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Constitutional Law

House speaker says he will sue Obama over executive orders

Posted Jun 26, 2014 6:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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House Speaker John Boehner says he is planning to file a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s use of executive orders.

Boehner told reporters Wednesday that Obama is encroaching on powers of the legislative branch, report CNN, Washington Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire column.

“The Constitution makes it clear that the president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws, and in my view the president has not faithfully executed the laws," Boehner said. His goal is not impeachment, Boehner said, but rather to “stand up for this institution for which we serve.”

U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., told Washington Wire that Boehner discussed the suit with the House GOP after emailing them a column on the subject by George Will. The columnist argues that Obama “has suspended, waived and rewritten laws” and is using executive action in a way that is “qualitatively different.”

Will said Obama rewrote the Affordable Care Act by delaying the employer mandate for some companies and requiring other companies to stipulate that they won’t drop employees to avoid the mandate. “Doing so would trigger criminal perjury charges; so he created a new crime, that of adopting a business practice he opposes,” Will said.

“Presidents must exercise some discretion in interpreting laws, must have some latitude in allocating finite resources to the enforcement of laws and must have some freedom to act in the absence of law,” Will wrote. “Obama, however, has perpetrated more than 40 suspensions of laws.”

Will said the House could overcome objections over its standing to sue if a majority explicitly authorized a lawsuit over the nullification of a specific provision of law that effectively nullified Congress’ power.

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