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Boehner’s Feckless Plan to Sue Obama

June 25th, 2014 - 7:41 am

So we finally have the Beltway GOP plan to confront Obama administration lawlessness. Make that, to have someone else confront Obama administration lawlessness. Is there a contest to name the Republican strategy? I’d call it: “Please Don’t Make Me Use My Powers … The Obamedia Might Say Mean Things About Me.”

Mr. Obama’s sweeping lawlessness, a comprehensive assault on the separation of powers, is the subject of my new book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. The administration’s goal is to centralize governmental power in the executive branch. That is exactly what the separation of powers is designed to avoid, the Framers having grasped that the accumulation of all power in one set of hands had always been, and will always be, the road to tyranny.

Roll Call reports that House Speaker John Boehner (R., OH) will respond to this challenge to our constitutional framework by … wait for it … filing a lawsuit. The apparent aim of this theater is to persuade a judge to pronounce what is already patent: the president is flouting congressional statutes.

Speaker Boehner’s proposed suit is nearly as wayward as President Obama’s violation of his solemn oath to execute the laws faithfully. Under our system, in order to avoid having major public policy questions decided by the governmental branch that is not politically accountable to voters, the judiciary is limited to resolving concrete controversies — cases in which the party bringing the suit has actually been injured by a violation of law. Courts are thus prohibited from issuing advisory opinions: pronouncements that some course of conduct is or would be illegal.

Yet, that appears to be exactly what the speaker will ask them to do. Indeed Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, reminded Roll Call that the House has already passed a bill that would expedite court consideration of House resolutions enabling lawsuits that challenge executive overreach. “The House has passed legislation to address this, but it has gone nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate,” Mr. Steel explained, “so we are examining other options.”

Obviously, Republican leadership does not see its “other options” as including the exercise of powers the Constitution gives Congress to stop executive lawlessness in its tracks, namely, cutting off the executive branch’s funding and impeaching executive branch officials who violate the law, carry out lawless policy, mislead lawmakers, stonewall investigations, and frustrate Congress’s constitutional oversight function. In essence, Boehner & Co. are fecklessly asking the courts to do their heavy lifting for them — a classic case of assuming the pose of meaningful action while in reality doing nothing. And tune in next week when Republicans get back to complaining about how activist judges are making the law rather than interpreting it.

Republican lawmakers will plead with the courts to do something about Obama’s imperiousness because there is political risk in using their own authority. If they employ these game-ending powers, the president will use the bully pulpit to bully them and his media loyalists will echo the demagoguery from here to Election Day.

Clearly, Republicans doubt their competence to win this debate, to make presidential lawlessness the defining issue of our political discourse. They prefer to cruise quietly into November, and hope — as they did in 2012 — that the unpopularity of Obama’s agenda will be enough to carry them through the election. But they also know their agitated base is demanding that they do something to stop or slow the dizzying pace of Obama’s “Change,” which in just the last couple of weeks has given us: the VA scandal, ruinous EPA regulations, the release of top Taliban terrorists to return to the jihad, an invited invasion of thousands of illegal aliens across the Southern border, and revelations that executive officials destroyed key evidence in the IRS scandal.

So the GOP will substitute futile litigation for purposeful legislation. This, of course, is the same strategy that has saddled us with Obamacare: Take no real legislative action — in fact, continue funding the problem — and pray that the Supreme Court will be the grown-ups willing to strike down the law and bear the Obamedia wrath. That worked out well, no?

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Top Rated Comments   
Cowards, every one of them. They know full well they have multiple grounds to impeach, but they're too effing weak to do it. I'm ashamed of them all.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Boehner is a joke. The Republican controlled House is a joke. The courts are a joke. Issa's continuing inestigative hearings are a joke. Truth is no one has the guts or standing to stop BO. And he knows it.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Declaration of Independence has enough words to end this awful era in American political history:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government ...
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
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Boehner's job is to abort any opposition to Obama inside the GOP. Notice I didn't say he wants to stop TALK of opposing Obama.

Google John Boehner and son-in-law
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
BEING LEGALLY CORRECT IS NOT A STRATEGY
Everything you say seems right: The courts will not get involved in what should be an impeachment proceeding. However, Boehner knows exactly who he's dealing with: The first Black President. The Supreme Court twisted itself into a pretzel to give legal justification to Obamacare. Why? It didn't want to reject the signature legislation of the first Black President. Similarly, Boehner doesn't want the GOP to be impugned by impeaching the first Black President. And, besides, impeachment is a loser in a Senate trial. What to do? Be cautious. File a lawsuit that's also a loser with the hope that the Supreme Court justices, while rejecting the lawsuit, give opinions that support impeachment. This would give validity -- as well as press to the issues -- that Boehner knows he needs to go forward with impeachment. Yes, it's not pretty. It's called 'Politics'. Plus, given today's 9-0 slap down, there's always the chance the Court would slap Obama down further.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do they have a clue angry the conservative base is at them after they have spent 23 million to defeat that base - and that the have now proven they are just as eager as the media to paint them as racist, dumb, extremists.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
then what dol you suggest we do Mr. McCarthy? I am not crazy about Feckless Boehner, and this effort looks more like symbolism over substance but we are driven to a point of despiration. Suggest a route and help us take it!
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah well. The Speaker, John Boehner, the elected spokesperson for the "Republicans"of the House.

