June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
6 months ago

Boehner plans lawsuit against Obama over executive orders

Updated 3:15 p.m. ET, 6/25/14

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday told reporters that he plans to sue President Barack Obama over his use of executive action.

"I am," the Speaker said when asked if he was planning to initiate a lawsuit.

"You know the constitution makes it clear that the president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws and in my view the President has not faithfully executed the laws," Boehner added at a news conference on Capitol Hill.

Boehner announced later Wednesday that in July he would bring a bill to the House floor authorizing a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to file the lawsuit against the President. He last convened the group in 2011 when the White House said it would no longer defend the anti same-sex marriage law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

The group is made up of the top three House GOP leaders and the top two Democratic leaders.

In a memo to House members announcing next month's vote, Boehner indicated the legal action would cover a number of issues but did not cite specific cases of executive overreach.

"On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day,' the memo said.

The Speaker denied that the move was about energizing Republicans ahead the midterm elections.

"This is about defending the institution in which we serve. If you look back over the past 235 years of our history there's been movement between the inherent powers of the executive branch vs the inherent powers of the legislative branch and what we've seen clearly over the past 5 years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch," the Speaker said in response to a question from CNN.

Republicans argue that the President is breaching his constitutional power by side-stepping the legislative process. Obama has used executive actions as a way to bypass a deeply divided Congress, avoiding inaction on issues the White House has made hallmarks of the President's second term agenda.

So far, the Republican-controlled House has passed two bills aimed at curbing executive orders by the President, neither of which have gone anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The White House responded Wednesday to Boehner's plans to bring a lawsuit against the President, pointing the blame at the GOP for uncompromising opposition to Obama's policies.

"For a long time we have seen Republicans block progress in Congress, a range of bills that would promote economic strength but in this case it seems that Republicans have shifted their opposition into a higher gear," spokesman Josh Earnest said at the White House press briefing.

"Frankly, it's a gear I didn't know previously existed.'

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Wednesday called the lawsuit "a subterfuge" and said Republicans in Congress are "doing nothing" and "they have to give some aura of activity."

Pelosi said the House GOP effort to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act in court wasted $2.3 million in taxpayer money, and said "here we go again."

Obama has used his executive authority to push through a number of issues. Most recently, he directed the Department of Labor to extend family leave to same-sex couples. Previously, he raised the minimum wage for federal contractors and halt deportations for many children in the United States illegally.

Rank and file House Republicans have been pushing for months for top GOP leaders to file a lawsuit.

Conservative Republicans have long complained that the President has overstepped his authority – citing the series of changes that the Obama has made on his own to tweak the implementation of Obamacare.

Congressional Republicans, fueled by anger from their grassroots supporters, also argued it was time to explore legal action when the President began saying in January that he had a “pen and a phone” and would take action on key priorities if Congress failed to move legislation.

One avenue Boehner could take is to convene a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group - something he did in 2011 when the White House said it would no longer defend the anti same-sex marriage law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

Since there is only a day and a half left before Congress heads out for a week long recess, the lawsuit is not expected to be filed until next month. The lawmakers who make up the group – the top three House GOP leaders and the top two Democratic leaders – will have to meet and vote – and – that isn’t expected to happen until after Congress gets back from 4th of July break.

Boehner just so happened to be with the President on Tuesday, along with Vice President Joe Biden, at the White House to meet with members of the 2013 U.S. and International Presidents Cup teams. And the mood didn't seem to be too tense between the House leader and the commander-in-chief, given reports of Boehner's possible lawsuit.

Obama joked: "I'm joined by two of my favorite golf partners, the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner."

Commissioner Tim Finchem jokingly said that he's been keeping track of who criticizes the President about his golf game, and Boehner was not among his critics.

"The only thing that he doesn't criticize me about," the President added, to laughs.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

soundoff (838 Responses)
  1. jo clo

    Makes the republicans look like a monkey trying to hump a football

    June 25, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. DankoRamone

    Or, Boehner could try working with him, like congress is supposed to do, rather than obstructing everything before it starts.

    June 25, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Wise1

    The King and his minions aren't going to like this but it's time to sue and educate Obama just how government works. He'll ignore it and just go on being the dictator that he is.

    June 25, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. judiwth

    What an idiot, Boehner. Wasting time. Wasting money. Unprecedented stupidity on the part of the GOP. Rope-a-dope is a very good way of describing it. But the GOP cannot land a real punch because they are, actually, fighting themselves. They are killing time until Obama is out of office. Because people with a great deal of money are telling them to do that.

    June 25, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Barry

    I love it when the party "without power" tries to pull stuff like this. Funny how it always seems to bite them in the behind once they get in power. Don't say a word when the Bushes took action through executive orders, but now say it's a problem "over the last 5 years". Ha! Sounds to me like the line-item veto. We need this power (when we control the White House), but oh wait, now you are in the White House, so the line-item veto is the worst thing in the world. Such hypocrites. These are the same people who have taken us into how many wars without an actual declaration of war? This, from the same party that had a guy barely lose yesterday who said "I guess they can take some consolation that they did something tonight, for once again compromising, for once again reaching across the aisle, for abandoning the conservative movement." When "compromise" and "reaching across the aisle" are considered bad things, that party has truly lost its way.

