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Yahoo News -- Lyle Denniston

The National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, Lyle Denniston, explains how a federal judge’s ruling in Pittsburgh about President Obama’s immigration orders could be a sign of things to come.

“[President Obama’s] Executive Action crosses the line, constitutes legislation, and effectively changes the United States’ immigration policy. The President may only ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…’; he may not take any Executive Action that creates laws….President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional.”

– Excerpts from a ruling Tuesday by a federal judge in Pittsburgh, Arthur J. Schwab, declaring that the President had no constitutional authority to act on his own to order delays of deportation for more than 4 million undocumented immigrants. This was the first court ruling on the validity of the November announcement of the sweeping new immigration regulations.

“The judge is clearly reaching beyond the bounds of the case before him to engage in constitutional scrutiny of the executive actions,” said Peter J. Spiro, a law professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, noting that the new policies had not gone into effect yet. “It involves a lot of judicial gymnastics for the judge to get to that question.”

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Updated: Thu, Jan 1st 2015 @ 2:05pm EST