Skip to main content

Boehner: Why we must now sue the President

By John Boehner
updated 11:26 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Speaker John Boehner says President Obama has circumvented Congress with his executive actions
  • He plans on filing suit against the President this month
  • Boehner: The President has not faithfully executed the laws as he was sworn to do

Editor's note: Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is speaker of the House of Representatives. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama.

But too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.

John Boehner
John Boehner

That's why, later this month, we will bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.

The President's response: "So sue me."

John Boehner: I'm suing President Obama
Boehner's lawsuit and the blame game
Obama to Republicans: 'So sue me'

What's disappointing is the President's flippant dismissal of the Constitution we are both sworn to defend. It is utterly beneath the dignity of the office. I know the President is frustrated. I'm frustrated. The American people are frustrated, too.

Obama: Boehner's lawsuit is 'a stunt'

After years of slow economic growth and high unemployment under President Obama, they are still asking, 'where are the jobs?' The House has passed more than 40 jobs bills that would help. But Washington Democrats, led by the President, just ignore them.

Even worse, the President's habit of ignoring the law as written hurts our economy and jobs even more. Washington taxes and regulations always make it harder for private sector employers to meet payrolls, invest in new initiatives and create jobs -- but how can those employers plan, invest and grow when the laws are changing on the President's whim at any moment?

I don't take the House legal action against the President lightly. We've passed legislation to address this problem (twice), but Senate Democrats, characteristically, have ignored it.

In the end, 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 when it comes to a range of issues, including his health care law, energy regulations, foreign policy and education.

Boehner plans lawsuit against Obama over executive orders

There must be accountability. We have a system of government outlined in our Constitution with the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. Congress has its job to do, and so does the President. When there are conflicts like this -- between the legislative branch and the executive branch -- it is my view that it is our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve, and for the Constitution.

If you look back over American history, there has always been a tension between the inherent powers of the executive branch versus the inherent powers of the legislative branch. This issue is as old as Marbury vs. Madison and as fresh as the unanimous Supreme Court ruling last week that the President overstepped his authority on recess appointments.

Over the last five years, starting -- not coincidentally -- when his political party lost the majority in the House of Representatives, the President has consistently overstepped his authority under the Constitution, and in so doing eroded the power of the legislative branch.

The legislative branch has an obligation to defend the rights and responsibilities of the American people, and America's constitutional balance of powers -- before it is too late.

Opinion: Dear Speaker Boehner: Do your job instead

Opinion: GOP left Obama no choice but to act on immigration

Read CNNOpinion's new Flipboard magazine

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
updated 5:52 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette notes that this fall, minority students will outnumber white students at America's public schools.
updated 5:21 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Humans have driven to extinction four marine mammal species in modern times. As you read this, we are on the brink of losing the fifth, write three experts.
updated 7:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It's been ten days since Michael Brown was killed, and his family is still waiting for information from investigators about what happened to their young man, writes Mel Robbins
updated 8:42 AM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
The former U.K. prime minister and current U.N. envoy says there are 500 days left to fulfill the Millennium Goals' promise to children.
updated 1:38 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Peter Bergen says the terror group is a huge threat in Iraq but only a potential one in the U.S.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Pepper Schwartz asks why young women are so entranced with Kardashian, who's putting together a 352-page book of selfies
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT