Republicans are ready to sue the president

by Kristen Flavin
Posted 6/26/14, 05:50 pm

WASHINGTON—House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is taking President Barack Obama to court. One day after Boehner announced his plan to bring a lawsuit against Obama some members of Congress on Thursday voiced their support.

Boehner claims the president has not lived up to the responsibilities he swore to uphold when he took office and thinks he should be held accountable. “The Constitution makes it clear that a president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws,” he said. “In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., supports Boehner’s position: “Time and again President Obama has gone above and beyond his legal authority and failed to faithfully execute existing law as required by the Constitution.”

But Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is concerned the suit would not accomplish anything. “My prediction is that given the way that our court system works by the time that the case is resolved Barack Obama will be out of office,” Rubio said in an interview on WBDO Orlando Morning News. As proof, Rubio points to the Obamacare lawsuits just now making their way through the docket despite the law being passed nearly four years ago.

Boehner said his lawsuit is in response to the way the president has ignored Congress and misused his ability to issue executive orders. In a memo Boehner sent to House Republicans on Wednesday, he mentioned Obama’s “king-like authority at the expense of the American people and their elected legislators.” Boehner listed healthcare, energy, foreign policy, and education as areas where Obama has “circumvented Congress through executive action.”

Boehner thinks the lawsuit will help to protect Congress and the Constitution. “On behalf of the institution and the Constitution, standing up and fighting for this is the best long-term interest of the Congress,” he said.

But White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest said a taxpayer-funded lawsuit is something “most Americans wouldn’t support.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sees the lawsuit as “subterfuge” and wishes Boehner would decide to drop it. “There really needs to be an adult in the room of the Republican caucus, and I hope the speaker is that adult,” she said.

But Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., thinks Boehner’s efforts will be helpful in preserving executive and legislative branches of government. “By legislating through executive actions and selectively enforcing laws according to his personal preference, President Obama has overstepped the constitutional separation of powers,” Issa said. “By filing suit in federal court, Speaker Boehner is leading the House’s effort to preserve the integrity of our system and challenge the President’s failure to follow the law.”

If House leaders approve the lawsuit, it will move to a vote in the House. The measure will be brought to the floor in July after lawmakers return from their Independence Day recess. The House of Representatives would be listed as the plaintiff.

Kristen Flavin

Kristen is a field producer for The World and Everything in It.

Read more from this writer