The reliably partisan Greg Sargent of the WaPo ponders the possible scope as well as the legal and political landscape around Obama's impending executive action on immigration. He delivers this punchline:
Morning Plum: How far can Obama go to ease deportations?
But in the end, I hope the administration makes its decision based solely on what it genuinely determines is legally, rather than politically, possible.
My goodness. With this level of detachment from reality I marvel that Mr. Sargent can find his keyboard in the morning.
OF COURSE the final decision will be determined by the politics. And as to legality, by way of contrast Obama could pardon every person ever convicted junder federal law of marijuana possession, or cocaine trafficking, or human trafficking by late this afternoon. That would surely be legal - does Mr. Sargent hope Obama does it simply because it is legal? Or would it be OK for Obama to weigh political factors in that context?
Yes, Mr. Sargent is talking about prosecutorial discretion frather than executive pardons but the point is the same - the primary constraint on the executive is political rather than legal, which means the politics can not be ignored.