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by
Bryan Preston

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July 7, 2014 - 10:11 am
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House Speaker John Boehner is drafting legislation that will enable the U.S. House of Representatives to sue President Barack Obama in federal court. Boehner lays out the case for such a lawsuit in this column for CNN. Boehner seeks to sue to halt Obama’s unilateral rewriting of laws, most notably Obamacare and immigration law.

There must be accountability. We have a system of government outlined in our Constitution with the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. Congress has its job to do, and so does the President. When there are conflicts like this — between the legislative branch and the executive branch — it is my view that it is our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve, and for the Constitution.

If you look back over American history, there has always been a tension between the inherent powers of the executive branch versus the inherent powers of the legislative branch. This issue is as old as Marbury vs. Madison and as fresh as the unanimous Supreme Court ruling last week that the President overstepped his authority on recess appointments.

Over the last five years, starting — not coincidentally — when his political party lost the majority in the House of Representatives, the President has consistently overstepped his authority under the Constitution, and in so doing eroded the power of the legislative branch.

The legislative branch has an obligation to defend the rights and responsibilities of the American people, and America’s constitutional balance of powers — before it is too late.

Obama himself, as a senator and candidate for the presidency, repeatedly criticized President George W. Bush for unilateral uses of executive power. As president, Obama has gone much farther than Bush did. Obama has used fewer executive orders than Bush, but his have been more sweeping and have rewritten laws that were drafted by Congress. The president is not allowed to do this.

Boehner and the Republicans controlling the House have four options to counter Obama’s move. They could 1) do nothing; 2) impeach Obama; 3) cut off funding for some or all of the federal government to get Obama’s attention; or 4) sue him.

Conservatives aren’t united on which path Boehner should take. Pat Buchanan wants impeachment off the table. Erick Erickson thinks the lawsuit is just theater, and wants the House to cut federal funding instead. Erickson accuses Boehner of lacking “testicular fortitude” to fight Obama, which ignores the fact that the House has passed dozens of bills to repeal Obamacare and to rein in his executive overreaches. The House cannot pass bills into laws by itself. Without control of the Senate, Republicans’ options to stop the president are limited. Erickson admits as much when he says that the House GOP’s one “victory” over Obama — cut, cap and balance — did not succeed, except as a public relations move. A divided Congress just isn’t much of a threat to an ambitious president.

Buchanan is right, that impeaching the president will open up the GOP to accusations of racism for trying to remove the nation’s first black president. Any talk of impeachment before the mid-terms threatens to change the subject of the elections from Obamacare, the economy, and other issues to that single issue, which is sure to bring the president’s demoralized base back to vote for him one more time. Any talk of another government shutdown, or cutting off federal funding, also poses the risk of changing the mid-term election subject from Obama’s acts to Republicans’ acts.

Maybe that’s a risk worth taking. The results of the last government shutdown aren’t conclusive. Republicans were divided going into that one and spent as much time firing at each other as they spent noting that the Obama administration used the shutdown to punish veterans and national park users. Democrats and the media were united in painting it as a disaster for the country, even though it wasn’t. Most Americans didn’t really notice the so-called shutdown at all. There is little prospect that Republicans would be much more united in cutting off federal funds than it was during the shutdown. The GOP establishment just defended big-spending Sen. Thad Cochran against a conservative challenger.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I sure appreciate the "limited government" approach your advocating. Nothing says liberty like political prisoners!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ambitious? Hmmm.

I suppose treason, overthrow, sedition, tyranny and totalitarianism are all ambitious endeavors.

I once watched Mike Ditka rollerblade around the Vikings stadium. Was it theater? Of course it was theater. And a message.

Agreeing with Pat Buchanan comes with more thorns than rose petals, but impeachment has no promise of justice in the final scene. The corrupt Democratic Senators needed to vote to derail the coup are conspirators in it.

The amount of intellect it takes to grasp the futility of that equation sets the bar at Joe Biden level or lower.


Weaponized agencies and their czars and czarinas, destroying material evidence of the gang rape of the Constitution should be the battlefield. EVERY action available ...lawsuits, special prosecutors, select committee investigations, STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTION, defunding, criminal prosecutions, ...a full out assault...AND a PR avalanche, professionally managed should be launched.

Arrest Koskinen and throw him in a Texas jail. Arrest Lerner and charge her with state felonies. No bail.

Arrest EPA felons. Arrest DOJ felons.

Let the system grind its way along...all the way to the Supreme Court.

If the game being played is "you can't stop us", then we know how they want to play.

The states have rights and a duty to protect their citizens. The citizens have rights and a duty to protect their country, their liberty and their freedom.

Attack back. Playing prevent defense all the time is a sure way to get marched down the field on...and trampled.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's the downside for Boehner?

The LIVs will eat this up, and he will solidify his position with the fringe of his caucus.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (35)
All Comments   (35)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Boehner has little fortitude to sue. Won't happen.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you live by the rules despite an ongoing perversion and flaunting of those rules by adversaries, you will lose. Every time. Is this so very hard to grasp?

