GOP Thinks Twice About Backing Boehner’s Lawsuit Against Obama
Policy + Politics

GOP Thinks Twice About Backing Boehner’s Lawsuit Against Obama

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The Heritage Foundation, one of Washington’s preeminent right-wing think tanks, has a reputation for pulling no punches when it comes to going after President Obama. So if you are a Republican, and the Heritage Foundation is warning you that your political strategy may be a little too aggressive, you might want to listen.

It’s not clear though, that the message is getting through to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

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Last week, a pair of Heritage Legal fellows examined Boehner’s proposal to sue President Obama over his alleged failure to faithfully enforce U.S. law and concluded that, as a legal matter, the case will face “what may prove to be an insurmountable hurdle” over the legal concept of standing.

 “The House will have to demonstrate to a court’s satisfaction that as an institution, it has been personally harmed by President Obama’s actions, which have effectively nullified the votes of its members, leaving it little recourse to rectify this injustice without court intervention,” write John G. Malcolm, director of Heritage’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and legal fellow Elizabeth H. Slattery.

To be clear, Malcolm and Slattery leave no doubt that they believe the president has failed to enforce the law. “Time and again President Barack Obama has pushed the limits of this duty, acting unilaterally to change or ignore the law,” they write.

However, they don’t appear to believe a lawsuit has much chance of success.

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“Such a lawsuit would require the courts to police the limits of the political branches’ powers, and overcoming the natural reluctance of courts to get involved in disputes that have political overtones involving the other branches of government will not be easy,” they said.

Such doubts have not stopped Boehner. A vote authorizing a House Committee to file the lawsuit is scheduled for Friday, and this weekend, Boehner published an op-ed in USA Today defending the move.

“Congress makes the laws; the president executes them,” he wrote. “That is the system the Founders gave us. This is not about executive orders. Every president issues executive orders. Most of them, though, do so within the law.”

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He continued, “This is also not about me vs. President Obama. This is about future Congresses and future presidents. There is a conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch of our government. It is the judiciary branch's role to help resolve it.”

Now he just has to find a judge who agrees with him.

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