    June 25, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. mary

    I have to disagree with the poster called VISARA. Both parties are not willing to work together. It's not all Obama's fault. You're just being narrow minded and not looking at the big picture. Our government is currently a joke. The two party system is a huge failure in my opinion. That, and having any religion in their decision making. Just straight up stupid.

    June 25, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. kiwisepp

    Congress is working very hard to set road block on every step of this president and they did a great job

    June 25, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. mim

    But when Bush destroyed our unalienable rights by implementing the Patriot Act he did not squawk. Two face.

    June 25, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. TonyInNYC

    House Speaker John Boehner is only filing the suit to appease the wingnut wing of his party. He doesn't expect the suit to succeed and he isn't in a hurry to file it.

    June 25, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. DMH123

    I'll believe it when I see it.

    June 25, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. galatians22021

    Regardless of how you may feel about this, I think it's actually a smart move. This way all three branches of government get a say in what has really been on people's minds for quite some time.

    June 25, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Paul Prejean

    Boehner has lost all gravitas needed to conduct his office. When you have to "seek" legal advice on the laws that YOU legislated that only shows that you didn't understand what you wrote or that you never wrote it or read it in the first place.

    This is what we get for having a legislative branch that doesn't read or write the very laws that it passes. The Obama administration on the other had has to be severely legalistic.

    If said law says it is discretionary to execute a law then you are faithfully executing the law. The Republicans are trying too hard.

    June 25, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. Chris

    @ Tommy Smith
    Take some pills and stop the all the hate. Where were you when Bush and Cheney were tearing this country apart??

    Why the double standard?????

    June 25, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. PaulCat

    You people that says Obama is trying to destory the economy, are the main ones that doesn't follow the news. The ecomony is much better since Bush left office with NO help from any republican in congress. You are only speaking from the heart (hatred for Obama).
    Watch the next poll, it will read (congress favorable rating at 2%)

    June 25, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. Cory111

    Poor John, since the bar at the Club charged him $300.00 to install a seat belt on his private bar stool he just isn't the same. He complained to the owner and the owners response was, "John, we are tired of picking you up off the floor."
    Hillary 2016

    June 25, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. NealR2000

    Rather than arguing over comparing current and previous Presidents and their use of EOs, perhaps this court action will lead to stricter rules over how EOs can be made. It's obvious that the current EO practice is abused and used by Presidents to get their way when the normal democratic channels won't work.

    June 25, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Gregory

    I love it when the do NOTHING republicans do NOTHING but talk again.

    June 25, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    tommy smith says:
    June 25, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm
    While we’re at it, let’s also list his “firsts”.

    First President to refuse to show a valid birth certificate.

    First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

    First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.

    First President to preside over a cut to the credit rating of the United States.

    First President to violate the War Powers Act.

    First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

    First President to defy a Federal Judges court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.

    First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.

    First President to spend a trillion dollars on shovel-ready jobs and later admit there was no such thing as shovel-ready jobs.

    First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.

    First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.

    First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.

    First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.

    My God, where do you people get these lies from???

    June 25, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Elsie

    Oh, for the love of God!!!! Anything to try and distract the sheeple away from the fact that none of you in Washington do your jobs, work together, or address issues important to the country!

    June 25, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Bryan C

    Such a big baby! Why don't he tell his mommy?

    June 25, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. xirume

    How about suing all those corporations that sent our jobs overseas instead?

    June 25, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Gonzo

    Whiner of the House.

    June 25, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Eddy

    It's not surprising to see liberals only point to the number of executive actions and compare them to previous Presidents. They fail miserably however to understand the content of some executive actions made by Obama. Obama somehow believes that he as President can change, ignore and passed legislation! Obama doesn't seem to understand that the Presidency doesn't have any authority to modify legislation or make choices on which legislation to enforce or ignore. Still, liberals will only see what they want to see, and ignore the clear violation of the separation of powers.

    June 25, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. SAW

    This is laughable.

    June 25, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    And the counter suit is against the GOP likes of Mitch M, Lindsey G, John Mc fo not faithfully doing their legislative duty and even go so far as publicly make a point of opposing the president no matter what. "We'll do whatever is needed to see Obama never serves a second term" after president is re elected by vote of the people thy public say we will oppose anything you are in favor of. You say yes we say no, you say hot we say cold. You say black we say white. WAIT THAT MAYBE AN EXCEPTION. THE GOP WILL ALWAYS SAY WHITE WHICH IS THE REAL PROBLEM. OBAMA IS BLACK AND THEY ARE RACIST.

    June 25, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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