No one at PJM is thinking, errrr, writing outside the box. Just more hand-wringing is all.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
What about suing Obama on specific cases instead of on this general lawlessness? I'd like to see Boehner start with Obama's illegal adjustments to Obamacare. Make him enforce it to the letter.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The existing restraining instruments available to Speaker Boehner are either historically difficult (impeachment), politically impossible due to a divided legislature (defunding), or both…mostly both. Unless there is a break in the Democrat dam, the Republicans are largely powerless.

So why not give the lawsuit a try? One can have a symbolic stunt also serve a substantive purpose. There’s been entirely too much heat from some on the right; condemning it as a “stunt” without even knowing the text. Boehner isn’t relying on Lionel Hutz, Attorney at Law. He’s got some legal scholars ruminating over the issue. Maybe there will be a novel argument that sways the judiciary and the lawsuit succeeds? Unlikely, sure…but imagine the earthquake produced by victory.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Divided legislature was/is not a problem for refunding Obama's destructive projects. House had just stop funding the budget deficit and would not consider raising taxes.

Senate approval is not needed for NOT raising debt limit.
And Obama would have to prioritize resources he already has.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fair points, wintermute.

Having agreed with you, my tummy tells me this is largely for theatrical purposes, pro and con.

Pro - Boehner and other establishmentarians might believe that us dumb, redneck Tea Partiers are stupid enough to believe the man capable of summoning the testicular fortitude to push this lawsuit. They might believe we're stupid enough to think they give a crap about "stopping the Obama agenda" (dum dum duuuuum). In fact, I'm sure they think we're stupid enough to believe them.

Con - They probably also believe this will hurt the Tea Party fringe (per NYSocialist below). The Boehners of the world probably think they can later spin this as, "Hey, we had to do something to appease those lunatic fanatical terrorist hostage takers on the extreme right wing of the party."

Thus, hurting the Republican image - hopefully the Tea Party image - and making Democrats and establishmentarians look moderate. Yes, I do believe the establishment Republicans are in bed with the Democrats. There are plenty of Progressive Statists in both political parties.

A loss for Establishpublicans is as much a win for Progressivism as a win for Establishpublicans. So long as power is consolidated into fewer hands, Progressivism wins. Democrats are outfront about it. Our party has a strong 5th column running the show.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe and there is a lot of truth here, but we’ve moved beyond the realm of policy into pure legality. Even if Boehner wasn’t committed to rolling back Obama’s policies (an argument for another time), I believe he is committed to restraining the administration from blatantly unlawful action…action that robs power from the Congress…so even if you don’t trust Boehner on matters of ideological purity, I’d think more trust is earned when the matter at hand is maintaining his power out of pure naked self-interest.

Even some liberals are finally beginning to complain about the legality of the president’s actions.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
As for the slow progression of a lawsuit…it is true that even should the Boehner lawsuit succeed, it will likely be finally decided by the Supreme Court either very, very late in Obama’s term or after he has left office. Nonetheless, a victory, though late, would still set a precedent for restraining President Hillary Clinton.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ambitious? Hmmm.

I suppose treason, overthrow, sedition, tyranny and totalitarianism are all ambitious endeavors.

I once watched Mike Ditka rollerblade around the Vikings stadium. Was it theater? Of course it was theater. And a message.

Agreeing with Pat Buchanan comes with more thorns than rose petals, but impeachment has no promise of justice in the final scene. The corrupt Democratic Senators needed to vote to derail the coup are conspirators in it.

The amount of intellect it takes to grasp the futility of that equation sets the bar at Joe Biden level or lower.


Weaponized agencies and their czars and czarinas, destroying material evidence of the gang rape of the Constitution should be the battlefield. EVERY action available ...lawsuits, special prosecutors, select committee investigations, STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTION, defunding, criminal prosecutions, ...a full out assault...AND a PR avalanche, professionally managed should be launched.

Arrest Koskinen and throw him in a Texas jail. Arrest Lerner and charge her with state felonies. No bail.

Arrest EPA felons. Arrest DOJ felons.

Let the system grind its way along...all the way to the Supreme Court.

If the game being played is "you can't stop us", then we know how they want to play.

The states have rights and a duty to protect their citizens. The citizens have rights and a duty to protect their country, their liberty and their freedom.

Attack back. Playing prevent defense all the time is a sure way to get marched down the field on...and trampled.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The one unfailing tool at Boehner's disposal is one he refuses to put to work. The problem with the power of the purse is that the pigs at the government trough with an R branded on their hide would raise too much of a squeal. Can't have that. They supply the Rs with an all you can eat buffet of pork. Time to play a game of chicken with the pork.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, cfb, you are one of the few, if any, up to here who at least offers a plan. Others have wanted Boehner to "do somthing" for years. He finally does something and nobody will support him. These are the same ones who offer Boehner no ideas on what he should do besides initiating an impeachment that will fail in the Senate. And as a non-lawyer, I am not exactly sure what the specific charges would be.

Personally, I think they might as well go ahead with impeachment. At least that would put the big I-word in Obama's bio and the history books. Our children and grandchildren may well ask us, "Why didn't you do something?"
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I sure appreciate the "limited government" approach your advocating. Nothing says liberty like political prisoners!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
You think prosecution of felons is too expansive? You must be thrilled with the release of 37,000 of them.

