Wednesday, House Republicans voted along party lines to allow House Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama. Now they have to explain why they took this unprecedented step to stop a "runaway" President, while maintaining that impeachment is somehow a step too far.
The lawsuit gives Republicans the chance to go on offense and gin up their base by highlighting what they see as executive overreach. But that strategy is becoming more complicated as Democrats and White House officials argue the lawsuit is merely the first step in a broader battle against Obama that could result in impeachment proceedings.
“Republicans have a history of doing this. They shut down the government under [former Speaker Newt] Gingrich and then impeached the president. Now they’ve already done half of that,” Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the minority whip, said this week. “The speaker has said things weren’t going to happen, and then days later they did happen and he changed his position.”
Republicans dismiss the impeachment talk, but the party is now in the awkward position of arguing that Obama is improperly exerting executive authority — but not in such a dramatic way that would warrant his removal from office.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Wednesday that Obama’s executive orders do “not rise to the high crimes and misdemeanor level” to warrant impeachment proceedings. Boehner (R-Ohio) has dismissed the impeachment talk as a “scam” by Democrats to gin up their base ahead of the midterm elections.
So President Obama is somehow overstepping his Constitutional authority (which of course never happened during Bush's term, and would be the definition of a high crime in the Constitution as the President's oath of office is to swear to uphold it) but the Constitutional remedy that already exists for the legislative branch, impeachment, is not applicable.
This means the House has to in fact make up a brand new check/balance system by leaving the President open to a lawsuit, one authorized solely by one half of Congress, without giving the Senate any say in the matter.
Sure. That sounds totally legit.
At what point does the Supreme Court realize that if this is allowed to continue, Presidents will be sued over every bill that passes that the opposition party dislikes?
Who knows. But the GOP has seriously lost this entire battle.