CU-Boulder Political Scientist Comments on House Vote to Sue Pres. Obama

July 31, 2014

July 30, 2014                                                                                                Ken Bickers  

         Just hours ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 225-201 to move forward with House Speakers John Boehner’s lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

         Ken Bickers, a University of Colorado Boulder political science professor, comments on the historical lawsuit against President Obama and how it could be a game changer in future political tug of wars between the White House and Congress.

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CU-Boulder Political Scientist Comments on House Vote to Sue Pres. Obama

July 30, 2014                                                             Ken Bickers  

Just hours ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 225-201 to move forward with House Speakers John Boehner’s lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

Ken Bickers, a University of Colorado Boulder political science professor, comments on the historical lawsuit against President Obama and how it could be a game changer in future political tug of wars between the White House and Congress.

The Key To The Lawsuit

“The big issue is whether the courts will grant standing to Congress -- whether they will agree that, institutionally, Congress can claim harm because that’s what’s required to get standing.  So it’s entirely possible that the suit will simply be thrown out on the grounds that Congress doesn’t have standing. (:17) And that is what has happened to all of these lawsuits along the way over the last decade or so when members of Congress have sued the president. What makes this different is that those were individual members or collections of members that were bringing suit.” (:33)

Reason Why It Wouldn’t Be Thrown Out

“It’s possible given the recent rulings of the Supreme Court that lower courts might go ahead and say, well, ‘There’s potential standing. We’re going to let the suits proceed.’ And they’ll do that to see if the Supreme Court wants to weigh in on it. (:15)

Vote By House To Sue Pres. Obama Is A Game Changer

“No matter what happens in this particular suit, whether the Republicans are successful or not, I think the bigger issue here is that is creates a precedence for future Congresses, a tool for them to try to reign in an executive that they think is not faithfully executing the law as the president swears an oath to do. (:20) And that’s going to come back in the future as an issue regardless of the makeup of which party is holding the White House or the Congress. (:29) So I think this is one of those significant historical moments that is going to shape politics for some generations to come.” (:37)

Doesn’t Think Will Lawsuit Will Effect Midterms

“My hunch is that it’s unlikely to be a big issue in the midterms. It may help the Republicans keep a big issue off the agenda in the midterms, which is this whole noise about impeachment. The only people talking about impeachment are Democrats. (:18) The Republican leadership has absolutely ruled out any kind of a discussion of impeachment. And what this does is it allows Republicans to say ‘We’re going after the president’s – from their point of view – excesses, but we are not going to pursue an impeachment strategy, which clearly backfired on the Republicans when they pursued that strategy against Bill Clinton back in the 1990s.” (:42)

Suing A President Is Not That Uncommon

“Suing a president is not uncommon at all. In fact many of the people that are arguing that it is completely unheard of and extraordinary and has never happened before were people who signed on to law suits against presidents in the past. Particularly George Bush. (:16) The key difference between those lawsuits and this one is that they were brought by small groups of members of Congress. And this one is different because Speaker Boehner is having the House vote to provide a legal foundation for the lawsuit.” (:34)

A Famous Lawsuit Involving Pres. Nixon

“There was a famous case that had to do with President Nixon’s refusal to spend money that was authorized by Congress. (320) And it went to the Supreme Court and they slapped his hands and said that he didn’t have the power to not spend money that had been duly authorized and appropriated by Congress. (:19) In fact it was that decision of the Supreme Court that led to the new Congress to pass the budget process that we actually have today. They passed the Budget Impoundment and Control Act in response to his refusal to spend money.”  (:35)

-CU-

 

 

 

 

 

 

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