And throwing open the borders.

And using the EPA to destroy the free market.

And targeting civilians for government abuse.

I guess we should be thankful you weren't around in 1770's. You would have shot Paul Revere's horse.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hang on, Staten Con.

I could be wrong, but I think cfbleachers was saying "Jail those who have committed felonies." From his heated post, I take away that he would give due process to everyone he mentioned.

The problem is, we have people who are clearly involved in government corruption, but aren't facing any due process - most probably because their bosses would get pulled down with them.

I know you hate the idea that human beings can govern themselves, but you failed on this little "gotcha".
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Total agreement. Short of a second bloody revolution, your plan is the only one with a hope for success.

We must honestly over-communicate our message every chance we can get. When someone in the media or either political party tries to derail our message, we must fall back on the words in the Constitution. It's such brief and simple document, anyone can understand what's written in it.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Boehner lacks the courage and commitment to stand up for what is his Constitutional duty because Obama's Praetorian Guard Media will hound him as racist. His strategy is one of assumption of republican control of both chambers in January 2015 and the presidency in 2017 by default.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Disagree, my friend. Boehner doesn't lack courage. He's quite happy with the state of things, and his only fear is that someone will cut off the money supply.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mostly agree.

I think he also lacks courage.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The nearly half of the country that now depends on welfare and other social programs funded by the other half are unlikely to want a less powerful presidency...We feel less free now, because we are less free now. Unfortunately, we’re choosing to be less free by electing the likes of Barack Obama.

Sadly, Bryan, it's worse than that. I had a recent argument with a patron at an airport bar. It didn't take long for our conversation to turn political, and when it did the guy kept using the phrase "polite society".

It hit me that everything in this guy's view was seen through that lens. Finally, I said that I was more interested in a free society than a polite one, and that's when he pointed his finger at me and said "That's the problem."

This gentleman then proceeded to explain to me that people want and need a polite society, and ultimately, if it were up to him, he'd shoot those who refused or were incapable of being polite. When I asked him what would happen when someone else got power who disagreed with his specific definition of "polite", he simply shrugged his shoulders as if such a thought was completely irrelevant.

That's the heart of the problem for the statists. They simply never think of what might happen if their own view of "everyone's best interest" were suddenly the out-of-favor-view. They can't conceive that any right thinking individual would disagree with their own personal view of what is an isn't appropriate in the public sphere. They're too wrapped up in their own tiny little minds. Worse, those tiny little minds have absolutely no room for anyone else, nor is there room for compunctions regarding the murder of otherwise decent human beings.

Comply or die, the motto of liberals everywhere.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
" he simply shrugged his shoulders as if such a thought was completely irrelevant."

No doubt it was.

To such a person, thought itself is completely irrelevant.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
So very Polite to threaten to shoot those who disagree with him. I would have called him a lying idiot to his face, then complimented him for his courage to admit his true feelings, politely.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
That would have made me feel better, but I figured it wouldn't have allowed us to advance the conversation further.

This guy honestly blamed either "America" or "Christianity" for slavery, racism, and everything bad in history. As smart as these so-called academics are supposed to be, so few of them know much about history.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Speaker Boehner would do better for the country if he would speak out more against the transgressions that we see every day emanating from the White House. Why a lawsuit that would take years when that is to the benefit of Obama, we have laws that are being broken every day, why not injunctions to stop the law breaking and other type of warfare using the millions of laws on the books. Read into the Congressional Record the many, many laws that have been broken and been made worthless because of Presidential overreach and Congressional inaction and cause embarrassment if nothing else. Mr. Boehener has the Bully Pulpit in the House, why isn't he using it? Everyone in the country with the brain of a centipede knows what Obama is doing, why isn't this being talked about in Congress; the Cloward/Piven Plan that is being used will work if we don't have fighters in the House and Senate, use the purse strings.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
My thoughts exactly, Ron Nord. The message Boehner seems to be broadcasting is that he's simply not all that bothered by Obama's behavior.

Hell, if Boehner really wanted to impact Americans with his little CNN opinion piece, he'd have quoted directly from the Constitution. Here's a tiny example:

Article I, Section 8

The Powers of Congress

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.


The President's job is to execute the laws as legislated by Congress. He may, according to Article II, Section 3:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient

But that's not the same thing as actually writing law through Executive Order or regulation. Also, and most importantly:

Article II, Section I

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."


23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jaycen, in order to do that, three things are necessary:

1. Knowledge of the Constitution.
2. Genuinely valuing said Constitution.
3. Integrity.

I don't see any reason to believe that any of the three are present with Mr. Boehner.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putting all the eggs in one basket, hoping Kennedy votes the right way? You know the 4 anti-Constitutionalist Supremes (kegan, Soto, Gins, Breyer) will side with giving Pres all power...
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sue? Impeach! Boehner, lameass crap like suing is why everyone thinks you're a spineless boob.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Impeachment = a Democrat sweep this fall and a lock on the White House in 2016.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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