I suppose you have seen the usual White House press conferences. The press secretary, Josh Earnest, just like those before him, has to figure out how to defend the typically indefensible positions of the Obama administration in response to queries of the press corps.
As often as not, it is only partially about the questions that are asked by the correspondents. The major networks and the CNNs and MSNBCs of the world have a vested interest in not embarrassing this president. So if they do ask a question that might be a bit on the provocative side, you can bet that it is because someone told them to try to act a bit more like they're actually, you know, journalists and not auxiliary members of the administration.
You can also bet that there will not be a follow-up question on any lead-in query that was the least bit provocative. I mean, just look at any recent Hillary Clinton interview, of which there has been just one (by a person tight with the family with a job in the media, of course). You could sit there and make up, in real time, the follow-ups you'd love to ask -- which of course did not get asked.
That's what a White House press briefing is like. Ovine reporters, mendicant press secretary.
Of course, there is an exception and, as you would expect, it is the Fox News correspondent, a fellow by the name of Ed Henry. Ed Henry asks challenging questions, and follows up -- or tries to, if Josh Earnest lets him, when the answer from the podium is deserving of having layers of it pulled back.
All that is by way of leading up to a question that desperately needs to be asked of Barack Obama or, in the more possible case, of Josh Earnest earnestly fielding those questions. And none of the sheep in the press corps will ask it, so I suppose I have to beg.
Ed Henry, would you please ask this question as phrased here:
Mr. Earnest -- right now, Kate Steinle is dead because San Francisco's "sanctuary city" practice prevented its law enforcement personnel from turning her murderer over to DHS ICE. Other cities have done the same, and others have died or been victims of other crimes by illegal aliens who were not turned over to ICE. San Francisco's actions violate Federal law, as do those of the other sanctuary cities. Barack Obama is the ultimate overseer of the administration of Federal law. So if Congress were to pass a law that stated only that the establishment of a sanctuary city is a Federal crime, and that failure to properly turn over illegal aliens to DHS is punishable by imprisonment of the local officials responsible, would the president sign it? And if not, why not, and what provisions would comprise a bill to penalize sanctuary cities that he would sign?
It might take Mr. Henry a few tries to get that whole thing answered. But he needs to. Barack Obama has been so frighteningly silent on the Steinle murder -- #illegals'victimslivesmatter -- that he needs to be put on the spot, or at least his press secretary does.
The difference here is that the sanctuary cities violate Federal law, and Federal law comes under the jurisdiction of the president (and his attorney general, but the AG doesn't "make" law). San Francisco violated Federal law when it passed the sanctuary-city law, and it violated it further, and fatally, when it failed to release Miss Steinle's killer to ICE.
Apart from the liability for a whopping lawsuit of the City by the Steinle family, there is the matter of accountability by a jurisdiction that violates Federal law. Federal law is not arbitrary and capricious, and it's not flexible either. If the existence of sanctuary cities is not adequately perceived by this administration as illegal enough to warrant even a comment, then Congress can write the punishment into Federal law.
Will this president sign it? Inquiring minds want to know.
Ed Henry, please inquire.
Copyright 2015 by Robert Sutton
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