John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Boehner’s Blunder or Barack’s Brush-Back

Posted on July 11, 2014
John Boehner official portrait.jpg
If I were a constitutional lawyer, I would find Speaker of the House John Boehner’s impending lawsuit against President Obama completely fascinating.

I am not a lawyer, so I can’t explain all of the ins and outs of this legal action, but I think I understand the political dynamics behind it.

There is considerable risk for the Speaker and House Republicans in proceeding with this lawsuit.

The court could summarily dismiss it, which would be very embarrassing for the Speaker.  The voters could see the whole exercise as a waste of their hard-earned tax dollars.  The Democratic base could get riled up as result, and it could become a political boomerang, decapitating the chances for a Republican sweep.

It could be seen in history as Boehner’s blunder.

On the other hand, it could be seen as a necessary and measured response to a President who is out-of-control.

The President stated at the beginning of this Congressional session that he didn’t need the legislative branch to act, that he could use his phone and pen to achieve the same goals as if he were to go to a hostile House and an hopelessly gridlocked Senate.

On some things, the President doesn’t need Congressional approval.  But when it comes to changing the laws, he really has no choice.

I think the Republicans have ample grounds to make the case to the Supreme Court that the President has over-stepped his Constitutional authority when it came to changing Obamacare on the fly.

The President basically repealed his own mandates, decided not to implement key provisions of the law, and otherwise ignored huge sections of his biggest and most controversial legislative accomplishment.

The Supreme Court doesn’t love Obamacare.  The Chief Justice basically had to redefine it as a tax increase so that it could pass Constitutional muster in his mind.

It will be interesting to see what the court says about the President’s own efforts to redefine the law without the consent of Congress.

This lawsuit should serve as Barack’s brush-back pitch.  It will give him pause should his advisers (like Eric Holder) inform him that he doesn’t need to follow the law, that he has the ability to do whatever he wants, because the Congress can’t do anything to stop him.

Sarah Palin has made the case that the House should move articles of impeachment.  As someone who lived through one impeachment of a President, I know that such an effort will backfire politically and never achieve its ultimate goal.

An impeachment conviction requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate, and there is no evidence that Democrats are so disgusted with this President that they will support it.

A lawsuit is a far better alternative to impeachment, if carefully crafted.

It serves notice to the President that he has to start enforcing the laws without causing a Constitutional crisis that will split the country.

If done correctly, it will serve as a brush-back and won’t be seen as a political blunder.

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