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Our laws support Boehner’s Presidential lawsuit

Written By | Jul 12, 2014
Three Branches of Government

Three Branches of Government

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2014 — President Obama’s favorite words these days are “sue me.” And he seems to take the Republican intent to file a suit against him less than seriously.

That is probably not the wisest response. The law, and enforcement of the law, is serious business in the United States.

Moreover, both history and public opinion may be on Boehner’s side.





READ ALSO: John Boehner’s red line: Framing the presidential lawsuit


A Rasmussen Reports poll released this weeks shows that 39 percent of likely U.S. voters believe the government should require every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Fifty-one percent disagree and oppose the individual mandate.

The Boehner suit will focus on the unilateral changes to the health care law’s employer mandate, according to a draft resolution released on Thursday. It may seem to be a less than flashy reason to sue the president, but history shows the most successful legal challenges are the easiest.

For example, Hoover’s FBI could not get an arrest and conviction on known gangster, bootlegger, and killer Al Capone. However, prosecuting him for tax evasion in 1931, successfully landed Capone in jail for for 11 years. He eventually died in prison in 1947.

The Heritage Foundation’s Legal Memorandum #2 on Legal Issues dated February 21, 2001 The Use and Abuse of Executive Orders and Other Presidential Directives By Todd F. Gaziano states:

One of the great and enduring gifts from the Founders’ generation was the inclusion of separation of power principles in the United States Constitution. The Framers had studied the writings of Montesquieu and other political philosophers as well as the workings of the separate branches of their own state governments. Their conscious design to enforce this separation of functions was carefully explained in The Federalist Papers and during the debates over ratification of the United States Constitution. The separation of powers is now enshrined in both the structure of the Constitution and various explicit provisions of Articles I, II, and III.

More simply put, the United States Government has three branches — the Legislative that makes laws, the Executive that enforces laws, and the Judicial that evaluates laws.

The resolution that will authorize the House General Counsel to initiate litigation against Obama and “compel” the president to enforce the law will go to the house floor this month. Boehner has said that the action is “about protecting the Constitution” as the president’s actions ignore the Legislative Branch of the Government; he is assuming their authority to make and pass laws as his own.

Adding insult to injury, once the Affordable Care Act was passed and made into law, the president unilaterally chose to ignore the laws he signed in order to “fix on the fly” Obamacare.

“As I’ve said, this isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats; it’s about the Legislative Branch versus the Executive Branch, and above all protecting the Constitution. The Constitution states that the president must faithfully execute the laws, and spells out that only the Legislative Branch has the power to legislate. The current president believes he has the power to make his own laws – at times even boasting about it. He has said that if Congress won’t make the laws he wants, he’ll go ahead and make them himself, and in the case of the employer mandate in his health care law, that’s exactly what he did. If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Legislative Branch, and the Constitution, and that is exactly what we will do.” –



The speaker says Obama has violated the Constitution by delaying the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

“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,” Boehner


READ ALSO: Johnny the joke: Boehner’s lawsuit is Republican “Shadow Theater”


White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the lawsuit “disappointing.”

“At a time when Washington should be working to expand economic opportunities for the middle class, Republican leaders in Congress are playing Washington politics rather than working with the President on behalf of hardworking Americans,” Earnest said in a statement. “As the President said today, he is doing his job — lawsuit or not — and it’s time Republicans in Congress did theirs.”

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Republicans were wasting taxpayer dollars on “another toxic partisan stunt.”

“This lawsuit is just another distraction from House Republicans desperate to distract the American people from their own spectacular obstruction and dysfunction,” Hammill said in a statement.

“Congress should be creating jobs, raising new ladders of opportunity, and focusing on the challenges facing hard working American families.”

Boehner insisted on Thursday that the lawsuit was appropriate, referencing statements by the Obama Administration that they would not penalize businesses that failed to provide health insurance, delaying the employer mandate, the law, until 2015.

Obama also delayed the start date for some mid-sized businesses. Obama’s action gave companies with at least 50 full-time employees an extra year to provide health insurance or face a fine.

Earlier this year, the Administration delayed the mandate until 2016 for companies employing between 50 and 99 workers. Each of these actions is a failure of the Executive Branch to enforce laws, leaving the president to pick and choose which laws his administration would enforce.

This sets a precedent for future presidents to chose to enforce laws as they see fit, creating a slippery slope that should concern all American regardless of party. Failure of the Congress to act when the president refuses to enforce a law grants the president the authority to disregard the will of Congress. It gives him the power to negate the law.

The checks and balances of our government have created a stable system that has survived for 238 years.

The Obama administration has issued a number of executive actions, but Boehner is focusing on the health care changes. Boehner’s office says the challenge to the health care law changes has the best chance of success because the president effectively created his own law by waiving the mandate and the penalties that come with it last year.

The draft resolution cites the speaker’s authority to seek relief regarding the “failure of the president” or any agency head to act “in a manner consistent with that official’s duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States” with regard to the Affordable Care Act.

“The current president believes he has the power to make his own laws — at times even boasting about it,” Boehner said. “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.”

It is important to note that House Republicans also voted to delay the employer mandate themselves following the administration’s announcement last year. In question, however, is the unilateral action of the president, ignoring the balance between the Executive and Administration branches that are the cornerstone of our democracy.

Boehner does not believe the president had the authority to delay the law’s implementation on his own.

Obama and Democrats have dismissed the lawsuit as a political stunt by Republicans to shore up support among their base going into November’s midterm elections. Defenders of the president have also pointed out that his predecessors have signed far more executive orders than has Obama.

Heritage Foundation writes, “A President who abuses his executive order authority undermines the constitutional separation of powers and may even violate it.”

Conveniently, in citing past executive orders issued by presidents Obama, defenders fail to note that only two other presidents have had their orders overturned.

In Youngstown, 343 US 579 (1952) the Supreme Court ruled that Executive Order 10340 from President Harry S. Truman was invalid because it attempted to make law, rather than clarify or act to further a law put forth by the Congress or the Constitution. (Wiki)

In 1995, then President Clinton issued Executive Order 12954 attempting to force through executive fiat what he could not achieve through legislation. Stating he had the authority via the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (the “Procurement Act”), Clinton’s order would require all large government contractors, which employed roughly 22 percent of the Labor force, to agree not to hire permanent replacements for lawfully striking employees.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously overturned the executive order and the implementing regulations that had been issued by the Secretary of Labor. (Heritage Foundation).

White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the lawsuit “disappointing.”

“At a time when Washington should be working to expand economic opportunities for the middle class, Republican leaders in Congress are playing Washington politics rather than working with the President on behalf of hardworking Americans,” Earnest said in a statement. “As the President said today, he is doing his job — lawsuit or not — and it’s time Republicans in Congress did theirs.”
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said Republicans were wasting taxpayer dollars on “another toxic partisan stunt.”

“This lawsuit is just another distraction from House Republicans desperate to distract the American people from their own spectacular obstruction and dysfunction,” Hammill said in a statement. “Congress should be creating jobs, raising new ladders of opportunity, and focusing on the challenges facing hard working American families.”

Boehner insisted on Thursday that the lawsuit is appropriate. And history, it seems, may support his argument, even if the suit seems to be less than serious. Because the law is serious business.

Jacquie Kubin

Jacquie Kubin is an award-winning writer and wanderer. She turns her thoughts to an eclectic mix of stories - from politics to sports. Restless by nature and anxious to experience new things, both in the real world and online, Jacquie mostly shares travel and culinary highlights, introduces readers to the chefs and creative people she meets and shares the tips, life and travel information people want to read.