To Sue a President: Boehner’s Complaint

Barack Obama, John Boehner

For John Boehner, his base of support has pressured him to do something to get rid of Obama, clip his wings, or render him ineffective since he took the Oath of Office in 2009 — and again in 2013. The countless memes started either on talk radio or bubbling up from the active members in the GOP, whose pathological hatred of Obama, the Democratic Party, and anyone who is to the left of them seem to know no bounds.  Granted, there was a pathological hatred for George W. Bush among liberals and progressives, but it never affected the DNC to the point that they were going to sue Bush over lying to the American public about the rationale for going to war with Iraq — much less impeach him.

Now we have Sarah Palin calling for the impeachment of Obama because he hasn’t secured our borders, he’s maintained the welfare state, he’s pushed middle class wages down, and “he continues to make up his own laws as he goes along, and, mark my words, will next meddle in the U.S. Court System with appointments that will forever change the basic interpretation of our Constitution’s role in protecting our rights.” Scare tactics, or just an opportunist who is sticking her finger in the air to see which way the crazy wind is blowing? A little of both. The current meme against Obama is that he’s acting like a king — and we as Americans do not bow to kings, unless it’s Jesus, or a white Republican president. The arrogance of Obama is that he’s taking action when congress fails to act; that he’s overstepping his constitutional authority. None of these complaints are new, but it’s hard to ignore the barely restrained racial prejudice coming from the Right. They don’t use the old code words or epithets because that would be political suicide. Rather, they cloak themselves in the Constitution and demand that the dividing lines in our federalist system be reinforced because it’s time to curb the power of an Imperial presidency.

From a memo that Boehner released, it lists his beef with Obama:

“Today we’re releasing a draft resolution that will authorize the House to file suit over the way President Obama unilaterally changed the employer mandate. In 2013, the president changed the health care law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work. No president should have the power to make laws on his or her own.”

The central complaint that the President created his own law — which violates Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution — and didn’t, as the Constitution says “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” is grounds for a lawsuit. Now, the problem is that the constitutional question of implementation of laws has already been argued in the lower courts and the Supreme Court (Heckler v. Chaney in 1985). And as far as a president’s ability to create laws –which is one of the primary functions of congress…well, that’s also been argued in the courts and has come to be known as Implied Powers. Congress has implied powers, so does the president. One of the lawmaking options a president has are Executive Orders. And like any law, an Executive Order can be challenged in court and subject to judicial review.

So okay, Obama delayed part of the ACA on July 2, 2013 to give businesses more time to comply with the law — after businesses were asking for a delay — but did he fail to faithfully execute the laws? Here’s where the comedy comes in. The House introduced bills to delay the implementation of the ACA on July 11, 2013 to give businesses more time to comply with the law. But those House bills were designed to repeal the ACA and were never going to be voted on in the Senate, nor would Obama sign them into law. So the bills were pretty much DOA, but they were part of the ongoing effort to repeal the ACA by the GOP.

There’s the context behind this lawsuit. However, let’s not forget it’s an election year, and the GOP is doing what it can to get voters out to the polls to increase their majority status in the House and become the majority party in the Senate. What will the GOP do with this new found power if voters give it to them? Why impeach and convict Obama, of course.


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