Opinion

Court rules Obama acted illegally; Harry Reid says it ‘means nothing’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t think he’s above the law.

He’s just indifferent to it.

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that President Obama acted illegally in 2010 when he closed down the efforts to use a Nevada mountain as a national nuclear dumping site, according to The Hill.

harryreid0813And the conclusion was pretty clear.

“The president may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections,” the ruling stated.

Reid’s shrugging response was classic Democrat in the Age of Obama.

“We’ve had some problems with that court for years,” Reid said, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. “It really doesn’t mean much. … This, without being disrespectful to the court, means nothing.”

Unfortunately, Reid has a point.

Way back in the year 2008, the Department of Energy had more or less decided that Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, would be a good place to set up a permanent storage site for spent nuclear fuels from power plants around the country.

But that was before Obama was elected to the presidency. And before he used the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010 to shut down the process of opening up Yucca Mountain that had been approved by Congress. That action was a big help to Reid, who was in a tight re-election fight at the time with tea party Republican Sharron Angle.

In doing that, the court ruled, Obama was breaking the law.

“Unless and until Congress authoritatively says otherwise, or there are no appropriated funds remaining, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must promptly continue with the legally mandated licensing process,” the decision stated.

At this point, according to the Review Journal, the NRC is about out of the money it can use to go forward with the project and Congress isn’t likely to approve move any time soon. So when Reid said the ruling “really doesn’t mean much” he might well have been right.

But the ruling means a lot in another way — that the president cannot simply disregard the law for policy reasons — and he’s making a habit of doing exactly that, with illegal immigration, with Obamacare and so on.

With every passing day, the law in the Obama administration becomes more like the vocabulary of Humpty Dumpty in “Alice in Wonderland.”

“When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less,” Humpty Dumpty said.

When Obama or cronies like Reid don’t like a law, they simply choose to ignore it, on the grounds that if they do so long enough, it will no longer apply.

So Reid really might be right in his reading of the court’s decision in the Yucca Mountain case.

Obama really might have broken the law, as the court ruled, and with the money running out it might be “irrelevant,” as Reid said.

But If the president breaking the law “means nothing,” what does?

 

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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