March 17, 2015
Short Circuit Obama
Cruz is on the right track
Wall Street Journal -- March 16, 2015
Immigration Push Back: Don't Confirm His Judges
Here's a strategy that would unite Republicans and get Obama's attention in a way that shutdowns don't.
Congress's approval of unconditional funding for the Department of Homeland Security was an embarrassing setback in Republicans' struggle to respond to President Obama's unilateral rewriting of U.S. immigration law. The collapse of the GOP's plan to tie DHS funding to annulling the president's immigration orders left the party with two options: sit back and hope that a federal judge's temporary injunction against the November order is made permanent and is upheld on appeal, or come up with a new plan to force Mr. Obama's hand.
If Republicans opt for a plan, their best bet is a vow not to confirm the president's appeals-court nominees until he rescinds his immigration fiats. This strategy has virtues that others do not.
To be sure, the simplest approach for congressional Republicans would be passing a bill that rescinds the immigration orders or tightens the underlying statute. But they lack the votes to override Mr. Obama's inevitable veto.
Ted Cruz proposed denying a vote on Mr. Obama's nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, unless the president withdraws his orders. But many GOP senators are reluctant to block the nation's first black female attorney general, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Ms. Lynch will get a vote. Mr. Cruz has also suggested blocking every executive or judicial nominee “outside of vital national security positions” --- a proposal that would meet with even wider opposition.
Still, Mr. Cruz is on the right track, and a more modest approach has a better chance of success: Deny confirmation only to Mr. Obama's nominees to the U.S. Courts of Appeals, which rank just below the Supreme Court and have the last word on most legal issues. [---]
There are risks, but congressional Republicans need to decide if they are serious about fighting President Obama's executive actions on immigration. If they are, the circuit-court strategy may be the only one with a good chance of success.