WALL STREET JOURNAL
by Charles Lipson
October 28, 2014
Decisions on immigration, Iran and other hot issues that were delayed for political reasons will be coming soon.
With the midterm elections looming, the White House has delayed controversial decisions and appointments. That makes sense politically. The administration doesn’t want to force Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Michelle Nunn, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, or other embattled Democrats to defend presidential actions right now, or worse, to oppose them publicly. But as soon as the voting is done (perhaps after runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia), several big shoes will drop. Here are the most likely ones.
1) Immigration. How many millions will the president let in? On what terms? One hint: The Department of Homeland Security recently ordered more than four million green cards and visas for next year and says it might order another 29 million for future years. The cards would give immigrants who are here illegally the right to continue living and working in the U.S. legally—and perhaps receive a variety of federal and state benefits. Should the president unilaterally issue these cards, there will be a brutal debate over the wisdom of this policy, whether it extends to welfare benefits, and whether the president has the constitutional authority to issue so many cards without specific congressional approval.
2) The next U.S. attorney general. The president wants a crusader on progressive causes and a reliable firewall to protect him, just as Eric Holder has done. Rumor has it that he wants Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who has been the point man on racial preferences.
Mr. Perez’s most controversial, and constitutionally questionable, position is his support for “disparate impact” as a measure of discrimination. According to this theory, if fewer blacks or Hispanics are hired than their percentage of the “relevant” population, then the employer must have discriminated, even if all hiring procedures were fair and racially neutral. If the president nominates Mr. Perez, expect a nasty confirmation fight. Even if the president nominates someone less controversial, tough hearings are almost certain……