Josh Blackman is a Professor teaching constitutional law at South Texas College of Law in Houston. He knows that I have been watching the News Hour since he was a kid. By default, so has he. Since he has been a Law Professor I’ve been telling him how wonderful it would be too see him on the NewsHour.
Josh received an email a few hours before airing from, Gwen Ifill’s team and invited Josh to comment on the constitutional aspects of the President’s decision to defer deportations.
Here’s a partial transcript.
Gwen Ifill:-Is part of your concern that the people who will now be given this temporary protection will also be on a path to citizenship?
Josh Blackman: Well, I think the bigger issue is what this means for future presidents.So, if I can indulge for a second, imagine a President Ted Cruz decides not to enforce environmental laws or imagine if a President Rand Paul decides not to enforce a corporate income tax. The president’s ability to suspend the laws and not enforce them raises serious implications.
I want to see what the legal implications are. Where are the limits of the ability of the president to not enforce the laws? I want to see, what are the memoranda making that point?
Josh was quoted on this subject which was published in the NY Times. The Constitution imposes an affirmative duty on the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
The focus of this post is not to opine on Joshua’s position. I don’t get political on my posts.
I do want to talk about the essence of life: purpose and meaning. I have my daughter Alixandra, to thank for this lesson.
Alix sent me a text shortly after she watched her brother’s interview. Her take was that the interview provided little benefit to her and only prolonged the immigration debate which needed to be resolved. My immediate reaction was one of surprise. Then after re-reading her text a few times I got it. Her focus was on her frustration over the lack of progress our politicians have made on this complex problem.
Josh didn’t offer any real help or solutions to the immigration issue. But that is not Josh’s mission. Josh is a constitutional scholar. Constitutional scholarship seeks to mediate a dialogue between the Supreme Court and the American people.This dialogue is important because it has the goal of clarifying the systematic and jurisprudential implications of potential constitutional developments which in the end is key to preserving our liberties.
An excerpt from Josh’s blog on this interview further clarifies his purpose.
Josh Blackman: As an aside, this is a fraught topic with a lot of emotion, for very good reasons. I agreed with Frank’s discussion of the “humanitarian concerns” at issue here. As a matter of policy, I am very sympathetic to what President Obama is attempting to do, and support the legislation that stalled in Congress. But far more important than my policy preferences are the separation of powers. These checks agree for reasons far greater than any policy debates of the day.
As you can see from righting social wrongs is important to Josh, but his primary focus in the interview and his life is protecting the Constitution, the 6 page document which has governed our country for over two centuries.
I have to thank my daughter for this post. Had she not communicated her feelings, I may have missed an opportunity to deepen my appreciation for my son’s life work. Important for every dad to know. For my daughter, she is completing her doctorate in psychology. Her purpose will be the subject of a future post.
“This is a personal opinion and does not constitute or reflect an endorsement by First Allied Securities, Inc.”