What fun. A"debate". Just think of all that TV and press attention. Finally stardom.

To debate the lawlessness of BH Obama as President. The same BH Obama who has told the world that HE need not concern himself with laws as HE can always sign an Executive Order to get what HE Wants.

BH Obama who gives the Congress and Judiciary the finger at every turn since first acceding to "The Office of President".

Who learned the meaining of craven during his tenure as US Senator while still admitting his birthplace as Kenya, In Africa.

Before SEAILNG unspecified and undesignated documents under Executive Order from public review. Review by that American Public in whose name and trust he acts.

Lawlessness. What's that?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who exactly does McCarthy expect them to impeach? The current Commissioner, Koskinen, who wasn't there when this stuff happened? Yes, he misled Congress but claims he didn't know at the time.

If McCarthy thinks that would be effective, I'll have whatever he's drinking.

And as far as the "power of the purse" goes, without a budget - which Reid will not allow this year - we are reduced to acquiescing to a continuing resolution or shutting down the government.

Every single time we have had a government shutdown, going back to Reagan, Republicans are blamed and it hurts our standing with voters. "Making a point" is not so attractive when the cost is strengthening the Democrats' hold on power.

And to those who won't vote GOP because they don't do exactly what you hope: GROW UP. Your childish petulance could leave Reid in control of the Senate. If nothing else, that means possible new SCOTUS justices like Sotomayor and Kagan, and at least 200 other federal judges to lifetime appointments.

Those judges will be affecting your grandchildren's lives, and their children's. And it will be YOUR fault, because your precious feelings are hurt.

Shame on all of you.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Boehner had any brains (and the balls to go with them) he'd start passing budgets that defund the worst part of this administration. Take away Michele's vacation money for starters - THAT would get some attention. Defund the IRS - EPA - DOJ - DOE ---- and Education for good measure. If they have no money to function they can't keep screwing with us.

Sadly Boehner has neither the balls to act - or the brains to have some plan of attack if he did. Asking the courts to do what he and his colleagues won't is a sure sign of a chickensh!t.

25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
No can do with a Dem Senate ... would simply set up the GOP to get blamed again and again for government shutdowns that nobody likes. Sort of akin to becoming a "cutter" - a typically teen female who inflicts cuts on herself out of depression and perhaps also to get negative attention. Not very productive means of achieving anything.

The lawsuit is the right thing to do, not just for dealing with Obama now, but for preserving the proper checks and balances in our constitution.

As for defunding programs and agencies, that becomes a somewhat viable approach only if the GOP wins the Senate, which seems rather likely. Obama will still veto every such bill however, and the probability that the GOP will have enough votes in the Senate to override a veto (67) is nil. So really, there's no practical near term solution to Obama's overreach.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The GOP had House Senate and White House and they gave us Medicare Part D.

40-55% of the voters that claim to be on our side will make any excuse for inaction. Mostly they are more worried that our mortal enemies might say bad things about us than they are that we are headed over a cliff. They claim to be willing to support responsible action, but then they give a veto to the liberal media over that action.

"We can't replace Boehner, he's not the cause for all of our problems."
"we can't hold the budget hostage because the press will say mean things."
"we can't build a border fence because Mexicans won't like us."
"we can't jail bankers because that would scare the markets."

Keep making excuses for inaction and you guarantee this country erupts into violence. Once vast portions of the country understand politics will never fix a serious problem the violence will start. And when that happens the passive Mayberry types will be desperately asking "why didn't someone do something before all this happened?"
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I heard Boehner was going to do this today, I told my husband, that I hope the court throws Boehner out, and tells him to do his job, or resign.

I will not be voting in November. I will not vote for my GOP rep. in VA., because I won't vote for anyone who will put John Boehner back in as speaker. I would vote if I was lucky enough to live in Dave Brat's district, but I don't.

They're doing nothing to stop him, so there's no point in voting for them. After what they did to Chris McDaniel in MS., they showed they are leftists at heart. I have no use for them. I hope we can solve this in the future, or through an Article 5, Convention of the States. That's if the country isn't destroyed by the left in both parties or Islamists before then.

John Boehner's a disgrace. He has no business being in a leadership position. It's no wonder Congress has a 7% approval. Ugh, I can't stand them.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
John Boehner and House GOP members had exactly zero to do with the MS Senate runoff - that was a fair contest closely run, and you're just POd cause your guy lost ... get over it.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is fair about tarring your opponent as racist on radio ads, or as a liberal when he is anything but?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Civil society precedes the state, both morally and historically. Society creates order and grants the state legitimacy. If a ruler seeks absolute power, if he acts both as judge and participant in disputes, he puts himself in a state of war with his subjects and we have the right and the duty to kill such rulers and their servants. (John Locke)
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Obviously, Republican leadership does not see its “other options” as including the exercise of powers the Constitution gives Congress to stop executive lawlessness in its tracks, namely, cutting off the executive branch’s funding..."

How exactly does that work? That civics lesson was a long time ago for me but I don't recall that the House has the unilateral ability to turn off the spigot.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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