Separation of powers is back in

Last year, when the Executive branch set aside the law, that was evidence of incipient dictatorship. What a difference an election can make:

The Justice Department has declared that President Obama can disregard a law forbidding State Department officials from attending United Nations meetings led by representatives of nations considered to be sponsors of terrorism.

Based on that decision, which echoes Bush administration policy, the Obama administration sent State Department officials to the board meetings of the United Nations’ Development Program and Population Fund in late spring and this month, a department spokesman said. The bodies are presided over by Iran, which is on the department’s terror list. . .

Justice Department officials pointed out that when Mr. Obama signed the legislation containing the provision in March, he issued a signing statement reserving a right to bypass any portions of the bill that restricted his power to conduct diplomacy.

(Via Instapundit.)

The president has every right to do this; the constitution has separation of powers for a reason. (Whether it’s wise in this case is another matter.) But I do have to take a short trip down memory lane:

President Obama tried to overturn his predecessor again on Monday, saying he will not use bill signing statements to tell his aides to ignore provisions of laws passed by Congress that he doesn’t like. . .

Obama sent a two-page memo to department heads saying he would only raise constitutional issues in his signing statements and do so in “limited circumstances.” . . . In his memo, Obama asked aides to work out constitutional problems before Congress acts.

Michelle Boardman, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush administration, said the Bush White House tried to do just that. She said it is the executive branch’s responsibility to point out conflicts between newly passed laws and the Constitution.

Obama “will discover for himself just how infrequently Congress shows any interest in removing unconstitutional provisions,” she said.

Indeed he has.

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