In writing Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, I had a purpose: Explain that the capacity of Congress to oust a lawless president is central to the Framers’ design of our governing system. Because executive power is awesome, and intended to be that way, certain abuses of it can be discouraged only by the credible threat that Congress will remove the president from power — or, if discouragement fails, can be remediated only by the president’s actual removal. That is why Madison believed that the inclusion of impeachment in Congress’s arsenal was “indispensible” to preserving the Constitution’s framework of liberty vouchsafed by divided power.
Abuse of the executive’s power over immigration enforcement now belongs in this category of maladministration that impeachment alone can counter. One must use the qualifier “now” because this was not always the case. Immigration enforcement was originally a state responsibility. Washington has supplanted the states since the early 20th century, an erosion of federalism largely responsible for our current immigration crisis. That, however, is a subject for another day. Like it or not (I don’t), the federal courts’ ill-conceived application of preemption principles has left the states and the American people vulnerable to a lawless president who refuses to protect them from illegal immigration while preventing them from protecting themselves. (Obama’s theory that disarming the state somehow promotes security works about as well in Arizona as it does in Ukraine.)