Speaker John Boehner Responds to Obama’s “So Sue Me” with “We Must”
The state of politics in America is almost always seen as terrible, no more so now than in years before. However, we have certainly reached a new low when Speaker John Boehner actually threatened to sue the President for overstepping as President and bypassing the Legislative branch of the government. Boehner said the President was acting with “king-like authority” with respect to recent executive actions on the climate, immigration, and other issues (where the President believes that Congress has “failed to act”).
The President actually mocked the lawsuit, calling it “a stunt” and saying on July 1, that as long as Congress is “doing nothing, [he’s] not going to apologize for doing something.” He also said derisively, “So sue me.”
Boehner has replied to that comment in an op-ed for CNN entitled “Why we must now sue the President.” Boehner writes that he doesn’t “take lightly” the idea of suing the President insisting that he has ignored both the law and his oath of office. “But too often over the past five years,” Boehner writes, “the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action….”
Of course, President Obama has only issued 182 Executive Orders since taking office. This is nine more than President George W. Bush issued in his first term and 31 less than President Reagan issued in his first term. In fact, according to data collected by the American Presidency Project, usage of Executive Orders has been on the decline amongst two-term Presidents.
As prescient as the Framers were, the U.S. Constitution never even addresses the possibility that the House would want to sue the president. The National Constitution Center, in a blog post, suggests that the Constitution is based “on the benign assumption that those in national leadership will always find ways to govern, more or less successfully” and takes no clear position on the issue.
The lawsuit only further reinforces the narrative that government obstruction begins (and possibly ends) with the Republicans. The President essentially dared Congress to start voting on legislation that it’s been ignoring as a way to stop his use of Executive action. Rather than calling his bluff, it seems that House Republicans would rather mire the issue of gridlock in the courts, spending taxpayer money and accomplishing nothing that would benefit the people. Whatever you think of the President (or even Senate Democrats) this is the exact opposite of fiscal responsibility.