Fighting Obama’s Executive Overreach on Behalf of Congress


Jay Sekulow

May 11, 2015

3 min read

Executive Power



The Obama Administration continues to do whatever it takes to defend the indefensible. First, President Obama failed to persuade Congress of his legislative ideals on immigration. Then he thwarted the Constitution and unilaterally “change[d] the law.”

That’s why today, the ACLJ filed a critical amicus brief representing 113 members of Congress—including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—and nearly 220,000 Americans urging a federal appeals court to declare President Obama’s executive overreach unilaterally rewriting our nation’s immigration laws unconstitutional and unlawful.

Our position is clear – President Obama’s executive action is unconstitutional and impermissibly disrupts the separation of powers.

President Obama’s overreach amounted to changing the law. That is simply unacceptable. Impatient presidents don’t get to change the law. We’re confident that the appeals court will correctly conclude that President Obama’s action is unlawful and unconstitutional and will uphold the findings of the district court.

Our amicus brief, filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, supports the lawsuit filed by 26 states – led by Texas – to challenge the president’s actions. In addition to representing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Congressional leaders of the brief were Texas’ U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith. The complete list of lawmakers represented in the amicus brief is here.

The ACLJ is deeply involved in the case and filed several briefs earlier that resulted in a lower court putting the illegal immigration plan on hold.

Our brief, posted here, argues that President Obama’s lawless executive action on immigration violates the Constitution and the intent of Congress.

Further, the brief argues that the government also “exceeded the bounds of its prosecutorial discretion and abdicated its duty to faithfully execute the law.”

The brief notes that the president oversteps his authority by creating a new class-based program.

 “The DHS directive creates a new class—the roughly 4 million parents of U.S. citizens (and lawful permanent residents) who are unlawfully in the United States—and grants members of the class deferred removal (among other benefits) if they meet the basic eligibility requirements. ROA.235. The government’s creation of a categorical, class-based program is neither moored in constitutional authority nor in authority delegated by a lawful statute passed by Congress.”

The brief urges the appeals court to affirm the district court and concludes that the president’s actions should not stand.

 “The States are likely to succeed on the merits of their constitutional claim because the DHS directive violates the Constitution, impermissibly disrupts the separation of powers, and amounts to an abdication of the Executive’s constitutional and statutory duties. Appellants unconstitutionally legislated by creating a categorical, class-based program not supported by law or established congressional immigration policy.”

In December, I presented testimony before the House Judiciary Committee explaining why the president’s action on immigration exceeded his executive authority.

We will continue to fight for members of Congress, the Constitution, and you. Stand with us as we continue to stand against this overreach every step of the way.