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Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Featured, Law, Politics | 2 comments

A desperate, weeping clown cries “Off with his head!”

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The executive has been amassing power at the expense of the legislative branch — not just for the past five years but for a generation or more. Yet Boehner’s proposed legal remedy will accomplish nothing, in part because it misidentifies the nature of the problem. …DanaMilbank,WaPo

The only thing that holds water in Boehner’s threat to sue the president is the part about executive power. It’s been a problem for years — decades. But, in John Boehner’s hands, the suit goes nowhere.

Even some conservative scholars argue that lawmakers probably don’t have a legal standing for such a suit. If Republicans persuade the courts to grant them standing, the case could take years to work its way through the system, at which point Obama will be gone. Adding to the charade, the taxpayer-funded legal fight would be waged under the authority of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which is known by the acronym “BLAG” and is bipartisan only in name because it is controlled by the House majority.

But the real problem with the lawsuit approach is that it misunderstands the cause of the problem: congressional dysfunction. Lawmakers, hamstrung by disagreement, have created a power vacuum, and presidents have stepped in to fill it. The solution is not to sue, but to legislate, which means to compromise — and this is something Boehner’s troops have been unwilling to do. …DanaMilbank,WaPo

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Frivolous lawsuits. Big money.

Who pays the lawyers?

Um, we do.

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“The United States Constitution guarantees the American people that its government will be free from activity,” Boehner told reporters. “Again and again, President Obama has broken that sacred trust.”

Ripping the President for his “willful insistence on doing things,” Speaker Boehner said that his lawsuit was intended “to restore the inaction and inertia that have been the hallmarks of our democracy.”

The Speaker acknowledged that suing the President was an extreme measure, but added, “I take this step only after exhausting every other method to prevent him from getting anything done.”

Concluding his remarks, Boehner said that he hoped his lawsuit would send a “powerful message” to President Obama: “If you stubbornly continue to take actions that result in tangible outcomes, you will be very, very sorry.” …AndyBorowitz,NewYorker

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What this is about, of course, is the president’s ability to use “executive action” when Congress doesn’t act. George W. Bush didn’t exactly invent executive action, but he was a drunk when it came to executive orders. So this deep wound in Congress’s self-esteem has been around for a while. Political analyst Philip Bump writes:

As Wonkblog and others have noted, Obama has actually signed far fewer executive orders than past presidents. The Brookings Insitution determined that he’d signed fewer per day of his presidency than anyone since Grover Cleveland. And most of the executive orders he signs are hardly the sort of thing that would seem to put America on the brink of a constitutional crisis. …Bump,WaPo

But this isn’t about executive orders. It’s about the Executive vs. Congress. It’s about who has more power and it’s an old, old fight.

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At least one commentator suggests that this is nothing more than another cry for impeachment.

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CNN’s Deirdre Walsh asked whether the lawsuit is really “more about energizing your base right before the election?”

“This is about defending the institution in which we serve,” the speaker said.

After Boehner left, Walsh pointed out to his spokesman, Michael Steel, that the legal challenge could outlast the Obama presidency. “What does this achieve?” she asked.

Before Steel could answer, The Washington Post’s Paul Kane offered one droll hypothesis: “It sets the parameters for President Clinton — what she is allowed to do.” …DanaMilbank,WaPo

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Nancy Pelosi may be closest to the truth when she declares Boehner started this whole thing in order to make it look as though the House is actually accomplishing something, for a change.

“They’re doing nothing here, and so they have to give some aura of activity,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. …ABCNews

And that’s from a former majority leader who managed to stay busy and actually get things done. John Boehner presides over a majority that is about the laziest, most recalcitrant in our history. He has to create “crises” just to look busy.

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

graphic via shutterstock.com

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