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Federal judge's surprise ruling finds Obama amnesty orders 'unconstitutional'

In a surprise move that could mean new legal trouble for President Obama's executive amnesty plot, a federal judge in Pennsylvania inserted himself into the developing nationwide court fight Tuesday.

Judge Arthur J. Schwab of the Western District issued an unusual judicial memorandum acknowledging that a president has discretionary powers deciding how to enforce laws.

But Judge Schwab said Obama's executive action immigration policies go far beyond that and establish an entire system for granting legal protections to wide groups of individuals, illegal immigrants. The judge said Obama's edicts grant "substantive rights" to illegals.

Judge Schwab's memo has no immediate effect on Obama's controversial executive actions, which are undergoing a number of legal challenges elsewhere, including one by two dozen states and another by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And the non-binding observations by the judge, a George W. Bush appointee in 2001, could be dismissed by higher courts.

But the judge's scathing denunciation of Obama's acts as unconstitutional is an imposing indicator that the lame-duck Democrat may not have as strong a legal standing as he has claimed in his stump speeches. Tuesday's Pennsylvania ruling was largely ignored by U.S. media.

"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," Judge Schwab wrote, "and therefore is unconstitutional."

The judge even used Obama's own words against him, quoting the president's numerous previous remarks about how he does not have the constitutional power to do what he then did anyway. The administration has argued that it is merely carrying out congressional intent by establishing enforcement priorities with limited resources.

The memo came in an unrelated Pittsburgh deportation case involving Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, an illegal immigrant who was deported in 2005, illegally returned to this country and began working for his brother's landscaping company. He was nabbed during a routine traffic stop earlier this year and pled guilty to illegal re-entry.

Judge Schwab wanted to know why Juarez-Escobar was excluded from Obama's amnesty because he has a sibling relationship and not the parent-child relationships covered by Obama's order.

Immigration rights activists, you'll be surprised to learn, immediately denounced the judge's ruling that could help Juarez-Escobar as "ill-advised and poorly-reasoned."

Sheriff Arpaio's legal challenge is set for a court hearing in Washington Christmas week. He is claiming that Obama's policies will encourage illegal immigration and create additional law enforcement problems in his Maricopa County. Obama lawyers have argued, in part, that judges have no right to review such executive actions.

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As Obama fades, a new flock of leaders prepares to fight over his succession

As Obama's reign fades, a new flock of leaders prepares to compete

Despite all the flashy dry lightning of last weekend's last gasp of the current Congress, this might seem like a quiet time in the nation's politics. But don't be deceived by the looming holiday hiatus.

Yes, the increasingly irrelevant President Obama, his family and cronies are leaving behind their 26 White House Christmas trees on Friday to make the December multi-million-dollar migration to Hawaii for golf, workouts at the Marine base and dinners at fancy restaurants. Don't worry, there will be a shaved ice photo-op with the girls, too.

Congressional members are heading home for the holidays, which for most actually means the suburbs of D.C. And the Washington political media is left with an empty city to scrounge up stories to justify their paychecks. Sydney sieges will only get you through a day or two. And God forbid they venture into real America.

Thus, you can anticipate a spate of coverage about "new" things in Washington. Prepare for loving looks at Elizabeth Warren, the liberal Pocahontas who wants to be the nation's nagging auntie. Already reports circulate that 300 Obama-bots have lined up behind her, which isn't surprising as they'll all need work in 765 days or less.

The Warren story has the advantage of seeming to create a "race" with Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democrat nomination.

Warren probably will "challenge" Clinton, especially if the Emcee of Benghazi stumbles more early next year. Not because Warren has a progressive's prayer of defeating the former first lady in 2016. But because a 2015 feint will raise the ambitious Warren's national political profile and expand her donor list for later.

In comparison to Wild Warren, Hillary will seem less scary. And then there's Joe Biden.

The upcoming presidential race is shaping up as a political switcheroo from recent contests. This time Democrat Hillary as 2008's second-place finisher is her party's nomination heir-apparent, as John McCain was for Republicans after George W. Bush and Mitt Romney after McCain.

This time it's the Republican field that's wide open, as Democrats were in 2007-08. Not by coincidence, Jeb Bush has found reason to pass through Washington in these slower news cycles which, as planned, generated more "Is He Or Isn't He?" stories.

Be wary of predictions about anything, however, at............

Biden to decide on White House bid by spring or summer 'whichever comes first'

Our more than 178,000 combined followers on Twitter (click here for that) and on Facebook (then click here to subscribe to that) know that on weekday afternoons we regularly share a selection of that evening's late-night jokes before broadcast. We publish a collection of these and other jokes when the shows are not on hiatus.

Previous collections of late-night jokes are available here.

Stephen Colbert to President Obama the other night on jobs: "I'll give it to you. You've employed a lot of people--mostly as secretary of Defense."

Conan: President Obama met with Britain's Prince William in the Oval Office. A meeting between a symbolic ruler with no real power and the future King of England.

Fallon: Joe Biden will help with the 35th annual lighting of the National Menorah at the White House. Hearing that, Smokey the Bear said, "Hold my calls."

Meyers: California's DMV is issuing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. After about two hours at the DMV, they all asked to be deported.

Conan: In Wisconsin, thousands of people showed up at a brewery for a holiday sale on beer. There were no survivors.

Fallon: Many people are upset that the Golden Globes snubbed 'Walking Dead,' 'Modern Family' & 'Interstellar.' But Obama issued another executive order granting them a pathway to nomination.

Meyers: Malala Yousafazai and Kailash Satyarthi have won the Nobel Peace Prize. And the committee is giving an honorable mention to whoever has to announce them.

Fallon: President Obama went to the hospital the other day because of a sore throat. Everything is fine, but it was a little awkward when they asked what insurance he uses, and he was like, "Blue Cro -- uhhhh, ObamaCare."

Conan: The Obama administration rules that Native Americans can grow and sell marijuana on their reservations. That decision was hailed as a victory by tribal leader "Giggling Eagle."

Fallon: Joe Biden says he'll decide on a 2016 presidential campaign by the spring or summer "whichever comes first."

Conan: A lot of anger out there over the Discovery Channel's "Eaten Alive" special because the snake didn't actually swallow him. Americans won't stand for two things: false advertising and portion control.

Conan: A Southwest passenger gave birth in-flight. As soon as he was born, the new baby said, "I had more legroom in the womb."

Meyers: A San Francisco to Phoenix flight had to land in Los Angeles when a passenger gave birth in flight. The parents called the birth a miracle. The airline called it a second carry-on.

Meyers: Time names Ebola caregivers as............

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