Friday, June 27, 2014

Lawsuit nibbles away at presidential authority

Thursday's Supreme Court decision might mark a pivot point in the Obama presidency, and in presidential policies in general. The court's ruling was limited but made it clear that presidential appointments cannot be made without Senate approval except in very limited circumstances. The Constitution's allowance for "recess appointments" without Senatorial concurrence seem quaint in the 21st century's instantaneous communications and rapid travel. In 1789, Congress met for only a few months a year and was in recess for much of the year.

Recess appointments is only one issue that riles congressional Republicans. They also complain that the president has only selectively enforced laws and has even rewritten laws to suit his needs. The Affordable Care Act's provisions are just one example of how the president has ignored, omitted or altered provisions of laws passed by Congress.

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has announced that the House will sue the president for failing to carry out laws passed by Congress, which the Constitution requires him to do. The fact that this lawsuit will likely drag on through the 2016 elections is an indication that the case is based more on politics than on constitutional integrity.

The Constitution includes a remedy for a president who fails to do his job — impeachment. Failing to carry out the constitutional requirements of his office should qualify as a "high crimes and misdemeanors." The fact that only a few right-wing yahoos in Congress are proposing articles of impeachment indicates that Congress is not all that serious about retaining the powers granted by the Constitution and about demanding that the executive branch not usurp Congress' constitutional powers.

It is entirely possible, however, that private citizens might bring suit to overturn a presidential action, as in Thursday's decision. If the unanimous recess appointments decision is predictive, the Supreme Court might just undo what the president has done of his own accord.


surfsalterpath said...

"far right wing yahoos"

dude, this radical left liberal nut job admin and the dedicated liberal nut job senators have turned this country upside down. The infiltration began in 2008 and is touching all levels of the judicial system etc. It will take a long time to repair this radical slide towards the socialist/statist agenda the nut jobs have created.

"right wing yahoos" are the ONLY thing that has kept the logical fabric of the Founding Fathers from further tatter.

Time for MANY on both sides of the isle inside the beltway to be FORCED into retirement. Or incarcerated. The sooner the better for the country, you and me.

Erstwhile Editor said...

Take a deep breath, and read the whole sentence. I noted that only a few "right wing yahoos" are preparing impeachment charges. Those few are on the congressional fringe. No serious impeachment charges have been levied, and no GOP congressional leaders are even suggesting impeachment. If Boehner were serious about protecting a separation of powers, he would file an impeachment bill, not a lawsuit. The wonder of this is that Obama, who taught constitutional law, does not consider his assumption of legislative power to be aberrant. And your claim that "infiltration" has infected the judicial system is refuted by the Supreme Court decision I cited. The court reversed Obama's appointments, seriously limiting his authority.