Let’s Sue the President!
The House of Representatives has the exclusive power to initiate revenue bills and impeach the Executive. That the House would sue the President over his use of executive power is an indication that its leadership does not value their own powers under the Constitution than supposedly the President they sue.
Let’s Sue the President
The House has passed legislation authorizing a lawsuit against the President. The reasoning behind this includes Democrats refusing to consider House legislation on job creation, etc. These are political and not legal issues. Courts cannot force Democrats to consider legislation from the House of Representatives. The House can refuse to fund the government in response as outlined in Article I of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on standing to sue in order to reach the merits is clear. In order to be heard in court, a claimant must have legal standing to bring the case (a concrete injury) caused by a legal wrong as to which the court is the appropriate forum for redress.
Lawsuits by legislators alleging presidential overreach has injured Congress’s institutional power have repeatedly been shown to be the improper forum. Those suits do not involve concrete, personal injuries; and, unlike private citizens for whom courts are the only protection against executive lawlessness, Congress has its own constitutional weapons for reining the president in: the power to deny funding that the administration needs and the power to impeach wayward executive officials.
The matters that Speaker Boehner wants to litigate — issuing waivers or exemptions from laws, selectively enforcing others, creatively interpreting laws via executive orders — are all what used to be called “political questions.” Before the Warren Court, the principle that some questions are not “justiciable” or able to be settled by a lawsuit was an important limit on judicial power, which the Constitution restricts to genuine “cases and controversies.” The case usually cited as establishing “judicial review,” Marbury v. Madison, essentially involved a “political question.” (Mr. Marbury was entitled to his office, Chief Justice Marshall held, but the Court had no power to enforce that right.)
Careful What You Wish For
Many of the most controversial decisions by the Supreme Court, particularly from a conservative viewpoint, resulted from lawyers and judges arguably turn political questions into legal ones. If the Court now arbitrates controversies between the other two branches, we no longer have checks and balances. Most of the problems of the administrative state have arisen from Congress’s irresponsible delegation of its legislative powers to the executive. It should not compound this folly by inviting the judiciary to clean up the mess.
Again, the narrative of animus towards Obama based on race is being built by those who say their opposition is not based on race. It’s clear what Republicans in the House can do to stop the President and his initiatives. They can shut down the government, or they can impeach him and/or his officials. That in and of itself is their problem. Because the options to their political grievances are so unpalatable heading into midterms where they are currently favored to retake the House and Senate, this is the best option they have to placate the Sarah Palin “base” who want impeachment. In my opinion, this is a waste of time and taxpayer money, and is an example of putting “politics over principle” which is once again something Republicans accuse Democrats; specifically the President, of doing.