Barack Obama

Why the House of Representatives Is Suing President Barack Obama


"As long as [Congress is] doing nothing," President Barack Obama declared last week, "I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something." And what if lawmakers object to this unilateral stance? "So sue me," the president taunted.

That taunt is now on the verge of becoming a reality. Writing at, House Speaker John Boehner announced his intention to "bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country."

At issue in this impending legal showdown between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government is Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the president to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." According to Boehner and his congressional allies, Obama's penchant for overreaching executive power has made a mockery of this constitutional requirement.

"In the end, the Constitution makes it clear that the President's job is to faithfully execute the laws. And, in my view," Boehner argued, "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."

Boehner's view received an added boost last month when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 against Obama's unconstitutional use of the Recess Appointments Clause in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning.

But not all conservatives believe Boehner is pursuing the wisest course of action. Writing at The Weekly Standard, for example, Terry Eastland has contended that while "Boehner is right to complain about Obama's serial executive power abuses," turning to the federal courts risks opening a Pandora's box of "government by judiciary." According to Eastland, "if Boehner and his House colleagues succeed in persuading the judiciary to open this door to judicial review, even by a crack, it is likely over time to be opened further, even to the point that the president is granted standing to bring separation-of-powers lawsuits against Congress." The better course, Eastland argued, "would be to work against Obama's unilateralism with tools already in hand, which are necessarily political ones," such as the House's "legislative, oversight, and appropriations powers."

Other conservatives, however, have voiced support for Boehner's suit. "When the President is usurping core legislative powers, Congress as an institution can sue to vindicate this constitutional injury," The Wall Street Journal recently editorialized. Indeed, the Journal declared, "short of impeachment, there is no other way for Congress to defend its rights."

NEXT: All Cops Should Wear Video Cameras

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So, after 6 years he is TAKING ACTION !

  2. Maybe it’s just a misunderstanding. Perhaps Obo thinks “execute” means something other than it does.
    He claims to be a constitutional scholar, but maybe he just lied about that, too.

  3. I don’t think the courts will hear this case. Seems like a political question.

    1. I’d think defining what the constitution says about the powers of the Presidency (and Congress) would fall within their perview.

  4. If he’s not upholding his oath, if he’s guilty of malfeasance, impeach him.

  5. Impeachment lite. You never go full Newt.

  6. short of impeachment, there is no other way for Congress to defend its rights

    Yeah, so why not impeachment?

    1. Impeachment has political ramifications. (Everything is ultimately political.) If impeachment is viewed by the general public as going to far, the party bringing impeachment proceedings may suffer instead of the President.

      1. This is too bad, because impeachment should be as easing as firing a pedophialic public school teacher. Ohhhh, wait a minute.

        1. Sadly, it is. :-/

          1. Impeachment takes both houses, it would never get past dingy Harry.

    2. 2/3rds of the Senate to remove a president, and can you say President Biden on a full stomach?

      1. It would be an improvement over the current guy – and we’d only have to deal with him for 2 more years.

        1. Not guaranteed. Ford nearly beat Carter despite Nixon’s resignation.

      2. Actually, I’m not convinced Biden wouldn’t be an improvement over Obama.

    3. You must be too young to remember when they tried that against Clinton. The general public was not amused.

      1. Barry knows He can’t be impeached, hence his dictatorial policies.

        He is daring the Republicans to do it, but they don’t have the support to call him on it.

        1. No one wants to impeach the first black president and the “crimes” are not what the public imagines “crimes” to be.

      2. Clinton had a booming economy and had only abused his Presidential powers to fornicate with consenting interns.

        1. The Democrats are dispirited, and they’re unlikely to turn out much for the midterms, much less for whatever party goon they nominate for the executive in 2016. And Obama, however incompetent everyone now understands him to be, is generally seen as personally likable, so no anonymous congressman needs to be seen as the bully taking down the likable leader of the free-ish world.

          The Republicans are smart enough not to kick over the hornet’s nest again.

    4. so why not impeachment?

      Because they don’t have the cajones? And besides, I’m sure this will be reported as “RACIST TEATHUGLIKKKANZ.” Given that, I’m actually kind of shocked they would even consider doing anything at all. But the GOP isn’t called the Stupid Party for nothing.

    5. Because they don’t control the Senate, and Harry Reid is such a vicious partisan that the President could use a hooker for target practice in public and he would still shut any attempt at impeachment down? So, it would be divisive, the media would use it as a stick to beat them with, and it would have no chance of actually reining in the White House?

      1. Obama was only trying to motivate that hooker to go back to school and earn her degree.

        There are some who say improving the lives is hookers is wrong, and that education is a waste. Well, I reject their cynicism.

      2. Also, the NRA first floated the idea of shooting at hookers 20 years ago. So it’s really their plan, much like Obamacare was written by Heritage.

  7. If they have (or think they have) standing to sue this way, they should seek injunctions against his individual illegal actions as they occur. Slap! Slap! Slap!

  8. This is a publicity ploy. I doubt the courts will get involved in a political fight between the other two branches, despite whatever arguments Congress can make that this actually involves policy and law. If Congress actually believes Obama isn’t following the Constitution, then IMPEACH him.

    Regardless, as was mentioned above, do we want the courts involved in this dispute, interpreting what “faithfully executing” means? It opens up a whole Pandora’s Box of scariness. Nothing that is ever done (or not done) by the Executive which is remotely politically controversial will be considered final, if a Congress controlled by the opposition party can request judicial review of Executive (in)action which will take years to resolve. While right now Congress is claiming Executive overreach, in the future if this lawsuit is successful it can be used against an Executive which Congress believes isn’t using its powers to the fullest extent possible.

