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Wednesday, June 25, 2014
For people who hate judicial activism and wasting tax dollars, they sure go to court a lot
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told colleagues on Wednesday he'll bring up legislation "in the coming weeks" to authorize a lawsuit against President Barack Obama for allegedly exceeding his executive authority and failing to faithfully execute the law.
"We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a monarch or king," Boehner wrote.
Norm Ornstein, a congressional historian at the American Enterprise Institute, said "there is no precedent that I know of for Congress suing over executive orders," but he noted that there have been lawsuits by ad hoc members of Congress against several presidents.
The first question is whether the House has standing to sue, given that the Democratic-led Senate won't go along with a lawsuit. Precedent for that is mixed. In the 1997 case Raines v. Byrd, the Supreme Court ruled that six congressmen challenging a presidential line-item veto lacked standing to sue because they couldn't prove injury. But in 2013, when the House majority sought to stand up for the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court granted standing,warning that it "poses grave challenges to the separation of powers for the Executive at a particular moment to be able to nullify Congress' enactment solely on its own initiative and without any determination from the Court."