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Supreme Court review could limit Obama’s executive actions

The Supreme Court’s decision to review the legality of President Obama’s executive action allowing millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the country could put a damper on some of the White House’s plans for a host of new executive actions this year.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said last week that Obama plans an “audacious” set of executive actions for the remainder of his time in office. But he was quick to note that the president’s policymaking would be carefully designed to “make sure the steps we have taken are ones we can lock down and not be subjected to undoing” through Congress or the courts.

That condition has some legal scholars saying Obama is likely to rein it in for a bit, at least while the court considers the immigration actions. A decision on that is expected in June.

“Once the president was sued on the immigration actions, the administration has been skittish about executive actions in other areas,” Stephen Yale-Loehr, a law professor at Cornell University and the co-author of a 21-volume immigration law treatise, told the Washington Examiner.

More from the Washington Examiner

Two House Republican chairmen subpoenaed Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Wednesday for all documents explaining how it’s funding an optional health program created by Obamacare.

Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, were threatening a subpoena last week, and made good on their threat Wednesday evening.

The two chairmen have been demanding an explanation of how the Department of Health and Human Services has been funding the Basic Health Program, which states can use to cover low-income people by purchasing plans outside the Obamacare marketplaces. While the program was created by Obamacare, Congress never funded it, but the Obama administration has

01/20/16 8:38 PM

Yale-Loehr said the gun-control initiatives Obama issued in early January were already a sign of the White House treading more cautiously. He said that announcement was “pretty finely tuned to minimize the possibility of a legal challenge, so they are already being very careful.”

The courts traditionally have given presidents more latitude when it comes to wading into immigration policy and providing legal amnesty to illegal migrants, because the issue touches on sovereignty and foreign relations. But it’s difficult to know what the high court will do in this case because it hinges on the meaning and purpose of a constitutional language known as the Take Care Clause, which says it’s the president’s duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

The lawsuit, which was filed by Texas and 25 other largely Republican-led states, seeks to block Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as DAPA. The law provides temporary legal relief to immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens or are permanent residents.

The states argue that DAPA violates the Take Care Clause, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act, which guides…

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