June 24th, 2014
07:52 PM ET
8 years 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.

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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. brenna56

    I am just amazed at how hateful repiglicans have proven themselves to be, over a black man as commander and chief. Boehner is an airhead, a racist. If it were Bush, they would agree on anything. I am sick of these pigs!

    June 25, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. Jessica McGwin

    And whom ever repaired the slate in the floor in the photo did a crappy job. I can see the seem and the color in the grought does not match. I can only imagine how much they charged for that. Who is in charge of the Whit House grounds?

    June 25, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. ART

    Maybe we the people can sue congress and Boehner for theft,after all they keep getting paid for doing absolutely nothing. Where was congress with their oversight of the VA, they are laying blame on everyone else but they are just as responsible We could also sue him for all the lies and crap we've had to put up with from him and his dysfunctional party.Boehner go cry me a river.

    June 25, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. brenna56

    He HAS to bypass congress, they throw up walls every time they can! I am just disgusted with the repiglicans. Why don't they WORK at something besides undermining our leader?????

    June 25, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. TxGran

    The Repubs are such sore losers; they plan to spend eight years hog-tying this president so, therefore, nothing is getting done so this country progresses. I have an invitation for Boehner and his cohorts....."the next time you're down by the river, drop in."

    June 25, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. mstipton

    Just when you thought Boehner and his cronies could look more stupid.

    June 25, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. joe

    OBAMA has used far less executive orders than Bush or Reagan. Fact check this.

    June 25, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. Surthurfurd

    After all those years of attacking the judiciary for "legislating from the bench" now he wants them to do what? Oddly, if he succeeds, the case could be won in time for a Republican President to be in office.

    June 25, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. Melissa Hunter

    I think the entire US people should sue obama for not acting on our majoritive behalf.

    June 25, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Electorate Elite

    Love the sheeple comments. Obama has repeatedly violated the Constitution (and the law) by unilaterally changing legislation, which has NOT been done by Bush or Reagan. Further he has had several of his actions already overturned by the courts as unconstitutional. Of course he doesn't like the Constitution according to his own words on a searchable radio interview he did in the 90's. I know most of you here wouldn't know that because you are blind bleating sheep waiting for your ruling party to tell you what to do and think next.

    Nice try sheeple.

    June 25, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. BUD

    They consistently find ways to waste our money and time.

    June 25, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  12. excuse my rant

    These are the facts. The guy is out of control

    NUMBER OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED by U.S. Presidents in the last 100 years:

    Teddy Roosevelt – 3
    All Others until FDR – 0
    FDR – 11 in 16 years
    Truman – 5 in 7 years
    Ike – 2 in 8 years
    Kennedy – 4 in 3 years
    LBJ – 4 in 5 years
    Nixon -1 in 6 years
    Ford – 3 in 2 years
    Carter – 3 in 4 years
    Reagan – 5 in 8 years
    Bush – 3 in 4 years
    Clinton – 15 in 8 years
    George W. Bush – 62 in 8 years
    Obama – 923 in 3 1/2 years! More than 1000+ and counting Executive Orders in 6 years..
    Read some of them below – unbelievable!
    Next step -dictatorship . ( Looks like we are there already!)
    what alternate reality are you living in? None of your numbers are correct! Teddy Roosevelt had 1,081; FDR had 3,522; Clinton had 364; GW Bush had 291; and Obama has had 180.

    Take your meds.

    June 25, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. johnbiggscr

    'jacknyd – These are the facts.'

    Sorry but the information needs to be correct to actually be facts and they are not even close. You need to find a new source for your info because wherever you are getting this nonsense from is doing you a disservice.

    Heck the executive orders you posted were not even signed by Obama. The first twelve were from Kennedy, the next from Johnson and the last from Ford.

    June 25, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Jack

    Mr. Bumble Brains haven't you something better to do with your time! I was I lived in Ohio, I'd vote you out!

    All you are doing is trying to appease the religious right! President used the executive privilege far more than President to dat. When are going to get a set of gonads and tell the tea poopers & religious right to take a flying leap off the nearest cliff!

    June 25, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. nemo0037

    So Boehner wants to keep the government from doing ANYTHING until he says it's OK to do something? Yeah, that's how gopvernment should work!

    June 25, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. TopGun

    It's about time someone sued Obama for his blatant disregard of the Constitution. He is turning into a petty dictator ignoring laws he doesn't like (like all of our immigration laws) and creating his own laws which is the job of congress.

    June 25, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. drtodp

    Aren't there more important things to do, like their jobs? These people are not doing their jobs, when will the rest of you FIRE them?

    June 25, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. Name

    Why when some one wants to do what's best for the American people, some ignorant person had to throw in the race card.you ready must not know politics. The president can't do what he wants just because he is black.he has bi laws to follow.

    June 25, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. IndFL

    George issued 291 Executive Orders, Obama has only issued 172 of which 172 are not liked by Republicans. Get over yourself BoehnerHead.

    June 25, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. Joeseph Eclaire

    Well, that's the only way to get things moving in this country. We have all seen over 5 years of republican obstructionism.
    How fitting they would sue, a true American ideal..

    June 25, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. johnbiggscr

    'Electorate Elite – Of course he doesn't like the Constitution according to his own words on a searchable radio interview he did in the 90's. I know most of you here wouldn't know that because you are blind bleating sheep waiting for your ruling party to tell you what to do and think next.'

    Talking of sheeple just bleating because their party told them what to do and think..... when do you think this radio interview actually took place and what do you believe Obama actually said in it?
    I know what Limbaugh claimed was said when he talked about a similar radio interview but as you are apparently an independent thinker who doesnt get his talking points from any party, when did this take place and what was said?

    June 25, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. CSM

    You're gonna block him anyway ... regardless of what it is. What proof is there that the President is sidestepping anything? PROOF PLEASE!.. and LEGITIMATE SOURCES.... Drop the vitriol and hateful, racist comments... At least the President is doing his job... far more than what I can say for the GOP!

    June 25, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    These are the facts. The guy is out of control

    NUMBER OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED by U.S. Presidents in the last 100 years:
    This is one of those threads that make me want to shout, "Jerk Alert!"

    June 25, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Bill Veik

    I believe John wholeheartedly. I mean the way he ignored constituents wishes NOT to use the debt ceiling issue as a way to get their way, and repeated calls to stop wasting efforts on 50+ ACA reversal attempts that had NO reasonable chance at working.

    I mean, look at it. He's an expert at ignoring.

    June 25, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. CSM

    At least the President is doing his job. The GOP will attempt to stop him at every turn regardless of going the legislative route. I want to see substantiated sources that the President is illegally sidestepping the legislative process. Otherwise you just have an ax to grind and ZERO credibility.

    June 25, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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