  9. So the big problem here is that such judicial review could open the door to the judiciary being more able to restrain presidential power? I fail to see how a less powerful presidency is in any way a bad thing.

  10. “Boehner is right to complain about Obama’s serial executive power abuses,” turning to the federal courts risks opening a Pandora’s box of “government by judiciary.”

    F’em all. Let government eat itself.

  11. Is there really a question of why? Should be self evident. Same reason Julius Caesar never got out of the Roman Senate alive. Because he is usurping the Constitution he swore to uphold and protect. Almost every act he has done has been either against the will of the American People or actually illegal. Same with his administration. If the Justice Department along with the Attorney General was not acting as a political watchdog for the Administration Obama and most of his administration would be impeached at the least and serving time in Leavenworth at the best.

    1. You seem to be advocating a system where the Attorney General is independently elected from the President. Which probably isn’t a bad idea… the fact that the President can fire the nation’s top prosecutor is a bit troubling.

  12. “it is likely over time to be opened further, even to the point that the president is granted standing to bring separation-of-powers lawsuits against Congress.”

    They’re too busy suing each other, with discovery and depositions, that they don’t have time to repress us?

    I’m not seeing the problem.

    1. I’m not entirely sure where you get this from. The Executive is sued all the freaking time by individuals, companies and state/local governments. At the same time, it still manages to promulgate rules, conduct enforcement actions, collect taxes, etc. It will have more than enough resources to deal with lawsuits from Congress.

      The problem is that nothing will be final, including “small government” initiatives that may go against the letter of the law (at least according to Congress).

      1. Well, nothing is final with congress anyway: If congress as a whole wants to change the law, they can theoretically change the law at any time.

        This should make the law more final, if it is successful in limiting presidential power, since the law will only change with the will of the body of congress, instead of at the whims of the president, as currently happens.

  13. Making a check of $48500/month with online working,, you make money $81/hour from laptop in free time.My neighbour’s sister has been averaging $15750/months now and she works about 20 hours a week. i make $13900 last month, it is realy easy and trustful ,
    ======== W?W?W?.?MONEYKIN?.?C?O?M?

  14. Boehner is a total Asshole. Anyone who can’t stand Obama should put this dick wad list of most unfavorite politicians. The man (Boehner) has all of the personality of an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. Fuck him, and more than a few other member of Congress I can think of. Fuck both parties – the Re POOP licans and the Demo CRAZIES. Congress has fucked the country up just as much as the Executive Branch. You can throw the Fucking Supreme Court into the equation if you want. Again, FUCK Boehner, King of the Assholes in Washington.

  15. According to Eastland, “if Boehner and his House colleagues succeed in persuading the judiciary to open this door to judicial review, even by a crack, it is likely over time to be opened further, even to the point that the president is granted standing to bring separation-of-powers lawsuits against Congress.”

    Oh, would that were the case. What a refreshing turn of events it would be if Congress were to completely neuter and spit on the executive.

  16. 1. This is just Congress once again abdicating its responsibility. They are asking Judicial branch to make Obama play fair because they don’t want the political consequences of voting for or against impeachment. Same as they gave the Executive branch all kinds of power so that they don’t have to vote on other divisive issues.
    2. Yes, although Obama should be impeached, it would be stupid for the GOP to do it, knowing how the press will spin it. It would cost them any chance of winning the Presidency in 2016.
    3. Don’t you have to sue separately for each instance the Executive branch does something illegal? You can’t just say “He’s not doing what he’s supposed to! Make him!”
    4. How many divisions does the Pope Court have?

  17. : The “9-0 recently made was the 13th time the Supreme Court has voted 9-0 that the president has exceeded his constitutional authority.” A thorough review of the 13 cases found many instances where presidential authority was not at issue. Further, most of the cases originated under and were first litigated by the Bush administration.

    The White House is call White House because its for whites! This is the real motive. That speaker has been attacking Obama from the very beginning. That Supreme Court using their deliberate wrong decisions to open up the door for impeachments. They want to continue their tradition of keeping the White House white. They want to make sure no blacks run again. Bush was never elected the first term. He was appointed by the supreme court. Why would you not count military votes overseas. Their commander and chief lives here. Its because he knew a lot of them was never coming back home over weapons of mass destruction that never existed. The brother was the Governor of florida. The father had unfinish business with irag. That was the real issue. Clinton who favored blacks was involved in impeachment trials. Over a female!? and not because he was a Traider to this country or he would of never did two terms like Obama and Obama care, a blue print of the vetran medical care.


  18. Under 28 U.S.C. Section 351 to 364, this committee is giving judges permission to make wrong decisions even very wrong decision so long as they commtt this wrong in their judicial capacity. This is being done without distinguishing between deliberate wrong decisions and unintentional wrong decisions. You are treating both as appellate error. Deliberate wrong decisions are crimes. 18 U.S.C. Section 241 and 242. And it gives us no rule of law to rely upon. under the “Declaration of Independence” it takes a long train of abuse to overthrow the Government. I declare, I seek to overthrow a 200 year old law inorder to reform our Judicial department. So below I present to this office a long train of abuse couple with testimony from a former Federal Judge: Understand my concept: http://www.hiphopfusionmusic.c…..ption.html

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.