Friday, July 04, 2014

Suing Obama: A bid to stop executive action

Republicans have decided to resolve their differences with President Obama “according to a time-honored American tradition,” said Dana Milbank in WashingtonPost .com. They’re taking him to court. Speaker John Boehner last week announced plans to introduce legislation that would let the House sue Obama for eroding “the power of the legislative branch” through his use of executive actions. Boehner is “right to stand up for the Constitution,” said Jonathan S. Tobin in CommentaryMagazine .com. During Obama’s “imperial presidency” he has unilaterally rewritten the Affordable Care Act at least 23 times, released terrorists from Guantánamo without notifying Congress, and overruled the House and Senate with executive orders on everything from immigration reform to coal plant emissions. This tyranny is exactly what our Constitution was designed to protect against: presidents who, choosing to enforce only the laws they like, are “little different from kings and queens.”


King Obama I makes for a “pretty bad dictator,” said Arit John in TheAtlantic.com. When it comes to executive orders, the president is on track to issue fewer per term than Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush. Boehner knows this lawsuit has no merits, said David Firestone in NYTimes.com. But the speaker is pushing ahead anyway because he wants to deflect attention “from the House’s refusal to engage in the act of governing.” He can’t admit that the president only acted unilaterally on the Affordable Care Act because the House GOP is so ideologically opposed to Obamacare that it refuses to pass even modest reforms to the health law. Or that Republicans “would rather foul the air” than offend their industrialist backers, which is why the president urged regulators to enforce carbon standards without Congress’s permission.


Yet Boehner has no choice but to try to sue Obama, said Brian Beutler in NewRepublic.com. Having ginned up the base with repeated attacks on Obama’s supposed tyranny, “Republicans now must satisfy the consequent appetite to do something about it.” This lawsuit is supposed to “serve as a relief valve for the building pressure to draw up articles of impeachment.” The risk is that it will fuel rather than cool the base’s desire for radical action. You can’t whip up this much anger over Obama’s actions “and then do nothing to stop him, when the Constitution provides you so many tools to do just that.”
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