Boehner Plans Lawsuit to Rein in King Barack I

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House Speaker John Boehner, apparently responding to tea party anger over President Obama’s continued “lawlessness,” plans to take Obama to court:

On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce — at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the America people to stop him. On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day.

….Everywhere I go in America outside of Washington, D.C., I’m asked: when will the House stand up on behalf of the people to stop the encroachment of executive power under President Obama? We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a monarch or king.

….Under our system of government, the Judicial Branch has the power to resolve disputes between the Executive and Legislative Branches. When there is a failure on the part of the president to faithfully execute the law, the House has the authority to challenge this failure in the Judicial Branch by filing suit in Federal Court….

Good for Boehner. If he truly believes that Obama has overstepped his authority, this is exactly what he should do: stop whining, and instead step up to the plate and take his cases to court. My guess is that he might even be able to win a few of them. A couple of the Obamacare delays, in particular, seem legally pretty dodgy.

None of this will be easy for Boehner. The tea partyish nature of Boehner’s language is pretty obvious, so this should go over well with the base—but only if he plays his cards wisely. He’ll need to choose his cases carefully, and he’s between a rock and a hard place there. Pick too many fights and he’ll end up embarrassing himself with a string of losses. Pick too few and the tea party will think he’s a wuss. Plus he needs money for all this stuff, and there are almost certain to be some fairly serious standing issues related to many of them.

Still, I hope he goes through with this. Let’s find out what he’s really serious about, and then see what the Supreme Court thinks about it. That’s how this stuff should be resolved.

POSTSCRIPT: This might not mean anything, but I’m a little surprised that Boehner’s bill of particulars didn’t include immigration. This is one of the tea party’s biggest hot buttons when it comes to Obama allegedly refusing to enforce the law. Was it just an oversight? Or a sign that it’s not on his list of presidential transgressions? Wait and see.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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