House Republicans have taken the first step to allow Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to sue Barack Obama on behalf of Congress.
Today, the House initiated an effort to retaliate against President Obama for his failure to enforce the law. The Resolution, spearheaded by John Boehner (R-OH), would give the Speaker of the House the authority to bring legal action accusing the Administration of using Executive Orders as an end-run around Congress.
Via the Washington Post:
The nearly party-line vote Wednesday, 225 Republicans voting yes and 201 Democratic nays, illustrated the increasingly polarized climate on Capitol Hill as both parties used the pending federal suit as a rallying cry to their voting bases ahead of the November elections. Halfway across the continent Obama basked in the House’s GOP move, almost gloating at the prospect of being sued for the actions he has taken in the face of a historically high level of congressional gridlock.
“They’re going to sue me for taking executive actions to help people. So they’re mad I’m doing my job,” Obama said at an economics speech in Kansas City. “And by the way, I’ve told them I’d be happy to do with you. The only reason I’m doing it on my own is because you’re not doing anything.”
In a conference call with bloggers and the media on Wednesday, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) emphasized the fact that this move by House Republicans has nothing to do with party affiliation, and everything to do with Obama’s “willingness to sidestep Congress, [and] to create his own laws.”
“We’re hopeful that the courts will see this as a constitutional crisis where we have the executive branch making decisions outside of their authority,” said Representative Rodgers, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the Constitutional separation of powers.
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a bill by Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) that would make clear in the statutes governing Congressional action that the Speaker of the House may have standing to sue the Executive in federal court. House Republicans now believe that there is a course of action they can take that would involve asking the court to recognize the role of the House of Representatives in creating the laws that govern all Americans. If they can do this, they can truly fight back against Obama’s habit of using an Executive Order–which requires no Congressional approval–to create new laws and policies that have not passed or have not been considered by both chambers of Congress. This would be a huge blow to the Administration, and a big win for advocates of the Constitution–if it holds up.
What remains unclear is whether or not a federal court would find that the Speaker of the house actually does have standing to sue. In order to have standing, a plaintiff must show that he has been or will be directly and personally injured by the actions of the Obama Administration. It will be difficult to even present a theory of standing unless the House can back up the idea that they’ve created a new interest via federal statute, vested in the Speaker of the House, and that the interest has been injured by the actions of the President.
This is a tricky issue, because of both self-imposed and Constitutional limitations on the exercise of federal jurisdiction; it will be hard to show that the President’s actions have harmed the Congressional body itself, without assuming Speaker Boehner’s Constitutional argument–the controversy under review–is valid.
House and Senate Republicans have emphasized time and again that the President acts unilaterally to influence–and at times, rewrites–the law. On the conference call, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) seemed to indicate that this is indeed a matter of last resorts. “It shouldn’t be this way, but this is the way that the president has chosen to go,” Chaffetz said. “He’s even been so brazen to say, ‘so sue me’–so we are.”DONATE
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