Fri, Jun 27, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Boehner prepares to sue Obama for abuse of authority

Reuters, WASHINGTON

US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday said he plans to sue US President Barack Obama, accusing him of abusing his authority by going around the US Congress to implement his policy agenda.

The suit is to be filed by the House later this summer and takes issue with executive actions that Obama has taken on issues ranging from healthcare to energy to foreign policy, the Republican leader said, declining to give specifics about which administration actions he would challenge.

“The [US] Constitution makes it clear that the president’s job is to faithfully execute the law. In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the law,” Boehner told reporters.

In a memo to Republican lawmakers, the speaker said Obama’s actions risked giving the president “king-like authority” at the expense of US voters and Congress.

Obama has increasingly used executive orders this year to advance his agenda in the face of a gridlocked Congress. He raised the minimum wage for federal contractors, stopped the deportation of young people brought to the US illegally by their parents, extended family leave rights to all workers in same-sex marriages and barred contractors from discriminating against gay employees.

Boehner’s memo said he will bring legislation to a floor vote next month authorizing the House general counsel to file the suit. The case will likely take months to work its way through the courts, giving Republicans new fodder to try to sway voters ahead of the November congressional elections.

“I think Speaker Boehner is being a very effective advertisement for the Republican Party,” said John Hudak, a governance studies fellow at the Brookings Institution. “He’s playing to his base.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama had “solid legal rationale” for his actions, adding that Congress should work with the administration instead of taking it to court.

“The fact that they are considering a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job, I think is the kind of step that most Americans wouldn’t support,” he said.

Legal experts said US.courts are generally reluctant to wade into what they perceive as political fights between Congress and the White House.

Stanley Brand, who was the House’s general counsel under late Democratic House speaker Tip O’Neill, said a narrowly focused suit has a better chance of success, particularly when it comes to US Supreme Court review.

A suit as broad as the one envisioned by Boehner would face skepticism from judges, Brand said.

“The courts are not going to supervise a president that way. I don’t want to say it’s harebrained, but it’s close to it,” he added.

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