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Obama's immigration order ruled unconstitutional in Pennsylvania

By JOSH GERSTEIN A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled President Barack Obama's recent executive actions on immigration unconstitutional, but the decision came in a criminal case, leaving its broader impact uncertain. U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab issued the first-of-its-kind ruling Tuesday in the case of Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, a Honduran immigrant charged in federal court with unlawful re-entry after being arrested earlier this year in Pennsylvania for drunk driving. "President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional," Schwab wrote in his 38-page opinion (posted here). "President Obama’s November 20, 2014 Executive Action goes beyond prosecutorial discretion because: (a) it provides for a systematic and rigid process by which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others based upon arbitrary classifications, rather than case-by-case examination; and (b) it allows undocumented immigrants, who fall within these broad categories, to obtain substantive rights." The Pittsburgh-based judge rejected a Justice Department legal opinion arguing that Obama's actions fall within the traditional realm of the executive's discretion about which cases to pursue and which to overlook. Schwab, a George W. Bush appointee, also quoted in detail from a series of public statements Obama made in recent years about the limits on his executive authority to make sweeping changes in immigration enforcement. A Justice Department spokesman rejected the judge's legal rationale and his decision to opine on the legality of Obama's actions. More via POLITICO.com.

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