Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Does Not Play Well With Others

The Secretary of Homeland Security, like his boss, apparently doesn't believe in either the rule of law or the seperation of powers, both key to American Democracy. That much is clear from this report in the NY Times:

Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, waived several environmental laws yesterday to continue building a border fence through a national conservation area in Arizona, bypassing a federal court ruling that had suspended the fence construction.

Citing “unacceptable risks to our nation’s security” if the fence along the border with Mexico was further delayed, Mr. Chertoff invoked waiver authority granted him under a 2005 bill that mandated construction of the fence.

He ordered work to continue on 6.9 miles of fence along the border through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Cochise County in southeastern Arizona.
[Emphasis added]

In a stance quite typical of this administration, Mr. Chertoff has decided that he need not follow any inconvenient rulings on the issue, even if one of those rulings came from a federal judge.

In a ruling on Oct. 10, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the federal court for the District of Columbia held up construction of the fence, finding that the government had failed to carry out the required environmental assessment. The decision came in a suit brought by the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife.

In a statement yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security said it “disagrees with the court’s ruling” and was confident of eventually winning the case. It noted that two federal land management agencies had authorized the department to proceed with the fence.
[Emphasis added]

Mr. Chertoff might very well win the case, but it's generally considered necessary to let the appellate process play out. That's how the rule of law works. Mr. Chertoff apparently believes, as does his boss, that law is for the little people. His job is to stop pesky illegal immigrants from breaching the borders, because, as we all know (Terra!Terra!Terra!), that is how the 9/11 miscreants entered the US.

I hope Judge Huvell has the ovaries to slap a contempt of court charge on one of the real terrorists in this country.

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