Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom is threatening to veto legislation designed to encourage him to do little things — like his damn job:
President Obama is threatening to veto a law that would allow Congress to sue him in federal courts for arbitrarily changing or refusing to enforce federal laws because it “violates the separation of powers” by encroaching on his presidential authority.
“[T]he power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said Wednesday in a statement of administration policy. “Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.”
The veto threat is an empty one, of course. Should this bill go to the Senate, Harry Reid would kill it like a hyena singing Puccini. The House GOP is putting up more show legislation, which is good for them. Wiggleroom is flexing his muscles for his base, which is good for him and for them.
What about the law itself? During any non-Nixonian administration, I’d have to side with the White House on this one. But today I’m less certain. While it might not quite pass Constitutional muster, a case could be made for it under the Necessary and Proper clause of Article I, in defense of the Faithful Execution clause of Article II.
As a practical matter, too, can you imagine any Administration having to fight constant court battles against an opposition party in Congress, picking political nit after political nit?
So I’m pretty sure the high court would strike this one down, but it says something about Wiggleroom’s usurpations that Congress is even making a show of standing up for itself for one of the few times in a century of executive encroachments.