Judiciary Chairman's Bill Would Fast-Track Lawsuits Against Executive Overreach

The House Judiciary Committee chairman is following up a pair of hearings on President Obama’s executive overreach with legislation attempting to restore separation of powers.


Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) committee is marking up the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law (ENFORCE the Law) Act this morning.

The bill establishes a procedure by which the House or Senate can sue against the Executive Branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. Such a lawsuit would be expedited by a three-judge panel at the federal district court level and then have direct appeal access to the Supreme Court. This in intended to keep the president from stalling until the end of his term.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently sued Obama in a civilian capacity over NSA spying, and acknowledged it would take a long time for the lawsuit to work its way through court.

“Now that Obamacare isn’t working, President Obama is rewriting his own law on a whim, even though the law doesn’t give him the authority to do so. President Obama boldly asserts that he has a ‘pen and a phone’ to change our laws through executive decrees, but we have a Constitution and we must abide by it,” Goodlatte said in a statement yesterday.

“Preventing the president from overstepping the boundaries of his constitutional authority is not about partisan politics. It is about preserving the fundamental premise of our constitutional design: that a limited government, divided into three separate branches exercising enumerated powers, is necessary to protect individual liberty and the rule of law.”


Co-sponsoring the bill are House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

Issa said the bill “adds balance to an Executive Branch that has grown so bloated and convoluted that it now comfortably abuses its power knowing that the complexity of its actions and judicial backlogs will allow it to effectively get away with it. This isn’t how the framers of our Constitution envisioned our system working.”

“This administration’s disregard for the law has reached an unprecedented level from a constitutional perspective. From unilaterally changing the Affordable Care Act, to suspending parts of our immigration laws, to ignoring statutory mandatory minimum laws in narcotics cases, the president’s actions threaten to usurp our system of co-equal branches of government,” Gowdy said.

“We have pursued certain remedies afforded to Congress to address executive overreach but these efforts have been thwarted. This bill is necessary; it will give Congress the authority to defend this branch of government as the Framers and our fellow citizens would expect,” he added.


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