislation has ever made it through both houses of Congress (including the two years when Democrats held a filibuster-proof majority in both chambers).
Members of Congress have introduced several forms of this bill in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Members in the House passed one such bill on December 8, 2010 by a vote of 216-198; Senators debated a version of the DREAM Act on September 21, 2010.
A previous version of the bill, S.2205, which required 60 votes to gain cloture, failed on a 52-44 vote in 2007, 8 votes short of overcoming a filibuster by senators opposed to the bill.
Like it or not, a President is bound by the Constitution to abide by the decisions of Congress - his role is most decidedly NOT to legislate from the Oval Office; he is a member of the EXECUTIVE Branch, not the Legislative or the Judicial Branch (note to Mr. Obama: "Separation of Powers" and "Checks and Balances" are taught in every High School and College Civics course - by the time a law student gets to ConLaw 101, they should have committed those concepts to memory).
Since when does a Chief Executive get to decide who is and isn't a Citizen of this country?
Haven't we seen this movie already?
(Why yes - yes, we have.....)
Many years ago, a party came to power in another country, and one of the first things that the head of that party did was to hand down laws decreeing who was and wasn't a "citizen". He just got together with a bunch of legal advisors and let them draw up these new "laws" - never mind that it wasn't put to a general vote or a party vote; no, he just decided that from that point forward, this was the New Law Of The Land.
In other words, this leader gave himself sole authority to decide who was and wasn't a citizen, the existing laws be damned.
The name of that leader was Adolf Hitler; those new laws were known as the Nuremberg Laws.
The Reich Citizenship Law stripped Jews of their German citizenship and introduced a new distinction between “Reich citizens” and “nationals".
Article 3: The Reich Minister of the Interior in conjunction with the Deputy of the Fuhrer will issue the necessary legal and administrative decrees for carrying out and supplementing this law.
Mind you, they were only doing this so that the National Party wouldn't have to be bothered with drafting pesky legislation later on:
Radical[s] at Nuremberg seized the opportunity and suggested to Hitler that the special session would be an ideal opportunity to announce some kind of big new law....
On September 14, the night before the Reichstag's special session, Nazi legal officials presented Hitler with four drafts of the new law. Hitler chose the fourth version....
Around midnight, Hitler told the same legal officials he also wanted an accompanying law concerning Reich citizenship. The officials, scrawling on the back of a hotel food menu, hastily drafted a vaguely worded law.... Hitler (a night owl) approved the draft around 2:30 a.m.
At the Reichstag's special session held later that day at 8 p.m., Hitler delivered a short speech in which he characterized the new laws as an attempt to "achieve the legislative regulation of a problem which, if it breaks down again will then have to be transferred by law to the National Socialist Party for final solution."
Any leader who can arbitrarily GRANT citizenship, regardless of the laws already on the books, will also feel that they have the right to arbitrarily TAKE AWAY a person's citizenship, if they so choose.
We are a nation of laws, and the people who are elected to public office are bound by their Oath of Office to uphold the laws that are on the books. In this country, there are procedures for getting laws on the books, and NO public official is allowed to circumvent that process by declaring that he/she will not follow those laws.
If a leader gets to decide who is and isn't a citizen, then at some point, they will feel that it is their "right" to just unilaterally decide that they can make ALL of the rules.
And we've all seen how that turns out....
[Cross-posted at Koch's Tour]