It’s official: the Republicans in the House have jumped the shark. Granted, it is Shark Week but this is ridiculous. Nevertheless, the House voted to sue President Obama today and the 225 to 201 vote went, unsurprisingly, along party lines, with the exception of five Republicans who voted with the Democrats.
In an obvious pandering attempt, John Boehner announced two weeks ago that he was going to sue President Obama. His explanation puzzled almost everyone except the Teabaggers. Boehner said that he was suing the President because of his delay of the employer mandate that was part of the Affordable Care Act. Yes, that’s right; the very law they voted 50 times to repeal. Don’t try to understand; their RWNJ “logic” does not resemble our Earth logic.
The lawsuit claims that Congress is the wronged party because their authority was undermined by Obama’s actions. Get the laughter out of your system, I’ll wait. Yes, Congress says they are the injured party, here. So what could they do but sue? The answer to that is, that they could do their damned job! If they really felt injured by this (come on, we know better) then they could do what they were hired to do — pass a law to deal with the problem.
House Republicans were told exactly this in the rudimentary hearing they held about this course of action. They were told by Walter Dellinger, former Solicitor General under Bill Clinton and a witness for the Democrats. Dellinger…
“… warned of the dangers of creating a federal judiciary that has too much authority to interfere with the executive and legislative branches. And he argued that allowing a lawsuit like Mr. Boehner’s could lead to a situation in which the president could turn around and sue Congress. [….] Mr. Dellinger also noted that the House was pursuing the case on its own, without cooperation from the Senate, which he said undercut the notion that Congress as an institution had been wronged. “In lieu of having a law passed by the House and the Senate saying these new requirements have to take effect,” he said, “the House alone is going into court.”
If the House felt as if it had been undermined, it has other remedies. The very fact that they have not pursued them is a clue to the real purpose of this lawsuit. They know that if they were to use their power to shut down the government, say, to make their point it would hurt them in the elections. Because they know this lawsuit hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of being successful. It’s Obama Derangement Syndrome writ large.
History will look at this period as an 8-year (face it, it’s not going to stop until Obama is out) period of insanity. This lawsuit is one of the biggest mistakes in the history of this great country. No Congress has ever sued the Executive Branch in a case like this. Yes, they sued Nixon to get the Watergate tapes. Lawsuits have sprung up in committees and among officials. But, aside from the Nixon case, none have done very well.
The problem is that of standing. As the backers of Prop 8 learned, standing is the most important aspect of bringing a lawsuit. The party suing must show that they are directly harmed by the actions of the defendant. In this case, the business mandate of the ACA does not affect anyone in Congress, acting as a member of Congress. Because of this, law experts are sure that this sham of a lawsuit will be dismissed.
Lyle Denniston of the National Constitution Center has stated:
“Time after time, when members of Congress have sued in the courts, because the Executive Branch did something that they believe frustrated the will of Congress, they have been met at the door of the courthouse with a polite refusal to let them in.”
It all boils down to Boehner — the worst Speaker ever — trying to placate the Tea Party in an election year. He’s attempting to thread an imaginary needle that, he believes, will make that sect of the GOP back down for now. He can’t go for impeachment because he knows that would stir up our base (too late). So he’s going for “impeachment lite.” In my opinion, this is not only a huge mistake, it may be the beginning of the end of the GOP.