Yes, John Yoo Is Still a Monster: [B]rother Yoo believes that the president in whose lap he sat for several years was correct in… slap p[ping]eople onto waterboards, but that the current president is flirting with authoritarianism by allowing teenagers to come out of the shadows and go to college or join the army. Apparently, Yoo sees a greater threat to democracy in the misuse of the immigration statutes than in the misuse of the president's war powers. I am not kidding about this at all....
As a Justice Department lawyer in the Bush administration, I took the view that the White House could refuse to carry out an unconstitutional law that infringed on the president's commander-in-chief authority to manage war and defend the national security. I agree that our immigration system demands fundamental reform, particularly in how it treats those brought here as infants. But the president cannot refuse to enforce a law simply because he disagrees with it.
So, the argument is that a president — say, the one you served with such lapdoggish vigor — is free to break a law he disagrees with, but not ignore one? Or is it that there is a substantive constitutional difference between "refusing to carry out" a law and "ignoring" a law? And we are supposed to believe that this substantive difference is anything more than the difference in political party from President A to President B? Stop it, John. No, seriously. I'm dying here. This stuff must kill at the Federalist Society Open Mic Night.
Obama's supporters, of course, may well argue that Obama's immigration proclamation is no worse than President Bush's claim that Congress cannot limit the executive's efforts to intercept Al Qaeda communications during wartime. But there is a constitutional world of difference in refusing to enforce laws that violate the president's own constitutional powers, and ignoring laws that a president simply dislikes. There is a world of difference between putting aside laws that interfere with an executive response to an attack on the country, as in Sept. 11, 2001, and ignoring laws to appeal to a constituency vital to re-election.
That "constitutional world of difference" is encompassed entirely by the phrase, "the guy who signed my paycheck." This you can see by the way Yoo stumbles over his own feet within a single sentence, suddenly shifting the constitutional — and the literal — atrocities for which he is partly responsible from "the president's own constitutional powers" to "an executive response to an attack on the country." John Yoo helped design a lawless presidency. He is no more a credible authority on all of this than a brick is on the tensile strength of a window.