Boehner: Obama lawsuit not a 'stunt'

Speaker of the House John Boehner.

When Speaker of the House John Boehner announced on 25 June that he was planning on spearheading a congressional lawsuit against President Barack Obama for exceeding executive powers, he was met by derision from the left.

The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart called it a "huge waste of time".

Start Quote

In my view, the President has not faithfully executed the laws when it comes to a range of issues”

End Quote John Boehner Speaker of the House of Representatives

While some on the right embraced the decision, others were not as enthusiastic.

Even Mr Obama joined in, calling the lawsuit a "stunt".

"Middle class families can't wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff," he said in a speech on 1 July. "So sue me."

On Sunday Mr Boehner fired back at the president and critics in an opinion piece for

"What's disappointing is the president's flippant dismissal of the Constitution we are both sworn to defend," he writes. "It is utterly beneath the dignity of the office."

He says he doesn't take suing the president lightly, but Mr Obama is not fulfilling the duties of office. The goal of the lawsuit, he continues, is to hold the president accountable.

"In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws when it comes to a range of issues, including his health care law, energy regulations, foreign policy and education," he writes.

He concludes by saying that it is his responsibility as one of the leaders of the legislative branch to push back against an overreaching executive:

US President Barack Obama gives a speech. President Barack Obama offers a reply to House Speaker John Boehner: "So sue me"

The legislative branch has an obligation to defend the rights and responsibilities of the American people, and America's constitutional balance of powers - before it is too late.

It wasn't long before Mr Boehner once again took fire from a chorus of critics.

"John Boehner's lawsuit is nothing more than political theatre and a further Republican waste of taxpayer dollars," says conservative RedState blog's Erick Erickson. "If the Republican leaders in the House are too chicken to use their constitutional powers to rein in the president, they should just call it a day and go home."

He argues that conservatives in Congress should use their spending authority to limit the president's ability to finance his executive actions.

In the strange bedfellows file, Erickson's piece was cited by deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz in a tweet about the administration's response to lawsuit questions.

Start Quote

Suing the president just because you don't like him is irresponsible partisan petulance”

End Quote Sally Kohn's Sally Kohn came at Mr Boehner from the left, accusing him of being irrational:

House Republicans are using taxpayer dollars to fund a lawsuit against a president who has literally done not only what every president before him has done but has done it less often and is doing so now only because House Republicans repeatedly refuse to even vote on legislation, let alone pass anything.

If House Republicans don't like the solutions Mr Obama is coming up with to address the nation's problems, she continues, they should take legislative action.

"Passing laws that our nation wants and needs is doing your job," she writes. "Suing the president just because you don't like him is irresponsible partisan petulance."

One of the key questions regarding Mr Boehner's lawsuit - which will have to be approved by Congress - is what it would accomplish. If congressional Republicans truly believe that Mr Obama is violating his oath of office, one possible constitutional procedure to follow would be impeachment and removal from office.

Such a pursuit is risky politics, however - a bridge too far, perhaps, for a cautious leader like Mr Boehner.

Instead, the speaker has issued clear condemnations of Mr Obama's presidency, but has yet to outline exactly which specific executive actions he will challenge and what judicial remedies he will seek.

Such details, if and when they emerge, will go a long way toward revealing the seriousness of his case.



This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    It's time Republicans stopped wasting taxpayer money on such silliness. They can no longer claim to be the fiscally conservative party when they are wasting millions of dollars in most states fighting gay marriage, women's access to birth control, access to healthcare & now this ridiculously embarrassing attempt to sue the President. The Republican Party of today is a group of 5 year olds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Comment 14 shows just what kind of idiots Republicans and the Tee Hee party are. Most of that stuff occurred before Barry became president.

    What would be a stunt for Boehner would be for him to actually do some work. 3.1 million long term unemployed and the he heartlessly ignores the problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Oh I do love Democrats bemoaning Republican "obstruction" of Obama's plans to turn the USA into a Euro Lite Demi Socialist Paradise. Of course they supported and enabled all of the George Bush's policies did they not? Out of a sense of national harmony, loyality and.. well whatever. Hypocrisy is all that's left of this argument. Hold King Obama to the rule of law... go for it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    11. That said, Congress finally gets a bill passed that maintains US warmonger status par excellence and even restores sequester funding cuts: Clinton got it to around $300 billion pa: Obama will never be even close!

  • Comment number 14.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    What so many don't realize isthe House has passed many bills, even with Democrat support, but Harry Reid buries them in Senate Committees even as he spouts off that Republicans aren't doing anything. Both sides have a hand in this mess, but I hold the President most accountable because he campaigned on working across the aisle, was elected, and suddenly "No compromise!" That's NOT LEADERSHIP

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    "...met by derision from the left."

    Um, other left perhaps?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    It seems to me, as an outsider, that the GOP is not FOR anything, just ANTI everything Obama wants/does.

    This is not governing the country, this is sulking. Such behaviour ill-befits any party purporting to represent a sizeable percentage of Americans.

    And to outside eyes, it further reinforces the impression that US politics is dysfunctional and irresponsible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Boehner continues the clown of the House (now that the Cantor-clown has been clipped) as McConnell and Cruz continue to clown around in the Senate: filibuster, shut down the Gov't. etc.

    4. has it spot on - this do nothing Congress should be fired (November and 2016) for completely wasting the US taxpayers time and treasure since 2010!

  • Comment number 9.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Any republican who dare to challenge Speaker Boehner and fellow republicans to be sensible and act like an adult instead making every fight personal and against Obama, should be prepared to be attacked by their own fellow republicans. They will be dismissed, ridiculed and called R.I.N.O = Republicans In Name Only if not worst.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    The maxist fool should have been impeached years ago along with most of his administration.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Obama sure has learned well, how to play golf, and hang-out with celebrities and the Rich and Famous. It is not his fault that he as no policies nor policymakers. Per Obama, if someone could have solved the problems they would have been solved, and since there is still a problem, isn't it ovious that there is nobody to solve the problem, and I am doing the best I can do"""which is nothing"""

  • Comment number 5.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    What is ""It is utterly beneath the dignity of the office" is republicans' obsession to obstruct Obama at every step since he took office. Republicans made it clear from day one, that their primary goal is to see the president fail.
    They have shown Obama and the office of the presidency no respect. Many Americans only know what republicans are against. Which seems to be everything Obama is for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    There was a time I would have posted some 'witty' smug comment but i'm so utterly depressed by the state of American politics these days them i'm just going to leave it at "Ugh".

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Boehner, like the majority of the Republicans, is crystal clear that they oppose anything Obama does. In this case, as before, what the Republicans lack, due to their own internal dysfunction, is any specific alternative. Putting the Federal government on pause, failing to pass a budget, while suggesting we need to be involved in more foreign adventures, while hiding behind a law suite isn't it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I suppose some of our Republican friends find Mr. Obama's determination to govern by what means he can, in spite of their agenda that he fail, a bit uppity. Though for the taxpayer to pick up the tab on this suit will require a vote from Congress... the Congress would have to act on it... I wonder what Boehner's Plan B is this time (last time it resulted in the Serenity Prayer and tears -- natch).


Page 8 of 8


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.