House Approves Resolution to Sue the President

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The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution on Wednesday giving authorization to Speaker of the House John Boehner to move forward with a lawsuit against President Barack Obama. The lawsuit has been in the air for a couple of weeks now, with both sides making numerous public statements regarding the intentions behind the act. Now, it seems that Boehner will have a clear path to bringing that lawsuit to fruition, finally taking a legal step that many in the conservative movement feel is long overdue.

The central issue of the lawsuit, of course, is Obama’s consistent willingness to overstep his authority at the expense of the Constitution. Nowhere has this been more obvious than in his rollout of the Affordable Care Act, though his insistence on using executive orders to maneuver around Congress is also an important issue.

Though this authorization paves the way clear for Boehner to bring a lawsuit against the president, many analysts wonder if it will ever actually occur. The idea is not popular amongst the American people, the majority of whom have not warmed to talk about lawsuits and impeachment. Thus, the GOP risks alienating even some of their own base by taking this major step against the White House. Many Democrats claim the lawsuit is just a stepping stone on the way to impeachment, a charge almost every higher-up in the GOP has strenuously denied.

Over the past couple of years, Obama has taken a number of steps that the GOP have deemed beyond the powers of the office. These steps include making changes and revisions to Obamacare without Congressional approval, developing a prisoner-release scheme for American POW Bowe Bergdahl, and allowing undocumented children to stay in America.

The central issue of the lawsuit, however, is Obama’s 2013 delay of the Obamacare employer mandate. While the GOP has been steadfastly against the law from the beginning, they are using this as their primary example of the president choosing to work outside his constitutional authority.

“Congress makes the laws; the president executes them,” Boehner wrote in a USA Today op-ed. “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.”

These are strong words from the House Speaker, but many in even the most conservative spaces are not yet convinced. For one thing, Boehner has shown himself again and again to be a relatively weak political opponent. He talks a good game, but Obama has been successful in outmaneuvering him at almost every turn. Already, the Democrats are using this lawsuit for political gain, practically campaigning on the threat of impeachment to raise money for congressional elections around the country.

It would be a great victory for the GOP if a court were to rule in their favor. This scenario, however, could be months or even years in coming to fruition. By the time a verdict is rendered, Obama could well be out of office. While it’s important that Boehner and the House reign in the president’s out-of-control, law-flaunting escapades, I’m not yet convinced that this is the way to do it.