Boehner's Lawsuit: Ridiculous, or Overdue?

Pundits debate the merits of the Orange One's big play

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 26, 2014 12:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – Pundits are buzzing over John Boehner's attempt to take President Obama to court over his use of executive power. Legal experts doubt it will work, but is it right? Is it smart politics? Does it even make sense? Here's what people are saying:

  • "The Prince of Orange is mostly right about the problem, if not the time frame," writes Dana Milbank at the Washington Post—the executive branch has been gaining power "for a generation or more." But that's because Congress' dysfunction has created a power vacuum, and Boehner actively perpetuates that dysfunction. He should try legislating instead of litigating.
  • Besides, "Obama is a pretty bad dictator," Arit John at the Atlantic Wire observes. Despite the Republican perception that "King Obama I was trying to govern without Congress," Obama is actually on pace to issue fewer executive orders per term than any of the past three presidents.
  • But, as Philip Bump at the Washington Post points out, Obama has taken a lot of executive actions, a broader term including things like official memos and instructions to departments. It's executive actions that Boehner is objecting too, and "that's a much different—and much bigger—battle."
  • NBC News sees this as a political move designed "to prove to the GOP base that party leaders in Washington are prepared to throw the kitchen sink" at Obama ahead of the midterms.
  • The Wall Street Journal applauds Boehner, arguing that Obama's "flagrant contempt for regular political order" is so egregious that the Speaker had to involve the courts. "Far from a partisan caper, this implicates the foundation of the US political architecture," its editors write. And they're guessing Boehner's case isn't as dubious as it's being portrayed. "We doubt he'd wager the House's reputation, and his own, on a novelty lawsuit that the courts wouldn't hesitate to toss as frivolous."

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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