Boehner Plans to Sue Obama Over Executive Orders

6/27/14
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
6/25/14:

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Wednesday he was planning to file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama over his use of executive actions.

The unusual legal action would be aimed at reining in steps Mr. Obama has taken that Republicans consider an overreach of his power.

“The Constitution makes it clear that the president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws. In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the law,” Mr. Boehner told reporters Wednesday.

The top House Republican declined to specify which executive action he would target in his lawsuit, though other lawmakers mentioned his delays of deadlines in the Affordable Care Act and the program deferring deportation of some young illegal immigrants as possibilities.

Mr. Boehner raised the idea among House lawmakers by emailing them a Washington Post column by conservative writer George Will last week and then discussed the potential lawsuit at Tuesday’s closed-door meeting of the House GOP, said Rep. Matt Salmon (R., Ariz.). Traditionally, the courts have not allowed frustrated members of Congress to sue the White House, but two lawyers cited in Mr. Will’s article believe the situation might be different if one chamber voted to authorize a lawsuit, Mr. Salmon said.

“All three branches are co-equal in authority and power,” Mr. Salmon said. “When one usurps a power they don’t have through the Constitution, the only remedy is through the courts.”

In July, Mr. Boehner plans to bring to the floor legislation that would authorize the House to file suit, which would be done through the House General Counsel, at the direction of the bipartisan legal advisory group, the speaker wrote in a memo to House members on Wednesday.

The bipartisan legal advisory group is a five-member panel consisting of the top three leaders in the majority party and top two in the minority. The group has the authority to instruct the House’s nonpartisan general counsel to take legal action on behalf of the House. Republicans used the group in 2011 to defend the Defense of Marriage Act after the Obama administration said it considered the law unconstitutional.

Mr. Boehner said the lawsuit’s goal would not be to start impeachment proceedings against Mr. Obama.

“This is not about impeachment,” he said. “It’s in my view our responsibility to stand up for this institution for which we serve.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday that the lawsuit was “not the right way to go.”

“The fact that they are considering a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job I think is the kind of step that most Americans wouldn’t support,” Mr. Earnest said.

House Democrats dismissed the lawsuit as a partisan ploy designed to please the GOP base.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said House Republicans were considering a lawsuit “to give some aura of activity.”

“It’s a subterfuge,” she told reporters at a weekly press conference. “You can just go on the Internet and you can see what they’re screaming about there. You know there will be a reflection of it here.”

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